Sliding into Interactive Questions

Sometimes a picture is truly worth a thousand words. Other times pictures can be the best way to break up the routine inherent in consumer and B2B marketing research surveys. Cvent, as an online survey platform, offers multiple ways to involve imagery and interactivity in the questionnaire design. Judicious use of these tools increases engagement with the survey, which has positive impact on completion rates and potentially the quality of the data.

Interactive questions are effective in gathering ordinal or metric data. The visual themes include simple sliders with numeric and/or text anchor points to more graphic displays such as ‘smiley faces’, stop lights, pressure gauges, or grades. The common theme running through these visuals is a well-grounded sense of understanding. In other words with a stop light we can relate green not only to ‘go’, but to other positive responses. Conversely, red can mean stop or a negative response. There are only a limited number of universal symbols so if you are employing visual or interactive displays in an international survey proceed with caution.

The graphic below shows an interactive slider and a stop light visual. The slider provides verbal cues for each scale point which is consistent with best practice. The stop light does not provide text cues, but relies on the aforementioned cultural understanding that green is positive – in this case it implies that the conference exceeded expectations. This implies that yellow equates to ‘met expectations’ and red equates to ‘failed to meet expectations’. If you anticipate any issue with visual understanding, it is appropriate to provide a text cue, either in the question or the visual, where possible.


Due to their visual appeal interactive questions are commonly used when surveying children. Again the same caveat, mentioned above applies. It is better to state what the graphic implies at least once, if you anticipate difficulties in understanding the visual cue.

Interactive questions provide a sense of wonder to sometimes otherwise vanilla surveys. This makes them tempting to use. However, keep in mind that visuals may by interpreted differently. It is wise to test questions in both traditional text format and interactive to ensure no score differences exist.

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