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10 Tips: Creating the best online surveys

Online surveys can be a useful research tool. Here are 10 tips to help you create forms in DocuWare. The forms are easy to create and fill out – and these tips will help you boost your response rate even more to get the feedback you need.

Surveys of employees and customers are extremely valuable. Feedback gives you more certainty as you develop a product or service. And by demonstrating that your company is interested in people’s opinion, you ensure a stronger bond with the very same employees and customers.

To boost response rates, it’s best to follow a few basic rules – and they are true whether you want to optimize a product’s features or improve a company cafeteria. All of these tips can be implemented with DocuWare web forms.

  1. Define a goal: Who is the survey aimed at and what results do you expect? For example, would you like specific event-oriented feedback on food choices or more general insight into how the canteen should best operate? The more closely you narrow down the goal and target group in advance, the more precisely you can ask the questions and the more precise the answers will be. 
  1. Not too many questions: Even if digital forms aren’t restricted by the size of a paper page - customers or employees don’t want to waste precious time and are far more likely to opt out if there are too many questions.
  2. Write a short introduction. Use the block provided at the of top to briefly explain why you are doing the survey and how respondents will benefit from the feedback provided.


  3. Mainly ask closed questions. Questions that can be answered with "Yes" or "No" provide precise results and simplify the evaluation. But if you need to give respondents more options for answers, use the multiple choice field in DocuWare or a drop-down list, for example. Only one answer is ideal with these as well.
    Here’s an example of multiple choice:


    This checkbox allows for multiple answers:


  4. Targeted use of open questions. Asking for freely formulated opinion will usually provide high-quality insights but does require more time to fill in – and more time to evaluate. Use open-ended questions only in a few spots so that the respondent does not drop out of the survey. And if you do use these, make sure you provide enough space for answers by using a multi-line text field in DocuWare.
  5. Formulate everything briefly and succinctly. Short questions are easier to read than run-on sentences. If necessary, use the instructions for the user area to further explain the question.
  6. Keep the form clearly organized. Show only the questions that are relevant to the respondent. To stay with our cafeteria example: If someone only uses it for lunch, no need for them to see the question about breakfast and snack offerings. In DocuWare, dependent overlaying works with the Field Behavior.


    If the option "lunch" is not selected the evaluation of the lunch is not shown: 

  1. Pay attention to a logical sequence. Ask general questions first and become more specific as you go. Personal data, if used at all, should only be requested towards the end.
  2. Thank you: Show your appreciation by displaying a short thank you line after submitting the form. Special offers provided by link are also possible.


  3. Test your survey. Are all your questions clearly formulated? the form is also easily readable on the smartphone? Send the survey link to a handful of colleagues in advance and use their feedback to optimize the form before it is used company wide.


This article is the first in a serie about realizing online surveys with DocuWare Forms. Read also the other articles of the serie:

Part 2: How to create an online survey form

Part 3: Online surveys using DocuWare forms: Options for analyzing responses

Part 4: Send out survey forms – even to external users

Maybe you already have experience with generating online surveys and other tips? Feel free to share your insight with us and other readers in the comments section at the bottom of this page.


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