Surveys are a like video games, said Kantar's Tom Ewing at the NewMR festival last week. And we have a lot to learn and many mistakes to avoid, according to Tom.
The most striking similarity is that both video games and survey is an artificial environment you need your participants to progress through. We need our ‘players’ not to get bored, frustrated, or drop out. We have to sustain their interest – as much as the topic allows. By creating curiosity by the participants, encouraging interactions between them and allow them to set goals.
Some of the lessons learned from the world of gaming, according to Tom:
- Flexibility in what goal to achieve is necessary. Therefore, create tasks with different level of completion in the questionnaire.
- We don’t control the gameplay, we only control the mechanics. Which means that the mechanics we introduce can have unintended consequences.
Kantar's research team have among other things studied the effect of the humble progress bar that has become a fixture of online surveys. From a respondent satisfaction perspective it seems a no-brainer – let people know how far they’ve got and they’ll be more likely to finish. But from a gaming perspective the continuous presence of the progress bar is a turn-off: players tune it out, and it doesn’t seem to represent any meaningful achievement. So we’re looking at progress bars which will appear occasionally, giving a respondent a minor sense of achievement at key stages in the task rather than continuous, but somewhat empty, reassurance.
- Players move towards mobile. People have less time set aside for games/surveys as our lifestyle become more busy, so keep an eye on mobile survey solutions.
Tom Ewing's blog - containing the whole presentation
Brian Tarran's article about the presentation