Don’t do surveys anymore

Surveys are the most dangerous research tool — misunderstood and misused. They frequently straddle the qualitative and quantitative, and at their worst represent the worst of both

Sorry for the aggressive title, but yes, I really wanted to say, 'Don’t conduct surveys when you should not do so.'

In user and market research, there are various methods to understand your audience according to your objectives. However, many people decide to conduct surveys mainly because they don’t have the time, budget, or qualitative user research methods.

Please, No More Surveys!

I could write thousands of lines explaining why a survey is not your all-in-one-fit option to know your audience. Instead, I have shared some articles that explain well why you should not conduct surveys.

Surveys are the most dangerous research tool — misunderstood and misused. They frequently straddle the qualitative and quantitative, and at their worst represent the worst of both.

Easy Feels True

It is too easy to run a survey. That is why surveys are so dangerous. They are so easy to create and so easy to distribute, and the results are so easy to tally. And our poor human brains are such that information that is easier for us to process and comprehend feels more true. This is our cognitive bias. This ease makes survey results feel true and valid, no matter how false and misleading. And that ease is hard to argue with.

Bad Surveys Don’t Smell

A bad survey won’t tell you it’s bad. It’s actually really hard to find out that a bad survey is bad — or to tell whether you have written a good or bad set of questions. Bad code will have bugs. A bad interface design will fail a usability test. It’s possible to tell whether you are having a bad user interview right away. Feedback from a bad survey can only come in the form of a second source of information contradicting your analysis of the survey results.

Most seductively, surveys yield responses that are easy to count and counting things feels so certain and objective and truthful.

Even if you are counting lies.”  *from*

But Really, Why Surveys Do Not Work?

1. Typing fatigue

When people are asked for long written answers in surveys, they can quickly grow tired and less engaged. This typing fatigue not only risks incomplete responses but can lead people to drop off the survey entirely, skewing your data

2. No ‘why’

Surveys can tell you what people think, but they often miss the crucial 'why' behind their thoughts. Without this insight, it's hard to grasp the motivations driving their responses, leaving a gap in understanding that could lead to misguided decisions.

3. What people tell is different with what they actually do

There's often a gap between what people claim they do and their actual actions. Survey responses can reflect aspirational views or socially desirable answers rather than true behaviors. This disconnect makes it challenging to base sound decisions on what your data seems to suggest.

Instead of Surveys, Conduct Interviews.

User interviews provide deeper insights than surveys by allowing direct dialogue with participants. This approach captures the crucial 'why' behind user responses and enables immediate, detailed follow-ups. It's an effective way to gather accurate data and foster a stronger connection with your audience.

Preparing for interviews can be daunting, but heardeer simplifies the process. Simply input your interview's purpose and target audience, and let heardeer handle the rest—from crafting questions to conducting interviews. Sit back and relax—you need insights, not more tasks.

It’s time to move beyond the excuse of not knowing user and customer interviews methodologies. With heardeer, engaging with and learning from your customers is straightforward and effective!

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