Best practice advice on mobile survey design

Respondents are increasingly answering surveys using mobile and tablet devices. Yonder Data Solutions have invested significantly in our mobile rendering technology and our standard practice would be to render all surveys for mobiles and tablets unless there is anything that makes it specifically unsuitable to do so. Further guidance in this area can be seen below.

Understanding the data

On a nationally representative survey that will work across all devices, we will typically see 54% of respondents coming via a mobile device and 11% via a tablet (65% combined). Of those 18-44, 77% will complete via a mobile or tablet. The profile of these responders is shown by the graph aside. It is therefore becoming increasingly important to give consideration to questionnaire design to ensure surveys operate effectively across all devices.

Device used when responding

Profile of respondents

The age profile of respondents via mobiles and tablets can be seen below. Mobile respondents show a younger age profile, but this will continue to change over time. Respondents via a tablet show an older profile. When carrying out surveys targeting these audiences, it’s important to consider that your survey is designed to work on the appropriate devices to reach these audiences. This is particularly important for the 18-24 age group, which are an increasingly challenging audience to reach and engage.

Profile of mobile respondents

Profile of tablet respondents

Best practice advice

Below you can find best practice advice from Yonder Data Solutions on elements to consider when designing a survey that will work on mobiles. Our survey demo can be seen below and it will render according to the device used to show you the range of question types and way questions will be displayed across mobile, tablet and desktop/laptop

Guidance on survey design for mobiles

  • Survey length is key. Keep surveys under 15 mins/30 questions to reduce dropout and respondent fatigue – but ideally the shorter the better for studies on mobiles.
  • Grid questions can be included. Grid questions can be useful and work effectively, however, we would recommend they are kept to a minimum for mobile surveys.
  • Be aware of the limitations of the screen size. Space is at a premium on mobiles, so be succinct in question and answer text to make things optimised for mobiles.
  • Keep the design simple and clear. Best practice in all survey design, but particularly important for mobiles. This will allow respondents to quickly understand and respond to the questions being presented to them.
  • Limit open ended questions. These are more demanding for respondents to respond to on a phone, so can result in increased drop out if there are too many of these. 
  • Large creatives may not be suitable to the screen size. If you need respondents to view a creative that is very large or where you need them to view small text it is worth considering if a mobile screen is a suitable and appropriate way to view this.  
  • Video voxpops. Mobile surveys are a great way to capture a video recorded response to open ended questions and add a qualitative element to results. 
  • Test on multiple devices. This will allow you to understand how respondents will experience the survey when responding via different devices. 

Ultimately, a survey that has been designed with mobiles in mind from the start will work equally as well across all devices. However, a survey that has not been designed with this in mind can face challenges in trying to make questions work on a mobile.