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It’s all about first impressions: the importance of survey design

It takes people 1/10th of a second to form an opinion about a person, and surveys are no different. Always…

It takes people 1/10th of a second to form an opinion about a person, and surveys are no different. Always keep in mind that surveys speak in two languages; words and visuals. So, your survey’s first impression relies on these two complementing each other.

Images, colors, and fonts

We are sure you already know this, but we’ll say it again – colors, fonts, and images are important! Plenty of studies (shout out to Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method by Don Dillman, Jolene Smyth, and Leah Melani) show that these incite feelings and attitudes on people, which means you shouldn’t overlook the impact these can have on your respondents.


You can find endless research on colors, fonts, and images and we encourage you to do so, however, today we’re taking it a step further. We want to focus on matching your survey’s visuals to its content.

Avoid bias by conveying the same message through visuals and words

Make sure your visuals and text are saying the same thing. If you have chosen a casual and informal tone in order to target a certain segment of respondents but your visuals are strict and rigid, you’re creating cognitive dissonance and influencing your respondents’ performance.

For example, if you conduct a survey on attitudes towards different social media platforms and you use Facebook’s color scheme, you will end up with invalid data


Your survey is part of your brand

Every and any interaction that customers have with your brand is defined as a touch point, and it can have a positive or negative effect. Your survey is a touch point, it’s part of your brand, that’s why your survey design should align with your brand identity and be consistent.

We live in an online world, which means customers experience brands throughout a variety of channels and it’s important to keep their experience consistent. So, if your website and social media are branded then your survey should reflect your company’s brand presence as well.

Engage your audience through visuals

You have chosen a specific tone and words to address a specific audience, however, have you chosen the right visuals? For example, let’s say you’re conducting a survey about homeschooling and include images of classrooms, however, your target audience is homeschooled children, then these images are not going to resonate with them, they might even hit the wrong note. Make sure your visuals align with your content and brand, as well as speak directly to your target audience.


Ultimately, you can jeopardize your data by overlooking your survey’s visual design. Remember, it is the first thing your respondents will notice and you don’t want to lose them before they even read the content of your survey. Visual design done well can increase response rates and minimize bias, however, when done poorly it can have the opposite effect.

Enalyzer provides multiple survey design templates, which can serve as a great starting point for your survey design – the possibilities are endless.

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