An important, but sometimes neglected step in the survey lifecycle is testing. Previewing and testing surveys is a critical part of the survey design process, helping to ensure a positive experience for respondents and higher quality data capture. There are many aspects to previewing and testing a survey, which can include:
- Viewing the whole survey, including the question set and visual design, through the eyes of a respondent – does it look and feel right, does it have the right tone of voice’?
- Viewing each of your questions through the eyes of the respondent and checking the wording and layout of questions and answer choices – are they easy-to-read and well presented?
- Checking the flow of the questions – is it logical and is the context clear?
- Checking logic driven questions behave as intended. Are the right questions shown in each flow?
- Viewing your welcome, thank you and exit messages and any survey messaging in context.
- Sharing your questions and their presentation with stakeholders – the communications team, senior sponsors or external partners.
- Launching a pilot of the survey to a user group to test and gather feedback.
- Simply running through the process from start to finish to check the entire user experience.
As this is such a critical stage in the lifecycle of a survey, we have focused on enhancing the preview and test functionality in SurveyOptic, to make it even easier and more feature-rich, and to ensure users responding to surveys get the best possible experience.
The new way to preview and test a survey
We’ve simplified the existing process and added an extra layer of control. The new Test mode page combines both of the previous features in one place – that is ‘Survey on a page’ preview, and creating a ‘test response’ by running through the survey in test mode. It is now straightforward to toggle between between Section view, where questions are presented as they will be shown to respondents, and an All sections view, where all questions are visible at once. As well as that we have add a Share feature that enables the creation of a temporary private link to share with other stakeholders, in order to gather their input and allow them try the survey for themselves.
That’s the basics, but there is more too it:
- Administrators can now preview the survey in full (All sections view) at any point in the survey lifecycle.
- Those using the private/secure link to access Test mode will have their access closed once the survey is ‘Published’. Note, administrators now have access to Test mode at any time though.
- Administrators can now access Test mode directly from the Surveys page itself, no need to navigate or adjust settings.
- All responses submitted in Test mode are automatically marked as ‘test responses’. There’s no need to specifically turn on Test mode.
- Testers can submit as many test responses as they need to whilst in test mode, which is great for speeding up the testing of surveys with complex logic or long question runs.
- Administrators can share a private/secure link for non-logged in users to access the survey in Test mode. This is ideal for use when you have stakeholders who need to view the survey, give feedback or approve it.
- Administrators can set up a survey pilot which uses Test mode without preview, providing a more ‘real life’ experience. This is ideal for use when trialling or piloting the survey with a larger or specific group of users.
- Administrators are able to close test links and re-generate them at any point. This is helpful during review phases when gathering feedback during different phases of the build. Once feedback has been sought on the current phase, the test link can be closed whilst the survey is being updated, and a new link can then be provided for feedback on the next phase. This reduces confusion ensuring that stakeholders are only viewing the most up-to-date build of your survey.
Better Testing Means Better Surveys Means Better Data
It’s our job to make it as easy as possible for SurveyOptic users to create the highest quality surveys and consultations. Therefore, if we can make improvements to make it even easier for you, we will:
- With two routes to access Test mode, both views being available within Test mode, and no need to change the status of the survey (for administrators), it’s now quicker and easier to test your survey.
- With all responses from Test mode being automatically marked as ‘test responses’, there’s no need to manually turn on Test mode. This ensures that test responses are marked and can easily be removed, without getting confused with real responses.
- It’s easier to collaborate with other stakeholders, whether they are SurveyOptic users or not.
- You can more easily manage testing phases, making the process much smoother. It’s clear that a test response is being submitted and also clear when testing has closed.
- It’s even easier and clearer for testers to repeat tests and submit multiple responses, whether they’re familiar with SurveyOptic or completely new to it.
Of course, all of that is designed with our usual commitments to security and data protection baked in.
We’re constantly working on updates and new features. Some are refinements of existing features and some are completely new additions. We hope everyone benefits from our updated preview and test feature. If you have any feedback, questions, or suggestions, you can always reach out to the SurveyOptic team or chat to us through the support chat. We’d love to hear from you! What are your greatest challenges when testing surveys? What things have you found helpful, and what hinders the process?