Have you tried using icons, smileys or other emojis, and photographs as answer options in your questionnaires? It is a great alternative if you don’t want to use a lot of (complicated) text. A more visual survey is a great alternative to a “normal”, text-based one – especially if you want to overcome language and literacy barriers.
- Think visually.
- Think about the image or icon that represents what you would normally write as plain text, and use those images as answer options (in addition to text).
- Don’t forget audio & video.
- Remember that you can incorporate instructions and information in audio and video clips in Maptionnaire. It doesn’t always have to be in a written format.
- Let respondents think beyond text.
- Allow respondents to leave voice and image messages with the ‘File upload’ element available in the new Maptionnaire.
- Remember cultural differences.
- Be mindful of cultural differences when designing your visual survey. For instance, in some parts of the world a thumbs up is considered a rude gesture.
- Keep your visual survey short.
- Cut down on text and keep it simple!
But making a survey visual and engaging won’t always guarantee you sufficient response rates and outreach. Have a look at the 12 tips for survey design and the practices of stakeholder engagement with a questionnaire before you publish your survey!
Here are some (highly visual) examples from Maptionnaire surveys — but they're applicable for other platforms too.
Bring in emotions with smileys and explore new answer options (for example, audio)
Use icons for visual summaries of the answer options
Rely on images as answer options
Show plans and maps — and explain complicated terms
These particular examples are from a visual survey that was created with Maptionnaire platform to engage especially the immigrant communities in the City of Jyväskylä, Finland.
Instructions to the entire survey were provided in a video clip, and respondents could leave answers as voice messages and images in addition to text. The project also came with its own, easy-to-navigate webpage, where citizens could watch videos on the project and learn how planning works in a Finnish city.
More useful materials about designing surveys:
- 12 Best Practices of Survey Design to Boost Your Public Participation
- Getting People to Take a SurveyThrough Social Media
- How to Engage Stakeholders with a Survey: 6 Winning Methods to Increase Response Rates
- How to Make a GDPR Compliant Survey: Best Practices and Examples
- How to Design Community Engagement Survey Questions
- A recording of the webinar about survey design