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Eight questions to ask when surveying digital product users

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August 5, 2021
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Do you need help evaluating your product but don't know where to start? A user survey can provide valuable insight when it includes a mix of the following questions:

  • Demographic: background information.
  • Contextual: circumstantial and situational details.
  • Qualitative: written or spoken answers.
  • Quantitive: numerical or data-based.

Let's say your digital product is suffering from a lack of users -- or it's losing users at an alarming rate -- and you don't know why. Or maybe you just came up with an excellent idea for a new web app, but you need more opinions for proof of concept. 

One of the best ways to get feedback is with a user survey. The catch is that survey attention span is very short since no one wants to slog through a giant list of questions. So it's important to keep things brief and be sensible about what you ask.

That's why we've put together a bare-bones list of the top eight questions you must include when surveying users. Without further ado, here it is:

Demographic

Background questions provide a better understanding of your users and help with persona development. You'll want to get inside the user's head for a clear picture of their needs and the pain points they experience. These types of questions also help to segment your customers into groups for analysis down the line.

1. What role best describes you?

2. What industry best describes your company?


These questions bridge the gap between demographic and contextual information, which we will cover shortly. By identifying what the user does for a living, we can better understand their experience, general knowledge, needs, and tech-savviness. It can also shed light on the setting in which they use your product. For example, someone who works a desk job likely uses a laptop or desktop computer, while someone who travels or spends a lot of time on their feet would use a mobile phone or tablet.  

Contextual

Since you cannot lump users into a one-size-fits-all box, you must tease out the different scenarios, environments, and limitations they encounter when using your product. 

3. How often do you use [website/product]?


By learning how much time a user spends on your website or mobile app, you can glean their experience level and where they fall on your product's learning curve. A new user will usually have different needs than an experienced user, so this bit of information is important to consider.

4. What device do you use for [website/product]?

Armed with the knowledge of a user's preferred device, you can fine-tune your features and functionality for a particular interface or set of interfaces. The driving force of this question might be as simple as learning whether your target users have an iPhone or Android. Or you could find that users need a touchscreen interface versus a large-scale desktop version. 

Qualitative

The purpose of open-ended questions is to collect user observations and recommendations in a free-flowing way. These questions lead to more detailed answers than simple closed-ended questions and provide a deeper level of meaning. 

5. What do you like about [website/product]?

6. What do you dislike about [website/product]?


Users generally have strong feelings, one way or another, about an app or a website. By giving them room to share an emotional reaction, you can get a gold mine of information in return.

Quantitative

Closed-ended questions commonly involve multiple answer choices, which is beneficial for collecting and analyzing data sets. Quantitative questions are numbers-oriented and produce more objective results.

7. How satisfied are you with [website/product]?

8. How likely are you to recommend [website/product] to someone else?


It's best practice to include a rating scale with these questions so that people can relay their level of satisfaction accurately. For example, a Likert Scale may consist of the following choices: Very Dissatisfied, Dissatisfied, Neutral, Satisfied, and Very Satisfied. A numeric scale usually falls between 0-5 or 1-10, and you can even incorporate emojis to serve the same purpose, with options ranging from a frowning face to a smiley face. These options allow users to pick a tangible representation of their feelings.

Be sure to put in the necessary time and effort when crafting a survey so that users stay engaged. Keep it between 6-8 items, and use a wide variety of questions to keep the task from becoming dull. Also, remember that the categories mentioned previously aren't always evenly separated; there is often overlap between the four types.

Whether you're trying to upgrade your product or start from scratch, it's crucial to take advantage of the users' point of view. As your most valuable resource, users will help you find out what's working and what isn't. Then you can chart the best path forward.

3Digit is a small agile product design shop based outside of Baltimore, MD. We focus on designing user-centered digital products for mobile and web applications, as well as physical prototyping for early-stage startups and entrepreneurs. Our approach relies on research and rapid prototyping to help businesses turn their ideas into reality.