Yaroslav Zhmikhov
Yaroslav Zhmikhov
305 February, 2, 2022 6 min read
305 February, 2, 2022 6 min read


This low-cost, reasonably fast, and practical research method will allow you to obtain quantitative and qualitative data about potential or existing users.

An online survey is a quick and easy way to get data about current or potential users. With this method, meaningful results can be obtained. The survey does not need moderation after its launch.

Recommendation: You can use Survey Monkey or Google Forms for this purpose.

An intercept survey is a survey that is launched when using a site or program and is designed to ask the user questions.

An example of an intercept survey (open question) connected to an interactive wireframe | Hotjar

An example of an intercept survey (open question) connected to an interactive wireframe | Hotjar

This research method includes the ability to rate the site on a scale from 0 to 10 points, you can ask open-ended questions and ask for detailed answers, and you can ask closed questions and show answer options where the user selects the necessary ones. Thus, you will receive feedback from users.

Recommendation: You can use Hotjar for this purpose.

An email survey is a survey sent to users of a product or to those who voluntarily provided their email address (for example, subscribed to a blog or granted the right to send emails when registering on a site) to obtain user data.

This research method is the same as the online survey, but it is distributed using bulk email services.

Recommendation: You can use MailChimp for this purpose.

An example of survey results for an online e-learning platform

An example of survey results for an online e-learning platform

The purpose of the survey at the beginning of the project

It is this type of survey that we will consider in the article.

Test simple hypotheses and get an understanding of who our potential target audience is. Also, get important details about their experience, find out the attitude of potential users to certain services or services, find out information about the products they use, get contact information for interviews, etc.

A simple hypothesis can be tested with closed questions. The respondent can easily answer questions with multiple answers. Complex hypotheses require interviews.

Important: An online survey, intercept survey, and email survey only point your research in the right direction.You must understand that the quality of these answers is not high, because potential users do not always try to answer qualitatively and honestly.

The purpose of the oral survey during the wireframe testing phase

We need to understand the general impression of respondents from our user interface. Find out if it was difficult for them to complete the tasks assigned to them.

Explanation #1: After completing the guerrilla testing (also known as hallway usability testing) or usability testing, you can survey respondents. That is, a post-test survey will provide an assessment of the overall impression of the respondent.

Explanation #2: You can also poll respondents after each completed task. That is, the survey during the test is to identify the most difficult tasks, and understand the most problematic places in our user interface.

The purpose of the oral survey at the stage of testing the finished solution

In addition to usability, our respondents will be able to evaluate the quality of the product implementation itself. Thus, it will help us understand how difficult it is to complete the tasks we have set and share our general impressions of our user interface.

Value for the team

If the team clearly understands why they want to conduct a survey, what they will receive in the final result, defined their goals, and made clear, simple, and concise questions, then such a survey will be able to provide a large amount of data (i mean, a lot of quantitative data, and a few qualitative data).

Also, this research method can be a bridge from a survey to interviews with potential users, since the last question can be an offer to talk more about his experience. An example of such a question is described in step 6.

Value for business

The survey can be conducted at different stages of product development, this method is cheap and fast, and also serves as a good guide for making the right decisions.


  • Preparation: up to 30 minutes
  • Main activity: from 5 to 8 hours to prepare 1st survey, up to 3 hours to find places for distribution, or up to 3 hours to set up an email service (if there is a list of users)

Creating process:

Step 1. Preparation and discussion

It is necessary to make sure that the whole team clearly understands what goals it sets for itself and what it will receive as a result of this research method.

Ask the team these questions:

  • What do you want to know and why? — Question Answer: The team wants to know the frequency and duration of room bookings, the factors by which customers rate a hotel, and the most common problems customers have when booking a hotel room. By analyzing the responses, we will get important data, a list of problems, and recommendations that need to be fixed first.
  • What will the team do with the information it receives and how will it apply the results of the survey? — Answer to the question: The team will suggest ways to solve problems. For example, redesign the functionality of booking a hotel room.

Step 2. Search for respondents

I already wrote about this step in the previous article “User interviews (based on proto-persona) & Hypothesis”, and the principle of finding respondents for the survey is the same.

Important: Incorrectly selected potential respondents are a path to incorrect results. Remember this.

Step 3. Compose questions

Questions are of 2 types:

  • Closed questions = quantitative data. You will be able to get quantitative data from users, i.e. numbers. From this data, it is impossible to learn the context, motivation, and reason for the answer. These questions are accompanied by checkboxes and radio buttons. The resulting structured data is very easy to visualize in a chart and compare with other quantitative data. Quantitative data help draw general conclusions from the study. This data type answers the question “What”.
  • Open questions = qualitative data. You will receive qualitative data about user behavior, actions, motives, opinions, and problems. These questions are accompanied by a text box so that the respondent can express all their thoughts. This data type answers the question “Why”.

Important: Open-ended questions begin with one of the question words: “who”, “how”, “what”, “how”, “why”, etc.

So, by this point you should have accumulated a lot of hypotheses that you need to turn into questions:

  • If the hypothesis is simple, then we turn it into a closed question and give options for answers.

Hypothesis: The owner of the hotel wants to make it possible to book rooms through his website, but we assume that this will not give the desired result since almost all bookings go through popular services or reception.

Question #1 (closed): How often do you book a hotel room? — Answer options: once a week, 2–5 times a month, 6–9 times a year, more than 10 times a year, I don’t book hotel rooms at all.

Question #2 (closed): How do you book a hotel room — Answer options: use Booking, use Airbnb, search for contact information online and call reception, your option (other)…

  • If your hypothesis cannot be answered with “yes”, “no”, or another option, you need to ask an open question.

Question #3 (open): Please describe in detail how exactly your process of choosing and booking a hotel room goes?

Important: Do not abuse open-ended questions and do not turn the survey into in-depth interviews, as this will harm the results. Want to ask a question and listen to the respondent? Do a full interview.

Types of closed questions:

  • Dichotomous questions. You must choose 1 of 2 answers. Possible answers: “yes” or “no”, “correct” or “incorrect”, “agree” or “disagree”.

An example of a dichotomous question | Hotjar

An example of a dichotomous question | Hotjar

Question: Have you ever booked hotel rooms? — Answer options: “yes” or “no”.

  • Multiple-choice questions. You must select 1 or more answers.

An example of a multiple-choice question | Hotjar

An example of a multiple-choice question | Hotjar

Question: What websites did you visit to find a hotel room? — Answer options: Booking, Airbnb, OLX, CouchSurfing, Zillow, your choice (other)…

  • Interval scales: Likert scale or semantic differential.

An example of an interval scale | Hotjar

An example of an interval scale | Hotjar

Likert scale questions: How often do you take a suitcase full of things with you? — Answer options: always, often, sometimes, rarely, never.

Semantic differential question: Do you agree that booking a hotel room online is very convenient? Scale with answers: disagree | 1, 2, 3, 4, 5| agree.

Step 4. Conducting a test version of the survey

Please check the survey for unclear, difficult, or inappropriate questions, and grammatical errors, check the logical sequence of questions (for example, first general questions, then about his life, and only after that about the user interface or the problem you want to investigate).

Important: Avoid the case when you ask the question “Have you ever booked a hotel room?”, the respondent answered “No”, and your next question is “How often do you book a hotel room?”. Believe me, few will fill out the survey for you to the end …

To do this, you need to show the survey to your colleagues so that they provide their feedback. This is very important, don’t skip it!

Step 5. Write an accompanying test

An example of a survey title. Surveys for people with hotel reservation services.

Example of accompanying text. Good afternoon! We are the design team of OTAKOYI company, our website is One of the main tasks of our team is user research, which reveals the problems and needs of people, and insights to develop a website or mobile application specifically for the target audience. At the moment, we are deeply studying the topic of how people book rooms in hotels. Thank you in advance for agreeing to participate and share valuable information with us! The survey will take approximately 10–15 minutes.

Step 6. Add a request to find respondents for an interview

Example. We will be very happy if you leave your email address or a link to your profile on any social network. Then we can contact you and arrange a more detailed conversation about your hotel booking experience. Completing the interview will earn you a $25 Apple Gift Card.

Step 7. We send the survey to our respondents and wait a few days to complete it

Places for distribution:

  • A business can provide a bulk mailing list. These are people who are already using the product.
  • Social media. Look for groups that may contain your target audience. Arrange with the administrator to publish the survey or send it manually to all group members using private messages.

Recommendation: The manual submission option is very long and complicated.

  • LinkedIn. We are looking for the necessary people and send them a personal message with a link to the survey. You can take the accompanying text the same as that of the survey.
  • Professional services (paid). UserTesting, Userbrain, Lookback, UsabilityHub, Userlytics, Userzoom, Loop11 and more.

Example: Surveys

OTAKOYI UX design program:

Stage 1. Business research:

  • Step 1. Preparatory & Secondary research (Desk research)
  • Step 2. Kick-off meeting & Stakeholder interviews
  • Step 3. Business model canvas (BMC)
  • Step 4. Competitive analysis
  • Step 5. SWOT analysis
  • Step 6. Business process model and notation 2.0+ (BPMN)

Stage 2. User research:

  • Step 7. User interviews (based on proto-persona) & Hypothesis
  • Step 8. Focus groups
  • Step 9. Surveys
  • Step 10. Empathy mapping (uncovering insights & identifying needs)
  • Step 11. User personas
  • Step 12. Point of view (POV) — Problem statement & How might we (HMW) questions

Stage 3. Strategy phase:

  • Step 13. Business & User Goals
  • Step 14. Value proposition canvas (VPC) — additional POVs and value descriptions
  • Step 15. Customer journey map (CJM)
  • Step 16. Service blueprint

Stage 4. Ideation phase:

  • Step 17. Ideation (Six thinking hats, Brainstorming & The Walt Disney creativity strategy)

Stage 5. Design:

  • Step 18. Prioritization
  • Step 19. User flows & Task flow
  • Step 20. Information architecture
  • Step 21. Wireframing

Stage 6. Test:

  • Step 22. UX testing methods