Mobile Surveys

CAPI software (Computer-Assisted Personal Interviewing) and mobile survey apps have had a profound and revolutionary effect on the survey data collection profession, rendering phone and door-to-door surveys all but irrelevant. For brands, mobile surveys are a convenient and low cost way to collect customer data that can be used to optimize digital and traditional marketing.

But traditional phone, interview and focus group questions don’t necessarily translate to mobile devices. Here are a few tips for writing effective survey questions specifically for mobile devices.


The KISS acronym – Keep it Stupid Simple – should be adapted for mobile survey questions to Keep it Short, Simple. Life is run at a frenetic pace with down time a rare commodity. When people do a surveyor the good turn of acceding to a survey request their time must be appreciated for the valuable commodity that it is. Therefore, make the questions short and to the point.

Format of Questions

The format of questions is essential with regard to KISS. Multiple choice questions or Yes and No questions are easier to view and respond to on a tablet-like device then questions that require written answers. Similarly, questions that require complex analysis should be broken down into shorter questions or not used at all. If you do not really need to ask the question in the first place, don’t!

Keep it Interesting

One of the great advantages of using mobile survey apps is the ability to use the functionality of the mobile device to keep the interviewee interested. Short clips and pictures are much more interesting and engaging for the interviewee than just plain old black and white questions, so incorporate them to the survey.

Go with the Flow

The format of the questions should flow as should the navigation of the survey. It should have a natural progression that makes it easier to follow for the interviewee.

As you can see, adapting survey questions to the new mobile media is only a matter of common sense. In fact, the old forms of survey would have done well to take in similar sorts of advice. So whereas mobile surveys may be revolutionary, writing effective mobile survey questions need not be.