Online surveys – an overview

Online survey builder tools enable companies and organisations to create forms that they can send to their audiences to get feedback, opinions and insights.

These platforms allow you to design the structure and questions on a form which they host for you, and collect responses for you to download and review. These can be a simple set of multiple-choice questions, or complex forms with a combination of response types and different possible streams of questions based on your participants’ answers. They could be pop-ups on your website, forms that you can ‘embed’ on your website, or could link off to a separate page hosted by the platform.

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Uses | Common platforms | Things to be aware of | Examples | Support Links

Some platforms can be integrated with your mailing list, or other platforms you use. For instance, if you use a popular email newsletter platform (such as Mailchimp) you could ask participants whether they would like to subscribe to your mailing list in your survey, and those who say yes will be automatically added to your email newsletter.


Finding out more about your online visitors and their behaviours:

You might want to use a survey on your website to ask your online visitors why they visited your site today and if they found what they were looking for easily – this could help you shape your website content and improve the users’ journey through it. You could ask them where they’re based, if they’ve visited the museum in person before, and if they’re planning a trip soon.


You might like to ask your website visitors for their opinion on your venue or website. Using an online survey you could ask for constructive feedback, for example if there are any improvements that your visitors would like to see.

In situ:

Just because you’re creating an online survey doesn’t mean the visitor has to be at home to fill it in. You could use tablets, smartphones or computers to gather responses from your visitors while they’re at your museum. This could help you collect a greater range of responses, as visitors may want to share their opinions when their visit is fresh in the mind, and they might not necessarily plan to visit your website or subscribe to your emails afterwards.

Common Platforms

Google Forms – Google Forms are free to use and have a range of templates available. The form editor is straightforward and there are plenty of question types to choose from. All of your changes are saved online, and you will need a Google account to use the app.

Survey Monkey – Survey Monkey is the world’s most popular online survey software and has a large number of templates and example questions approved by survey experts. While there is a free plan you will need to pay a monthly subscription if you want to ask more than 10 questions per survey, collect more than 100 responses, and be able to print, export and create charts of your responses.

Typeform – Typeform allows you to create more attractive forms with more personality, which might make your visitors more likely to want to complete them. There are a variety of templates for different types of forms, and it is designed to be very user-friendly. Again, you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription to unlock most of the features, including adding more than 10 questions and collecting more than 100 responses.

Qualaroo – This allows you to place a simple pop-up survey message on your website. There is a 14 day free trial, but you will need to pay a monthly subscription if you want to continue using the service afterwards.

Things to be aware of

To help your organisation pick the right survey tool, it’s a good idea to read the reviews, ask others’ opinions, and take advantage of the free trial versions that are available before you commit to a paid plan. Looking into the cost, complexity and available features will ensure you can choose the best platform for your needs and abilities. For example, if you know that a lot of your audience is likely to be using mobile rather than desktop, it’s worth checking the best platforms to create mobile-responsive surveys on.

Many online survey platforms offer a free level of use which gives you access to the platform and enables you to create a basic form, which may be all you need. However, these often come with restrictions such as how many questions you can ask and how many responses you can collect. Usually, to be able to export your responses into a spreadsheet so that you can analyse your data, you will need to pay for a higher level subscription.

Survey platforms will allow you to add a variety of different response types to your form – these could be checkboxes, radio buttons, and free text. Questions with set answers such as checkboxes and radio buttons are easier to analyse, but trying to quantify data from a free text field can be tricky and time-consuming. However, to understand your participants’ valuable opinions, offering them the opportunity to write free text will give you their thoughts in their own words.

Creating forms can get quite complicated – many platforms allow you to use skip logic, which means that you can control which question a participant sees based on their previous answer(s). Creating a well-structured form which asks all the questions you need in a clear and concise way for your participant takes time – and will always need thorough testing before you invite responses from the public.

Allow sufficient time to analyse the data you collect – this will depend on what level of detail you’re asking of your participants.

To motivate visitors to fill in surveys many organisations offer an incentive, such as entry into a prize draw, for anyone who completes the survey. You might like to think about this for attracting more responses.


Support links – 7 Best Survey Tools: Create Awesome Surveys For Free! – Surveys 101: A Simple Guide to Asking Effective Questions