It’s Time to Consider the Respondent

Have you taken the time to ask yourself:  What is the survey-taking experience like for your respondents? 

We are in a world of instant gratification, neverending availability of entertainment, where boredom is a thing of the past.  In this environment, keeping respondents’ attention is of ultimate importance for researchers.  

One common mistake researchers make today is forgetting to think about the respondent’s experience (RX). RX impacts not only the fielding success of a study but also the data quality. 

To illustrate how vital RX is to achieving the insights you need, let's step into your respondent’s shoes:

Imagine. You’ve clicked into a survey that will reward you 20 tokens. There’s only one hour left in the mythical dragon event and all that’s standing in your way to get the Rainbow Funfetti Llama is 20 more tokens. 

The survey starts out easy enough. A few basic questions about yourself - which seems silly considering you had to answer them when you signed up but whatever, you’ve got your eye on the Llama prize. You answer a few checkbox choices, multiple-choice, and slider questions. It’s fun sharing your opinions and you really feel like the Llama is already in your possession. 

But then the survey takes a turn. You’re met with a grid of multiple-choice questions where the font is 8pt. And then another. And then another. You’re a bit cross-eyed and you’re unsure what the survey is even asking anymore. 

And then just as you think you’ve made it to the finish line, it gets worse… Now you're asked to type out a list and read a bunch of paragraphs… on your mobile phone.  You start thinking… Is the Llama even worth it? 

Now that I’ve set the stage, I’d like to share the results of TapResearch’s study where we polled around 500 respondents about their survey-taking experience and survey question styles.

We found the most common reason why respondents abandon a survey is because something is broken, either the survey isn’t mobile compatible, they can’t click the next button or they can’t read the text etc. It’s important to ensure all technical factors work in your survey before sending it into the field.  

Many respondents don’t enjoy taking long surveys. This is common knowledge to most researchers, yet we still see many long, taxing surveys being fielded.  


Can you guess what survey question style is most liked or disliked by respondents?

Checkbox options 

Drag and drop

Grid options 



Typed List 


Wait, don't look yet…. Have you chosen an answer?


Here are the results!

Checkbox questions were the most liked by respondents!  84% of users feel ok about or even enjoy ‘Select all that apply’ questions. They’re easy to navigate and quick to get through! 

Similarly, respondents are on board with ‘Drag n Drop’ questions and ‘Slider’ scale questions.

Grid questions seem to cause more issues in the respondents' experience with about 35% of respondents indicating that they dislike them. 

When it comes to free-response questions, 37% of respondents polled dislike them. However, the most disliked style of all is when respondents have to name items, concepts, etc in a list format (42%).

What can researchers achieve by considering the respondent?

TapResearch believes ensuring that respondents enjoy their survey-taking experience helps to not only unlock 100x the reach but improve the quality of your insights. As illustrated by our poll, respondents do have strong preferences for the type of questions they enjoy answering. 

Although as a researcher it’s not always possible to cater question types to respondents' likes and dislikes, it is important to always take a step back and look at the survey through the lens of the respondent. Respondents have a burnout threshold, which researchers should think about as they craft their questionnaires. 

The market research industry has to step up and adapt to the respondent’s preference (and attention span) when designing survey research.  We need shorter surveys, simpler question types, and fewer long-form open-end questions.  We need to think of the respondent who wants to share their opinions, but only has 5 minutes on their phone between the gym and the grocery store to win 20 tokens.  Consider the respondent! 

Let’s work together to help unlock 100x sample availability and yield more reliable insights for researchers. 

Let’s keep our eye on the Llama prize.

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