Mobile Surveys

How to Optimize Your Mobile Surveys

Web designers and UX experts have been using the phrase “mobile first” for several years. As mobile continues to grow, the emphasis only gains importance. Surveys need a “mobile first” focus just as any other website does. Let’s explore how to optimize your online surveys for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets. Good design and a carefully constructed user experience will give you more informative data from your mobile surveys.


Mobile is Now the Big Show

In 2017, Email Marketing Daily reported, “Email messages opened on a mobile device have nearly doubled over the past five years.” If you fail to design your survey with mobile users in mind, you are throwing away a large portion of your potential audience data. Why not set your survey up for success?

At least make your survey mobile-friendly, but better yet optimize your mobile survey. Aren’t those the same thing? Sure, many people use the terms interchangeably. However, making the survey look good on smaller screens is only the first step. Completely designing the survey, including crafting a different experience or a different set of questions for a person taking the survey on a mobile device, is truly optimized.



A primary consideration is to make the information easy to see. Make fonts large and easy to read on smaller screens. Also, avoid large tables or matrix-based data. A bad table can squish or distort the information in ways that look bad and obscure readability.

The best practice is to stick to one long vertical column for everything, even answer options. Think of how optimized the best interfaces on your phone work. Each piece of content slides effortlessly up and down with the flick of a finger.


Session Time

If your survey has a time limit, consider adding a pause and resume feature for mobile users. Or better yet, keep the survey short. Your audience may be happy to provide you with feedback during a free moment they discover waiting for a meeting to start or during a commercial break. So go easy on the time limits that might interrupt their interaction if they need to resume previous activity or get a phone call.

Break the questions up with one per slide/page. Mobile attention is spotty and often interrupted. Try to make the question easy to answer with few open-ended, fill-in questions. Those are valuable for feedback, but if you want to encourage completed surveys, try to make the fill-in optional following the short answer option.


Optimize Data

Go easy on graphics or video. Using up a lot of your customer’s data could make the experience a burden. If they are in a poor location for download speed, they may have to leave before the content loads.



Once you build your survey, work through the logic, testing every path and option. What seemed easy to navigate on a laptop or desktop screen may be impossible on a mobile platform. Try it on many different devices and PCs using a wide variety of browsers.


Getting the Survey to Them

If you want your audience to take the survey, don’t make them key in a long URL. Using email, Facebook, or website links, this isn’t a big problem. But if you want to share a survey with in-person visitors, create an easy landing page with a custom URL. You can also use a QR code. Yes, QR codes are still allowed, even if they have fallen out of fashion like the Comic Sans font. Think of QR codes as a printed link that works with a mobile device to transfer a link or line of text that would be difficult to key in.


Auto Detect

Set up your page to automatically detect if the visitor is on a mobile device. You can use code that measures the width of the screen. A narrow display width is often the clearest test that the site is being seen on a mobile device. There are many code “recipes” to test for this, but one popular way is to code with Bootstrap, which has a well-supported screen media detection process.

If you visualize customers taking your survey on their mobile devices, your assumptions will lead you to greater success. A mobile formatted page is far easier to adjust for wider screens. Since majority rules, especially in marketing efforts, it is time to yield to the masses by optimizing your mobile surveys.


If you want to read more about how the design of your survey can impact your response, check out this previous story on our blog.


IMAGE: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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