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Article | EX Insights

Survey best practice: Mobile-first online surveys


By Andromachie Lella | November 4, 2019

When we first released Willis Towers Watson Employee Engagement Software to allow users to create targeted pulse surveys in 2017, we aspired to make our online surveys as accessible as possible. This meant designing the ideal experience for survey takers who use a mobile device to submit their survey responses – mobile-first was our mantra.

The most striking change we made was to display just one question per page versus the more traditional grid display for multiple questions.

New approach

Sample employee survey mobile view

Old approach

Sample employee survey desktop view

Designing for mobile users does not mean compromising the experience for those participating via a traditional desktop. On the contrary, the new design brings advantages to all users no matter what device they use.

For example, with the one question per page approach:

  • The next question loads automatically as soon as a response is selected. That means the respondent doesn't have to click "Next" or scroll down to proceed. The result is a much quicker survey experience. As you administer surveys more frequently, this speed improvement is vital.
  • Participants are encouraged to consider each question separately. This reduces the inherent bias of placing questions in grids, which sometimes employees are tempted to skim-read.
  • The need to group questions by scale type is eliminated. And you also don't have to worry about odd looking pages when questions are hidden because of conditions. This significantly improves the survey creation experience, which is especially helpful to novice survey designers.
  • The progress bar is more accurate, because it is based on the number of questions rather than the number of pages.

Even though our employee surveys look different now, we retained the elements that our users valued most, including:

  • Clear and concise confidentiality statements informing employees how their data will be used. We find this guarantee by a third party is well received by employees.
  • A fully-customizable introduction page offering you the opportunity to share information about the survey objectives, when the results will be shared and who to contact for questions.
  • Definitions of key terms, so participants have a common understanding of what is meant by phrases such as "senior leaders" and "internal customers."
  • Simple branding configurations, so the survey feels relevant to employees and complies with your branding guidelines.
  • The option to pause the survey and return to finish it at a later time without losing any responses submitted up to that point.

We think our mobile-first approach has created employee surveys that are smart, simple and effective allowing respondents to focus on the content of the questionnaire instead of being distracted by over-the-top branding or complicated functionality. We hope you agree.

Sign in to your Willis Towers Watson Employee Engagement Software account today to create or preview a survey or contact us for a demo.


Product Consultant
Willis Towers Watson Employee Engagement Software

Andromachie supports Willis Towers Watson Employee Engagement Software users through training videos, online help topics and the design of new features. When she’s not working, Andromachie loves to cook, draw and listen to podcasts. Follow Andromachie on LinkedIn.

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