Open-Ended Questions in Mobile Surveys

Pros and Cons of Open-ended Questions in Mobile Surveys

Free-Form or Open-ended Questions allow participants to answer questions or respond to stimulus – in their own words. They are effective at capturing unknown issues or needs, assessing feelings or attitudes, or uncovering a users awareness about a particular subject as their survey responses aren’t prompted by a pre-determined set of answers.

These qualitative-type questions are good for capturing unfiltered users sentiment, however they have some drawbacks as well. First, analysis is difficult as the responses are unstructured and it can be hard to identify patterns. There is the potential for off-topic answers, or responses that have no relevance or provide little insight. And finally, the user may elect to skip the question with a response of N/A, or end the survey altogether.


In summary:

  • Great for uncovering a respondents reaction, assessing feelings, or uncovering more information
  • Have the potential for extremely short, or extremely long answers, or even off-topic responses
  • Difficult to quantify or analyze for patterns


What to consider when designing a mobile survey?

Since most mobile users prefer simple gestures that can be performed with one hand, open-ended questions require a little more engagement, since the user must type responses.

Limit the number of open-ended questions you ask in a survey, as too many may discourage the user from answering honestly, or from finishing the survey in its entirety.

Also consider injecting different types of questions so as to avoid participants falling into a response pattern, and keep their engagement levels up.