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Tired of Awful Surveys? We’re too!

Clare Zacharias

Clare Zacharias

4 min read

When I hear someone exclaim that surveys are boring, I die a little inside.

Working in the survey industry, I get it a lot. “Eww surveys,” an old friend said (stress on ‘old’) when I told him what I do, complete with invisible quotation marks in the air.

I wobble my head in what I hope is an understanding nod, hiding the wee wince, and stifling the voice inside my head that says ‘they’re not bad as everyone makes them be.

I blanch at the sight of half-filled surveys. My heart metaphorically breaks a tiny bit when I see how people have skipped so many questions.

So hear me out when I say this. Surveys are not boring. It’s the people who are doing it wrong!

I know very well that I am a minority here, arguing that surveys aren’t necessarily dull, only misunderstood. Mistaken. And misrepresented. Allow me to explain.

It doesn’t take anyone formidable tech skills, an impressive budget, or even long hours to put together a fun survey with intelligent questions, sensible choices, and a handsome appearance. There are bazillion tools (free and paid) to create surveys in the wink of an eye. Tools with tons of features to accentuate every last detail of your survey. And yet surveys miserably fail because most people are content to copy-paste some ancient template and call it a day.

“Don’t ask a question unless you truly care about the answer”- Seth Godin

If you are yet to see short and fun surveys with witty questions and smart design, it’s because the makers didn’t/couldn’t care enough to make them interesting enough.

Ergo, surveys aren’t boring affairs by themselves. When people stuff it with careless questions, make it long winding and dreary, and cannot bother less if it makes a dull experience, what else can you expect but monotonous surveys that make you want to scream?

If only surveys could talk! They’d tell you that they can be quite fun to take if only you try. I wonder if anyone realizes how feature-rich and striking some of the online survey tools out there are.

Okay, I may be biased now. But come on, how can I not be, seeing as I’m surrounded by people who work their socks off, thinking up ways to make surveys interesting?

People who get worked up when a random customer reaches out to show the amazing quiz she made with our tool…People who break into huge grins when our feature updates work exactly as we envisioned…People who ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when someone discovers an out-of-the-box survey that none of us could’ve done better even if we tried…

And it is downright disheartening when, despite all these exciting features, people make do with crappy surveys. Someone’s gotta call it out.

Regardless of which side of the bridge you stand, whether you are a survey-taker or a survey-maker, you can put an end to awful surveys and usher in a new world of fun surveys.

Want to save the world from horrible surveys? I’ll tell you how. If you are a survey-maker yourself, here’re four golden tips to make a survey and make it good!

1. Come up with interesting questions (and answers).

No-brainer, really. But oh-so-important, all the same.

Inject some personality into the mundane questions. A touch of humor, wit, and sarcasm, if you will. Exchanges like these can liven up the survey. If you wish to use a template, do so but customize the questions to make it refreshing.  If you’d rather copy-paste a slew of questions from some dubious website, well, why are you even reading this?

2. Gamify plenty.

The options are galore. With scoring features that you can find in every decent survey tool out there, you can set up questions so that each right answer carries a score.

Make your surveys resemble a quiz more than the run-of-the-mill feedback forms.

3. Customize. Please…!

Customizing is un-ignorable.

Don’t get me started on those. Gone are the days when your customizing options were limited to just inserting a logo and be done with it.

These days, you can tailor-make everything from the backdrop image, theme, fonts, colors, and virtually every single pixel that goes into your survey. If you are wondering how to make a survey that everyone will enjoy, you simply cannot miss out on this!

4. Test, test, and test.

It makes you a very mean person if you don’t test your survey. There, I said that.

That hallmarked parenting adage to teach kids why it’s not okay to sneeze on someone’s pudding…? Ask yourself that.

“Would you like it if someone does that to you?” Each time you create a survey, ask yourself this question. You’ll find a lot of holes and crevices in your survey that you assumed was perfect; only if you had tested. Test each logic branching, experiment with all the angles and proof-read every word you have typed in. Will save you a lot of angst, I guarantee you.

“Sometimes, the questions are complicated and the answers are simple” - Dr. Seuss

However, if you are a survey-taker and the tips to make a survey doesn’t concern you at all, then listen carefully.

Don’t settle for stupid surveys. You deserve better.

I’ve seen lots of bad surveys (heck, I’ve seen plenty) and they are riddled with treacherous pitfalls. While we can all agree that surveys are essential, it looks like hardly anyone enjoys it.

Creating horrible surveys that no one would appreciate is unfair to the countless tools and fascinating features out there. But more importantly, it is very unfair to you, when you are readily offering your feedback and spending 15 minutes for helping someone out. You absolutely deserve better!

I am not buying it anymore. If you need my feedback, I say I deserve more than a half-baked survey. Fair game, don’t you think?

Next time someone makes a face at surveys, I’ll insist that they are wrong. At the risk of sounding like Ross Gellar from Friends, I’ll demand that they take it back. And when someone requests that I take their survey, I’ll do so gladly, provided they’ve created one that I’ll enjoy taking.

Coz, life is too short for awful stuff.

Clare Zacharias
Clare Zacharias

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow.

A sort of Jill-of-all-trades! Enchanted with storytelling, fascinated with startup life.

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