New feature for Questions: Logic

Groks stand beside a screenshot of a survey in Questions. There is an illustration of branching logic with an arrow pointing to the survey screenshot.

Summary: We’ve just added an exciting new feature to Questions – survey logic. Learn what it is, why it’s useful and how we implemented it.

Questions is an online survey tool that was built to make creating surveys as easy as possible. Since we launched it, we’ve seen thousands of studies launched in dozens of different languages.

While we’ve been hard at work on Reframer over the past few months, we wanted to give some time, love and care to Questions and add a much-requested feature – logic.

Before you dive in and start playing around with this new feature, we thought it’d be a good idea to take a look at what logic is, what it means for Questions and how we developed and implemented it.

What is logic?

It goes by many names (which we’ll cover below), but it’s basically a feature that changes the question or page a survey participant sees next based on how they answer the current question.

Imagine you’re a confectionery company and you’re about to launch 2 new products. You want to know whether the new chocolate bar or the new protein bar will be the bigger seller. In a survey, you could use logic to first determine which product people are most likely to buy, and then ask them relevant questions about their choice.

Before we introduced logic, our tool could only display questions to participants in chronological order. This meant that there was the potential for wasted questions if participants couldn’t provide an answer (maybe they didn’t want to buy a protein bar). Adding logic to our tool means you can present participants with only the questions that they need to answer, which ultimately leads to a better experience.

Bringing logic to Questions

As we mentioned in the previous section, logic doesn’t have a consistent standard. This posed a problem for us when we decided we wanted to implement logic in Questions. Which type of logic should we use?

All logic concepts fall into one of the following 3 categories. Note that these aren’t actually real names, we just made them up for context. All of these forms are logically consistent, meaning that if you’re able to set up a study in one of these formats you can set up one in all of them. Although some are less user-friendly than others.

Skip logic: You can set your study up so specific answers skip portions of the survey and jump forward to later questions. It’s the simplest form of logic and usually only applies to multiple choice or drop-down questions.

A screenshot of Google Forms.Skip logic in Google Forms.

 

Display logic: Specific answers can reveal relevant sections or paths. This allows you to set up multiple paths for a participant to go down.

A screenshot of Typeform's survey builder.
Using Typeform to build a survey with display logic.
 

Complex logic: This is a mixture of display and skip logic, but includes a number of more complicated logical statements like conjunction, implication, negation and biconditional. Although this gives you more freedom, it’s much more complicated – especially if you don’t have much experience with the approach.

A screenshot of SurveyMonkey's survey builder.
Setting up a survey with complex logic in SurveyMonkey.
 

Choosing a logic approach

Before we designed logic for Questions, the tool could only display a single page of questions – something that cannot work with the idea of logic. After all, with just a single page, how would you show and hide relevant questions from users?

A screenshot of Questions prior to branching logic.
What Questions looked like prior to implementing logic.
 

If we wanted to implement any form of logic, we’d need to consider the view our participants have. This meant either treating the page as a skippable element or the questions themselves – you can’t have logic with a single form.

With all of this in mind, we decided on skip logic. There are several benefits:

  • Participants understand what you’re asking them to do
  • They can focus on the specific question and its answer
  • It’s easy for them to find their way through an unfamiliar process
  • It works well on mobile
  • Participants can recover easily from form errors.

Here’s what it looks like in Questions:

A GIF of logic in Questions from the researcher's point of view.
Researcher view.

 

The user view of Questions with branching logic.
User view.
 

4 benefits of logic in Questions

Logic opens up a number of possibilities in Questions – quite literally. By introducing this functionality, you can now use our tool to create tailored, useful and relevant surveys. Here are the main benefits of logic in Questions:

  • Conduct short and crisp surveys – Reduce the time it takes to analyze your survey findings by collecting only relevant information.
  • Match your questions to the survey participants
 – Don’t force your participants to answer questions that aren’t relevant to them.
  • Increase the chance of survey completion
 – As participants will only need to answer the questions that are relevant to them, you’ll see more participants completing surveys instead of abandoning them.
  • Use one survey to gather a variety of information – Instead of needing to set up multiple surveys to gather all of the data you need, use logic to branch people off to answer the questions that you need them to answer.

The right tools for your research question

Effective user research means using the right tools to answer different research questions. The insights you’re able to pull from a card sort, tree test, user interview, survey or first-click test can be that much more useful when using tools that are specifically designed to improve the quality of the data going in – and the analysis that comes out.

We’re constantly tweaking, refining and adding new features to our suite of tools. Stay tuned to learn about what else we’ve been working on.

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Published on May 23, 2019
David Renwick
  • David Renwick
  • David is one of Optimal Workshop's content people. You can usually find him alongside Bowie, the office dog.

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