Understanding how users think is an essential part of UX design. We ask people for input in a variety of settings as part of the iterative process. But often one primary question can spawn a host of follow-ups, hypotheticals, and tangential queries in a quest for universal insight.
Usability experts understand the power of simplicity. A clean design and straightforward interface enhance the usability of any site. The same principles apply in gathering user feedback.
In a recent HBR Blog Network post, Michael Schrage asserts that we can Learn More by Asking Fewer Questions. “There’s a simple yet powerful technique for dramatically improving response. I’ve seen it work magic. Ask less.”
To illustrate, he calls our attention to an ultra-distilled format that results in millions of responses every day: Facebook’s “Like” button. It’s simple. One click, and you’re done. Because so little effort is required, the response rate is exceptional. We sacrifice information breadth for information depth.
Focusing on a few key improvements works well in the UX iteration process. Ask only the most critical questions. Leave the rest for another day. In the endless buffet of potential questions, we consume a small fraction of the collected data. A full analysis can lead to a laundry list of improvements and upgrades that never reach implementation. Narrowing the scope from the beginning accelerates progress toward an excellent user experience.
Before publishing a survey or executing a usability test, scrutinize whether each questions will bring you closer to your chief objective. Be concise. You’ll like the results.
Check out our UX principle on the importance of simplicity as well!