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Online behaviour: Mobile vs Desktop

One of the trends within organisations nowadays is putting the customer central; setting the customer at the heart of your business and immerse yourself among your target. This enables you to fully understand your customer’s needs and successfully respond on that.

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In today’s world of big data there are endless possibilities to get to know your customer and to map their needs. But of course, context stays key in understanding this data; therefore, big data can never go without ‘thick’ data. This combination makes it possible to explain the big ‘what’ with the thick ‘why’, and to actually get to know your consumer.

When defining the ‘why’ online research can step in, we need to avoid asking the information that we already have available and go in-depth and search for the context.

To get to the context in an online survey, the same approach needs to be followed as is done in modern organizations; put the online respondent central in your survey. We need to understand the respondent’s behavior to set our questions right.

Needless to say; these behaviors are now being found more and more via mobile; mobile phones embody our respondents. If you want to be representative in your research, caring for mobile is the absolute basic best practice. In addition to this, we need to understand that ‘online behavior’ is not a self-contained given. Even though respondents expect a seamless experience across screens and devices, that doesn’t mean their actual online mobile behavior is the same as their online desktop behavior.

These are essential points to keep in mind when designing your mobile survey. And of course, we all know the basics for designing these surveys;

  • Online surveys shouldn’t only be mobile compatible, they must be mobile friendly;
  • Open answer questions must be reduced to a minimum;
  • Grid-questions on a mobile are out of the question;
  • And don’t even think of asking your respondents to scroll horizontally in a survey.

All sorts of essential things to keep in mind on the outside, but let’s not forget the context! Having a perfectly designed survey for mobile devices still isn’t enough to track down the context that we are looking for. Let us take a step back and think about the different online behaviors. It’s clear that copy-pasting our desktop version to a mobile survey and tweaking it to be mobile friendly is not enough.

Research has shown that online ads are most effective on a mobile device if they are designed for mobile. It starts with creating a thump stopper and then transferring your message in the next three seconds. No long run to your key message, like we see in TV commercials, but persuade the audience right after your grab their attention.

And that’s the exactly difference we need to be aware of when designing mobile surveys. The respondent’s time is limited, especially on a mobile. So, make a connection with your respondent within a short period of time and get to the point right away.

Keep it short, ask your most important questions first and only ask the essence. Do not fear missing out on important background information, as your survey-data can be enriched with the available data-sources we have around us. This enables you to effectively bring together the big ‘what’ with the thick ‘why’; the key to your context.


Lous van Eijndhoven, Senior Project Manager, Client Operations

Originally sourced from Lightspeed Blog

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