Pre-flight Checklist

You’ve written your survey, gotten internal and external alignment on the content and just finished programming, all you need to do is click that launch button, right?  Not so fast – you’ll want to review your survey before it goes live. It is easy to make mistakes when programming so it is important to take the time and proofread and preview your survey before letting it take flight.  Below are just a few recommendations and tips to help you catch and correct errors.

Preview the survey in both modes.

ATYM has two modes for previewing the survey and you should do both.

Take the survey in Researcher mode so you can see who will be accepted into your prequalification questions (screeners) and where you have applied logic. Look at each question and answer within the survey and follow all the possible paths from beginning to end.

Take the survey in Respondent mode so you can see how it will appear to those taking the survey.  If your survey design includes random sequential monadic design or other any other type of logic (skip, masking, and piping), you’ll need to take the survey multiple times to ensure everything is working appropriately.  This may seem a cumbersome task, but it is necessary to avoid launching a survey that won’t function properly and result in junk data. You may have forgotten to anchor answer options which will only show up in this mode; when global randomization of answers is on, the order of answers doesn’t show up as randomized in the survey editor, but rather in the order they were entered.

Preview the survey on different devices.

AYTM allows you to view the survey as it appears on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.  While the platform is device aware, it is important to see how each question appears on smaller screens.  You may decide to break one question into two or change the question type so respondents aren’t taxed with excessive scrolling.

Print the survey and proofread the old-fashioned way.

Many times, we catch different mistakes when looking at the printed version of a survey versus a computer screen.

Have someone else take the survey.

Sometimes we are so closely involved with the survey that we don’t catch obvious mistakes. Spellcheck can catch many errors, but maybe you cloned a question and forgot to update a portion of the question or some of the answer options that quickly become apparent to an outsider. You can easily send a preview link to anyone you want to serve as a second set of eyes (being mindful of privacy issues, of course).  They don’t even need an AYTM account to access the link.

Check your checkbox question types.

If you want to have an “N/A” answer option, make sure it is truly an “N/A” answer option and not an additional answer option you added yourself.  When you check the box for a true “N/A” option, it will appear in grey in the survey editor and not allow respondents to check any of the other options. Review the number of minimum and maximum answer options you have selected. If you indicate in the question to choose 3 options, make sure you have a min of 3 and max of 3 checked.

Look over your open-ended question settings.

If you want to force shorter answers, you can designate the number of characters.  You can also make it optional for this type of question to be answered at all.  You can create open-ended answer options within other question types by turning on the speech icon (should be blue when turned on).  This is helpful if you have an “other” answer option and want the respondent to provide their own.

Make sure you chose the correct question type.

Sometimes it is easy to mistakenly choose a single choice question when you really wanted a multiple checkbox question.  If you have been cloning questions (copying) to keep content similar, make sure you update the question type if it is meant to be different.

Remove duplicate instructions.

The platform will automatically provide instructions for the respondent depending on the question type.  This normally appears in lighter grey text just above the answer options.  For example, if you have a checkbox question type with a min of 1 and max of 1 selected it will populate the text “Please select only 1 item:” to the respondent.  There is no need to include that same instruction within your question.

Verify your images are appearing as you wish.

Depending on the question type, you have a few options for displaying images.  You can force full screen where the image will open to a size  as large as possible or have the images appear in grids versus rows.

Review the Target Market page.

Do you have all the traits selected that you want to collect?  Is the number of completes accurate? It is a good idea to review the selections on this page, hit save, and then launch your survey.

The Takeaway

While reviewing your survey may seem like a tedious task, it’s worth the effort to ensure the survey goes into field exactly as you intended. If a carpenter’s mantra is “measure twice, cut once” then the market researcher’s mantra should be “preview until perfect, launch once.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cori Sheperis
With a salacious appetite for learning and curious nature, Cori finds herself at home in the world of market research. She holds an MBA and has enjoyed over 15 years in various marketing, product development and consumer research roles. Her inquisitive nature flows into her personal life where she can be found venturing into as many new countries and cultures as possible.