An engaging and informative introduction page is one of the most crucial aspects of questionnaire design, yet often one of the most neglected. A quality introduction is often the deciding factor in whether a participant goes on to complete the questionnaire or clicks off to another website.
Just as you would greet a customer who comes through the door of your store, the introductory page should be clear and welcoming if you want to encourage maximum participation and avoid abandoned or partial responses. The purpose of an introductory or questionnaire welcome page is two-fold - firstly it should answer any questions the participant may have about the nature and format of the online questionnaire, and secondly it should drive the call to action, which in this case is completion of the survey.
Unless there is an attractive and obvious incentive for completing a survey, most participants have a cautious approach to surveys and market research. It is essential then to gain a degree of trust from the participant, and to make them feel as if you value their opinions enough for them to want to participate. Consumers generally approach a survey with three major questions in mind - "who" "what" and "how".
It is important to let potential participants know who is running the survey and also a little about your company if you are not a well-known brand. There is no need to write a company biography but a couple of lines explaining who you are and the line of business you are in will suffice. Always include a purpose for the survey within a questionnaire welcome page even if it is just a generic reason such as improving goods and services, and if there is an incentive for completing the survey ensure that is clearly displayed. Offering an incentive to complete a survey, even if it's just entry into a free prize draw can significantly decrease your abandonment and partial response rates.
This relates to what you intend to do with the data collected and the confidentiality of the participants responses. Identify any personal information that will be collected (if any) and whether it will be shared with any other third parties. Will data be stored for later use or is it purely for the purpose of the online survey? Most consumers are extremely concerned about the security of their personal data and a little reassurance in this area can greatly enhance your response rates.
This relates to the methodology of the survey - how many questions are there and how much time will it take to complete. It is important to be as accurate as possible when estimating how much time the average person will take to complete a survey, nothing is guaranteed to frustrate participants more than a survey which asks for two minutes of their time and takes half an hour to complete. Also participants may be interested in the format the survey takes - are there multiple choice questions or will they need to write responses in themselves.
A carefully crafted introduction page can increase survey response rates up to ten fold. It pays then to take a little extra time to ensure your welcome page is an effective as possible. Your goal should be to encourage maximum participation and minimise partial and abandoned responses, and of course never forget to thank your respondents for their participation!
Check out our sample surveys section to see some examples of welcome pages and introductions on surveys.