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4000 People Thinking: The and You Survey

May 28th, 2009 by Bob Crisler

In early spring of 2009, while sitting among boxes in UComm Internet and Interactive Media’s temporary storage-closet location while our new offices here at Wick were being completed, Seth Meranda and I began formulating a comprehensive survey of our website’s audiences. The survey was intended, as a first priority, to solicit feedback for the in-progress site redevelopment process, based on our 2006 survey instrument. At the same time, we’d ask the users who’d completed what we called the “Design Survey” to continue on to a longer survey to take the audience’s temperature on media use, preferences, etc., as related to use of the web generally and of in particular.

The “Design Survey” and “ and You” were programmed to move seamlessly from an internally-developed instrument to the LimeSurvey-based and You (thanks, Brett); users simply kept clicking through. The significant interest in the redesign process translated to a strong response to and You that we may not have been able to attract otherwise; nearly 4,000 people ended up completing both surveys.

Surveys of this type are not a “vote;” they’re an opportunity for users to provide input to, and influence, a group of professionals from across campus whose expertise lies in communication, visual design and user interface and interaction design. The survey was intended to provide focus to the final ‘leg’ of the journey from 50 designs to one … the distillation of best elements from three designs to one design over the span of a single month.

Qualitative results, especially, had to be interpreted, as there are almost as many conflicting opinions as there are opinions. It was the first order of business for the final design team to identify broad themes in the qualitative responses.

It was the job of the design committee to discuss, argue and implement (yes, in some cases also reject) those opinions. Whether or not a and You respondent sees a specific response to their issue in the final design, the feedback led to spirited debate and discussion that in all cases improved the final product. If you took the time and effort to provide feedback to us, thank you.

Design Quantitative
Design Qualitative and You

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