How To Optimise Your Mobile Survey: 6 Best Practices

Completing a mobile survey

A quality survey needs to be able to adapt to the technology its respondents use. In 2019, that means a survey optimised for participation on mobile devices.

Society as a whole is consuming more and more content on mobile. Here in Sweden, 74% of the population uses a smartphone, tops in the European Union. Meanwhile, in the EU, 83% of internet surfing is done via mobile for those in the 25-54 age group. In other words, making your survey look good and perform properly on mobile aren’t just “nice to haves.” They’re increasingly necessary to effectively reach the entire breadth of your potential audience.

Mobile surveys have become popular as a means of collecting instant feedback. They’re particularly suited for three types of interactions: customer feedback, Net Promoter Score (NPS) / Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), and event-based feedback. A conference, for example, could send out a poll following a keynote speech to see if it’s a topic that resonated with attendees.

The good news is, it’s never been easier to make a survey work just as well on mobile as on desktop. Thanks to Responsive Design, Netigate ensures that all surveys can look great on mobile. But we also want to highlight six best practices to show you how to create a truly mobile-friendly survey that will provide businesses with more valid, timely, and complete feedback.

Keep mobile surveys (and questions) short & simple

Real estate on mobile comes at a premium. Mobile readers typically scan a text, looking for the most relevant information (as opposed to the F-style reading pattern exhibited by desktop users), and tend to absorb a smaller percentage of text. That’s why lengthy articles often are ill-suited for mobile consumption.

Imagine that your e-commerce clothing company wants to consider new inventory from local designers. You might survey your customers to better inform your decisions about which clothing articles they’d be more inclined to purchase.

With a desktop survey, you have the freedom to be a bit more detailed with your questions, or perhaps include some more information about a product or designer. Mobile surveys, on the other hand, require a direct approach.


  • Question: How interested are you in selvedge denim jeans?
  • Answer: 1 – Not interested at all … 5 – Very interested

Ideally, your average respondent could complete a mobile responsive survey in 2-3 minutes. No more than 10. Remember, you’re after specific insights that you can quickly act upon.

Try to avoid matrix questions

Matrix questions are highly effective at helping surveyors collect diversified data about a topic. The downside is they take up a lot of screen space and consume more of the respondent’s time. They work well on desktop but are not so optimal when the majority of your respondents will be answering on their mobile devices.

Instead of a matrix question, why not break those into smaller and more digestible chunks? Let’s say you wanted to create a survey designed to collect feedback from customers who visited your booth at a conference. A matrix that includes questions about staff friendliness, overall atmosphere, product offerings on display, etc., could be easily converted to individual question pages.

Think speed

Avoid bogging down a mobile survey with large images or links to video. Mobile connections are improving all over Europe, but a video that stutters because of a poor connection might cause the respondent to get frustrated and drop out. Stick with smaller images, polls, and text.

Minimise the work required from respondents

Even a brief, mobile-optimised survey can become a hassle for respondents if you include too many open-field text responses. That doesn’t mean avoid them entirely (especially if you want qualitative data on how to improve an experience), but don’t overload the responder with text options. Save the open-field text responses for the critical insights that can’t be covered another way, like asking for a customer to recommend a product you don’t currently carry that they’d like to have in stock.

Minimising work also means limiting the scrolling required for respondents to find their answer. That’s why a question like: “How do you commute to work?” that includes 15 answers is a poor choice for mobile. A mobile-friendly survey would include four main options (1 – personal vehicle, 2 – walk, 3 – public transportation, 4 – carpool) and the fifth could be “other.”

Timing is everything with mobile surveys

The ideal time to contact a customer with a mobile survey is right after an interaction with your company. The important thing is to take advantage while the customer or employee still has you front of mind. For retailers, this could take place shortly following a purchase. Or you could take the example from one of our customers, which wanted to pulse check their employees and thus set up tablets at office exits programmed with one question – “How are you feeling?” – and five responses.

Test your mobile survey

Ask your colleagues to complete the mobile survey on both tablet and smartphone (iPhone and Android). Do they find it easy to navigate? How long did it take them to complete? Does the company logo look correct? You’ll be amazed how far a little usability testing goes.