Kathleen Shrimpton Team : Web Production

They asked you what?!

Kathleen Shrimpton Team : Web Production

Recently I completed an online survey for a 3rd party company we have worked with in the past. The survey took approximately 10 minutes and offered a reward of choice on completion, in my case being movie tickets. The survey was designed to ask detailed questions about the company, our experience and the industry itself.

It’s clear that for a survey of this length the creators needed to think of ways to break it up in order to prevent drop off or turning it into a boring cumbersome task.

I'm just not sure if inserting the below question half way through was such a good idea….

Ok make that 15 mins, I did spill my tea when I read this question.

It did get me thinking though about keeping people focused during online surveys or larger questionnaires, a task which is more difficult than maintaining focus on a purchase funnel form where customers are receiving goods they want at the end.

Below are a few tips to keep in mind.

Progress Bars

Progress bars are crucial to let the user know where they’re up to and how long they have to go. However when it comes to a 5 or 10 minute survey the level of prominence you give to this may deter users.

Traditional web forms might use a horizontal or circular progress bar:

However making the progress bar prominent doesn't necessarily reduce friction.

The survey I recently completed included a thin line progress bar at the top of the screen.

I didn’t actually notice it until I started to wonder how much longer the survey was going to take. I was already over halfway by that point (and I wanted these movie tickets). If I’d noticed it earlier I probably would have stopped. Using a percentage to show progress might have also deterred me – filling out 5 questions and receiving 8% of the way there, no thanks!

One Question Per Page

It’s important not to overwhelm users with the amount of questions you want to ask even if you are just requesting multiple choice answers. Keep your survey to one question per page, and users will feel they are progressing through the form faster.


Where you can, try to offer a reward or incentive for users to complete the survey. The only reason I stuck through a mayonnaise nipple question was for those movie tickets.