- Definition: Navigation
- Allow respondents to easily navigate the survey.
- Streamline forward movement through the questionnaire while allowing backtracking and changing of answers.
- Construct web-based questionnaires so that they scroll from question to question unless order effects are a major concern, large numbers of questions must be skipped, and/or a mixed-mode survey is being done for which telephone interview and web results will be combined.
- When the number of answer choices exceeds the number that can be displayed on the screen, consider double-clicking with appropriate navigational instructions being added.
- When respondents complete the survey in a forward, linear manner, either the whole form or the single item implementations can be used as long as navigational functions are clear and easy to use.
- When correction and editing tasks require the respondent to find items, the whole form implementation can be used to aid in the searching for items.
- Paged surveys that are not congruent with sections are to be avoided.
- Sectioned surveys that require scrolling should clearly indicate that additional items must be accessed by scrolling to them.
- Indexes to sections and pages are of marginal benefit and may sometimes lead to confusion.
- Definition: Automation
- Branching: Automate conditional branching when possible, but allow the respondent to override branching if there is a need or desire to do so on the part of the respondent.
- Automate skip patterns: to eliminate errors and to simplify the process of taking the survey from the respondent's point of view, make the program, rather than the respondent, manage skip patterns.
- Automatically validate input, if possible: input validation improves data quality and saves time in data preparation. However, such validation should be user friendly and simply identify the mistake of the user.
- Take advantage of the media's ability to track respondent behavior: a web-based survey can be used to collect more than just respondent's answers. Information on how much time a respondent spends on each question or on the whole survey, the number of visits a respondent makes to a web site in order to complete a survey, the sequence in which a respondent completes the survey, and other such behaviors could also be collected.
- Take into account the costs of automation: incorporation of logic checking and automatic question skipping may require more-extensive software programs and programming.