Collect Better Responses: Make Your Survey Mobile-Friendly

Marni Zapin
3 min read

Consumers and business audiences alike have now adopted mobile technology on an unprecedented scale. So much so, that you can no longer make the assumption that your surveys will be taken on a desktop or laptop computer. In fact, SurveyGizmo has seen an 107 percent increase in surveys taken on a mobile device in the past year.

Even though more and more surveys are now being taken on mobile devices, not all researchers are taking steps to make their surveys mobile compatible. From the SurveyGizmo Benchmark Guide Survey, we found that 70 percent of online surveyors have not made any changes to their surveys to make them more mobile friendly.1 But you should!

Designing surveys for mobile devices isn’t just about designing for a smaller screen – it’s about leveraging new technologies and adapting your techniques for mobile devices in a way that creates a simple, engaging experience.

Here are some of our suggestions for adjusting your survey for mobile survey takers:


  • Since mobile devices do not have a standard screen size, your survey may be viewed on screen sizes ranging from the 320×240 pixels of a Motorola Charm to the 768×1024 pixels of an iPad. To prepare for this, keep a simple survey design, with as few visual distractions as possible.
  • If you require a logo or specific style guides, keep the images small. In addition to screen size issues, images also take longer to download on slow data connections, disrupting the survey-taking experience.

Survey Length

  • Mobile survey takers are on the go! They are willing to take your survey, but they expect that the survey will be quick. Minimize the length of your survey with this in mind.
  • Use logic to reduce the length of your survey to the most important questions. Also keep the number of questions on a page to a minimum – ideally one question per page.

Question Types

  • Highly interactive questions are great for engaging respondents, but these question types may not function properly on all mobile devices. We suggest that you do not use drag-and-drop, drop-down menu, slider or spinner question types.
  • Matrix or table-based questions can be frustrating for survey takers using mobile devices. They almost never fit onto the device screen, resulting in cut-off text, or requiring tedious horizontal scrolling.
  • Open-text fields, such as “other” values and essay boxes are also not recommended. Even advanced mobile devices require much more mental and physical effort to enter text.
  • We recommend that you limit your question types to the basics: Radio Buttons, Checkboxes and Single-Line Open Text.

Unfortunately, this may limit how you design and build your survey. The good news is that several online survey tools can now detect if a survey is being taken on a mobile device. You can elect to have a different version of your survey delivered to each type of respondent. That way, you can use all the branding, images, and multimedia you want on the desktop version of your survey – and keep the mobile version simple and clean.

1 Source: SurveyGizmo Market Research Benchmark Guide: 2012, Comparative Analysis on Survey Metrics, Techniques and Trends, What changes, if any, have you made to your surveys to make them more mobile friendly? Please select all that apply. n= 834 Total Sample

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