The technology to field surveys via mobile devices has been around for a while, but has not yet gained much traction (and for good reasons). But with smartphones now proliferating at a remarkable pace, we may be in for a change. Deloitte released their 2011 IT and technology predictions last week, arguing that smartphones are likely to account for almost half of computer spending during the year.
When it comes to surveys for market research and public polling, smartphones have bigger and better screens, better technology, and web capabilities. But more importantly, smartphones are becoming the “device of choice” for tasks that were once the domain of our desktop computers. For example, web-based e-mail via PCs is on the decline, while email through mobile devices is growing rapidly. And of course unless we’re doing phone surveys, e-mail is currently the primary means by which researchers recruit survey respondents.
Leora Lawton, a colleague in AAPOR (the American Association of Public Opinion Research) recently reported back with some tips on survey design for smartphones that she synthesized from a talk by Mario Callegaro of Google. In brief, she reports:
- Avoid long surveys
- Do not use question grids
- Scales should be a maximum of five points
- Show one question per page
- Put navigation buttons on top
- Use vertical, not horizontal, buttons
- Avoid logos, progress meters, help links, and copyrights that take up space
Of course technologies change quickly, and enhanced capabilities and tools for effective and sophisticated smartphone surveys are in development. But for now these are good ideas to keep in mind.
Need help thinking about the best approach for your research, whether it be telephone, in-person, online, or smartphone-based? Feel free to give us a call; we would be happy to help.
—Joe Hopper, Ph.D.