How Readable is Your Survey?

What if all I did was change the background color to improve the readability of my question text? Or I changed the font size and type to make the items more or less legible in my web surveys? These choices may seem irrelevant, but they will affect how fluently your participants process the words in your question items and other survey materials.

Research has found that participants were more willing to add an exercise into their daily routine merely by receiving the directions in an easy-to-read font. When the identical directions were in a difficult-to-read font, participants thought the exercise would take nearly twice as long (8.2 minutes estimate versus 15.1 minutes).

So when we translate these findings to the field of survey research, we can see how clear, easy-to-follow directions and text in our web questionnaires are very necessary if we want our clients to participate in our surveys, instead of simply deleting the invitation emails. Since choices are affected by such small things like colors and font styles or sizes, as survey creators we must always consider how these things may affect our survey response rates and the quality of the data collected. 

Survey participants have to feel they can do a task. Since the presentation of your questions and survey desin may sometimes be more important than the questions themselves, ensuring your survey is readable and in visually stimulating colors will help your respondents feel like your survey will be do-able. This will in turn help them more fluidly process the survey they are being asked to complete, leading to more use able data for your company.
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