Questionnaire type and design

In this section:

Choosing the questionnaire layout

There are three types of Internet questionnaire layouts: scrolling; page-by-page or question-by-question; and hybrid scroll designs. See the glossary for information on each design.

  • Choose either a page-by-page or scrolling design based on the length and complexity of routing within the questionnaire.
  • Use a scrolling design for short questionnaires which do not have complex routing.
  • Use a page-by-page design for long questionnaires which need complex routing (for example, routing based on answers to two or more previous questions).
  • Avoid a mixed page-by-page and scroll (hybrid scroll) design unless there is a critical need for this type of design.

Responsive design

A webpage that can be equally viewed and used on any device: PC, mobile phone, or tablet, without the user needing to scroll horizontally has been responsively designed. See these blog posts on writing for responsive design and responsive web design: a case study.

Welcome and closing pages

Only include essential information on the welcome and closing pages. This includes information respondents need to know on beginning and completing the questionnaire:

  • The welcome page should include the title of the survey, a brief description of its purpose and instructions on how to answer the questionnaire including contact details for help or information.
  • The welcome page should also include the appropriate privacy statements. Different privacy conditions will apply for personal responses and for responses on behalf of an organisation, business or agency, so the appropriate information needs to be included.

How this information will be used

  • Appropriate statement of exactly how and where this information will be used and what influence it will have on the eventual outcome if possible.
  • The welcome page should also be the place for respondents to login if necessary.
  • The closing page should briefly note that respondents have finished and thank the respondents for answering the questionnaire. If possible, include a link on the closing page to next steps or for subsequent information.

Page layout

Arrange the page with consistent layout. Ensure compliance with the Government Web Accessibility and Usability Standards.

  • The banner pane, content pane, and navigation buttons should be placed in the same location on each page.
  • The banner pane should be at the top of the screen. These panes should include the questionnaire title and progress bar.
  • The content pane containing questions, instructions and response options (or information in the welcome and closing pages) should be in the centre of the screen.

Navigation buttons should be displayed horizontally at the bottom of the screen where they are not visually dominant.

  • Include a 'back' button so respondents can review and change answers if necessary.
  • Place the 'back' button on the left. The 'next' button should be placed on the right.

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