What difference doguidelines make? An observational study of online-questionnaire design guidelines put to practical use

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As a new medium for questionnaire delivery, the Internet has the potential to revolutionize the survey process. Online-questionnaires can provide many capabilities not found in traditional paper-based questionnaires. Despite this, and the introduction of a plethora of tools to support online-questionnaire creation, current electronic survey design typically replicates the look-and-feel of paper-based questionnaires, thus failing to harness the full power of the electronic delivery medium. A recent environmental scan of online-questionnaire design tools found that little, if any, support is incorporated within these tools to guide questionnaire designers according to best-practice [Lumsden & Morgan 2005]. This paper briefly introduces a comprehensive set of guidelines for the design of online-questionnaires. Drawn from relevant disparate sources, all the guidelines incorporated within the set are proven in their own right; as an initial assessment of the value of the set of guidelines as a practical reference guide, we undertook an informal study to observe the effect of introducing the guidelines into the design process for a complex online-questionnaire. The paper discusses the qualitative findings — which are encouraging for the role of the guidelines in the ‘bigger picture’ of online survey delivery across many domains such as e-government, e-business, and e-health — of this case study.

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Publication date2006
Publication titlePeople and computers XIX — the bigger picture : proceedings of HCI 2005
EditorsTom McEwan, Jan Gulliksen, David Benyon
Place of PublicationLondon (UK)
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-84628-249-2
ISBN (Print)978-1-84628-192-1
Original languageEnglish
Event19th Annual Conference of the British Human-Computer Interaction Group - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sep 20059 Sep 2005


Conference19th Annual Conference of the British Human-Computer Interaction Group
Abbreviated titleHCI 2005
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • online-questionnaire, design guidelines, evaluative case study


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