Re: [IxDA] The Value Of User Surveys

6 Oct 2010 - 2:22pm
5 years ago
1 reply
534 reads
Prof. AProfeta

GT, In addition to being a practitioner, I teach Usability and Interactive Design classes at Philadelphia University. When discussing the quality of user feedback I show Malcolm Galdwell's amazing video on TED. In the video he discusses the faults, variance and effectiveness of user testing. In less than 15 minutes the lesson is learned and stays with the student. On another point this week's episode of House drives the same point home in less than 20 seconds. I won't spoil for the DVR time shifting crew but it is quite amusing. Hope this helps, TonyPRO PDA Media, Inc ------Original Message------ From: gthomas10 Sender: To: Tony Profeta ReplyTo: Subject: [IxDA] The Value Of User Surveys Sent: Oct 6, 2010 12:18 PM

My client contact, several of my contacts employees, and the founder of the company have indicated a strong belief that, based on user surveys they have conducted, their site is "pretty darn good".

Part of the process I am working to implement will include user testing
during the design phase. Does anyone have good counter points to why user surveys should be taken with a grain of salt and not considered the "end-all-be-all" judgment of a website.

Note: I haven't yet had the chance to review the surveys so I can't comment as to the quality of the questions (i.e. are they leading). I do know that
they conducted the surveys by emailing users and asking them to participate.

Examples I thought of:

  • When you obtain survey results based on an existing design that is 'in the wild' users are typically compelled to be nice. People taking the survey don't want to be rude. If you test a prototype with users who understand that, what they are seeing, is /not/ final you are more likely to get honest feedback.
  • Typically users who volunteer to take the time to complete a survey are happy with the product in question. People who are /unhappy/ with a product/site complain to customer support and are annoyed already and therefore won't waste any more time to complete a survey.  We need to hear the bad stuff as well as the good. 


Thanks in advance



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6 Oct 2010 - 4:15pm
Thomas Petersen

Kind of related arguments against most things to do with users in the traditional sense

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