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Test Management

4 Tips for Building Great Beta Surveys

October 16, 2015

One of the most important tools a beta team has at their disposal are surveys. An effective survey can help a team qualify testers, obtain user insights, and quantify tester attitudes during the test. Surveys can even be an effective way to increase participation with your beta testers.

A poorly constructed survey, however, can have the opposite effect by wasting the time of both your beta testers as well as your beta management team. Knowing how to construct an effective survey can make all the difference in your ability to gather quality feedback that can improve your product and the overall success of your beta. By following our four tips on survey building, you can make sure your surveys are targeted, concise, simple to use, and incredibly useful.

Target an Audience

Every product is designed with a targeted market in mind. The same is true about surveys. Just because you have a big pool of testers doesn’t mean you should send all of them every survey. Not every tester is automatically a suitable respondent for every survey.

When you’re developing your survey, think about who you really need feedback from. Do your target respondents meet specific demographics, or have they used specific features of your product? Do you need a particular split of iOS and Android testers? By making sure you’re asking the right people their opinions on your product, you’re taking the first step in making sure the end data is actionable.

Make It Concise

When writing a survey, it’s important to make it short and concise. Surveys should never be longer than 20 questions, or take more than 10 minutes to fill out. If they’re longer, the likelihood that testers will finish or answer every question honestly drastically decreases.

A good survey also won’t bog testers down with questions collecting information a beta team will never use. Really think about what you need to know from the user before you ask. Stay true to your test’s goals and form your survey questions around them.

Easier is Always Better

When writing a survey, it’s easy to get a little wordy, especially when you’re asking questions about a tech product. While you are writing, be as clear and straightforward as possible. Simple questions that avoid complex wording are easier for testers to answer, and easier to analyze at the end of your beta test.

Also, limit technical language as much as possible. Don’t assume your testers know the technical terms associated with the product they’re testing. Questions are only as good as a tester’s ability to understand and answer them effectively. If a tester is confused or misunderstands the question, the accuracy of your feedback will be affected.

Write Useful Questions

Every time you design a question, think about how it will be useful to your team. Ask yourself, “Why am I asking this?” and “How am I going to use the information?” for each question. If you don’t have a clear answer, don’t include the question. If you’re not sure whether a question is useful, rethink it. If you still feel like you don’t have a clear answer to its usefulness after rethinking the question, it’s much more likely that question will waste tester time rather than add high quality information to your beta test.

The goal of good survey writing is to create the most value possible within a given survey. As any experienced beta manager will tell you, a well written survey can be extremely valuable. So take the time, use our four tips, and make sure every survey you give your beta testers is valuable to your beta test.

Download the Building Surveys for Delta Testing Guide
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