[Solved] Best Practices For Looooong Surveys


So I am going to be building a survey or a set of surveys.

We are collecting accessibility data at campgrounds. The basic info (name locations info) I am hoping does not have to be entered multiple times. The assessment will be at each campsite in the campground.

We are assessing many different items in each campsite like the tent pad, bear proof trash receptacle. Some items there may be more than one of, like a picnic table.

My first thought was a really long survey. Each sub item being linked to from a master question where you choose an item on the list and it takes you to that set of questions. But now I am thinking that perhaps this would be better to have a separate survey for each item that is to be assessed. Passing the basic info from the first page to each additional survey.

What is the best way to set this up? Ultimately this will be used from a smart phone or tablet and off-line if needed.

Bill ><>

William Blythe asked

    Best answer


    First thought – you should do everything you can to make this survey as brief and compact as possible. Especially if the respondents will be using mobile devices – there is going to major user fatigue. Use skip patterns and conditional questions to make the survey as concise as possible.  And remember that if they are completing the survey on a mobile device, the respondent may only be able to see one question or grid row at a time.

    Can you use tracking links in place of asking respondents to enter location info?

    I think that I would stick with the long survey concept rather than breaking this down into smaller linked surveys.  Each link is another opportunity for something to go wrong, so I would try to keep things as simple as possible.

    Try building a mini version of the survey and then go out and test it in situ.  Get others to test it and see what they think.  And then use that feedback to revise and build the rest of the survey.

    That’s my initial thoughts – I will add to this if I think of anything relevant. Good luck.

    Jim Wetherill answered

      So here is the first item. It is a bench. There will be 20-25 more items, each with at least this may questions.



      William Blythe answered
        • Hi Bill,

          I took the “survey” – wow. It’s more of an online inspection report than a survey, so I guess that respondent fatigue is not really an issue. You may not have gotten around to it but I would recommend that you add response validation to your questions. I was able to add nonsensical text responses where you were expected numbers. It would be a shame to do all of this work and then get invalid data back.

        • It may not be necessary for the respondent to enter the latitude and longitude. This information is collected from the respondent’s device at the start of the survey (check the export file from the survey). This is something you might need to field test to make sure the geo-ifno you get back is usable.


        I would get rid of the question animation (the way they flow in and out).  It just adds more time.

        Each respondent should have a link with a unique variable like an ID.  This way you can give them the option to close the survey in the middle and pick up where they left off at a later time.

        You can then put in a script that will auto email them a gentle reminder if they don’t log back in within 48 hours.

        Another option is to put in a page break that says something like “You are almost there, thank you so much for doing this, your feedback is very important [maybe specify how their feedback will help…try to make them feel good about the survey they are going through]”

        iansamis answered
          • Thanks for your input! I will look in to getting rid of the animation. It must be a default setting somewhere. We are all about accessibility and efficiency. I will implement an option to stop and continue a survey.


          Thanks Jim,

          This is good information. 

          Bill ><>

          William Blythe answered


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