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Taking a proactive approach to improving the respondent experience

by Roy Gonsalves.

iPhoneAs clients are becoming more sophisticated in their survey builds, we are seeing an increased desire for custom questions that are built directly into our surveys. These questions range from simple exercises like card sorts to more complicated exercises like conjoint shelf builds, all of which are programmed from our Toronto office.

At the same time we are seeing an increased adoption and usage of mobile devices in our everyday life. It’s an evolution in the way we function as a society that has far reaching implications, particularly, in this instance, on how people participate in surveys.

Most data collection companies have built their custom questions within a Flash environment.  Flash is a versatile and easy-to-use programming language that allows you to incorporate some pretty cool features. However, with the lack of support from Apple—the company’s iOS doesn’t support Adobe’s Flash software on their mobile devices (iPads, iPhones)—this becomes an issue for researchers as any Flash-required surveys will limit who is able to participate, potentially skewing your data and respondent type.

AskingCanadians takes data quality seriously and strives to minimize any manageable impact we can. Since last year, we have been hard at work transitioning our custom toolkit to an HTML5 environment in an effort to be as inclusive as possible. HTML5 is a language supported by all browsers and allows full customization of your questions. To date, we have over 40 custom tools programmed in HTML5 and we’re adding new ones monthly.

We also wanted to address this issue from a respondent experience perspective. When you have an unhappy panellist, they tend to provide poor quality data (e.g. straight liners, one word verbatim responses, etc.), lower response rates and a higher attrition rates. These are issues that have been plaguing our industry for years.

AskingCanadians is taking a different approach and investing in our panellists’ experience. By addressing the device issue and ensuring all willing panellists are able to participate in any surveys they qualify for, we effectively eliminate respondent bias due to this issue, enhance our respondent experience and can deliver our clients data faster than ever before.

As Apple continues to have a strong user-base, and this user-base inevitably lives on panels, it is critical you are not biasing your data by terminating their participation in your surveys.