Media-Rich Data Collection Techniques for Online Surveys: Proceed with Smarts

media-rich data in online surveys

Emojis are Not Valid ‘Media-Rich’ Data

In this recent Qualtrics post, the authors explored some potential drawbacks of media-rich data collection techniques for surveys; elements such as star ratings, emojis for emotional response, sliders, etc. Their position is that these complex elements should be minimized because not all respondents will have the same context, some may find it more difficult to answer visually vs. traditionally, and some respondents may encounter technical issues as not all devices will fully support these elements.

These are valid points, as is the basic conclusion from the post, stating that sound study design long-recognized by survey methodologists (survey length, topic salience, question clarity, respondent fatigue) is still the key to survey engagement. They believe that engagement does not lie not in graphical enhancements or greater interactivity in the presentation of survey questions.

rich-media data collection for surveys

Keeping it Simple Adds Value

There’s no question that sound study design is crucial and must take these fundamental survey components into account. However, respondents are people.  We know that people, by nature, are easily distracted and bored. In discussions with our clients, we find that some media-rich data collection techniques can bolster respondent engagement. For example, for testing video, interactive tools presented in that paradigm are familiar and have proven successful at keeping respondents engaged throughout the viewing experience. Beyond engagement, it is a reminder to the respondent that their moment-to-moment feedback is relevant. And often, when we work with clients to integrate an online dial testing exercise into a Qualtrics or similar survey, clients will look to add similar slider elements into the survey for continuity.

Our take: As long as the fundamental components are effectively covered in the survey design, there can be a place for media-rich elements that enhance, not detract from, the respondent experience.

Always happy to brainstorm how ours or similar tools can help. Feel free to get in touch.