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In your experience, what are the most important questions to ask in a survey for a product redesign?

Direct interaction with users is prohibited by my organization, but I have been allowed to conduct a simple survey by email to identify usability issues. I'm pretty early in the process, so there's still a lot of room for things to evolve.

I remember reading something about this, but I can't remember where or find anything in my notes. (About face? Card Sorting?)

I would like to keep things short; probably < 10 questions. What have you found to be most useful?

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3 Answers

The list of questions would depend on the product but here are a few general question ideas.

  1. How did you learn about product X? Why did you decide to use product X?
  2. What were your goals when you started using product X? Did product X meet your expectations related to these goals?
  3. What are the the most frequent tasks you do using product X? Explain how you do these tasks (step by step)
  4. What other products do you use to accomplish similar tasks and why?
  5. When you are using product X, do you find anything frustrating that you wish was easier/different?
  6. Is there anything that you wish product X allowed you to do that it doesn't allow now?
  7. What comes to mind when you think about product X (how would you describe it to a friend)?
  8. What do you like the most/least about product X?

You may find this book useful

The User Is Always Right: A Practical Guide to Creating and Using Personas for the Web

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+1 for a useful list. Have you used these in practice? –  Loren Rogers Oct 5 '12 at 1:11
    
Yes, we used many of the questions for the carrier support site redesign. I think it's very important to get the most important user tasks right because that could drive the architecture. Which other products users use is also important because it reveals some opportunities for your product and holes in functionality. –  Anna Rouben Oct 5 '12 at 17:16
    
@AnnaRouben - Most of these seem like open-ended questions to me. How do you analyze the results to these surveys quickly (or do you just allow a lot of time for analysis)? Do you provide any closed-ended, preset responses? –  David Jan 22 '13 at 23:36
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I am working on a school project on redesigning the MyeBay page. To analyze the user experience, I did the following survey.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDZzS0VLXzNHb2RvR2NUa2lPMjA5OXc6MQ#gid=0

This is my first user research survey and I am not sure if these are the right questions to ask. But it did help me get started and I found the data very useful.

(I know its too specific to an e-commerce site, but could give you an idea.)

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+1 for real-world use. –  Loren Rogers Oct 5 '12 at 13:55
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I am a professional survey writer and analyst. "Analyst" means that I analyze competitor's survey to create the best questionnaire for my current customer. While writing a survey, please remember about an introduction (explain who you are, why you need this kind of information and how you will use it) and about a "thank you" part. Also, do not forget about asking question that will help you to identify how are your customers.

Questions you may use (the most frequently used by my customers):

  1. How did you find us and what attracted you to choose our product? ?
  2. How do you use you use our product?
  3. How often do you use our product?
  4. Why did you choose our product over other solutions? Price Design Customer support Features Other, please specify
  5. Please rate your satisfaction (very satisfied, satisfied, neutral, dissatisfied, very dissatisfied) on the following items: Customer support
    Features
    Design
    Ease of use

  6. What do you value most in our product?

  7. Are you somehow dissatisfied with our product? What do you like least?
  8. Would you recommend our product to a friend?

  9. What is the single most important feature or improvement you would like to see in our product?

  10. Regarding the visual redesign and usability improvements, do you have any ideas or suggestions on how the new product should look like?

  11. What kind of improvement of a feature would attract you to use our product more often?

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This is a good suggestion. On this site, we like to see people's justifications and sources. Is there anything you could add to your question to explain why you chose these particular questions, what alternatives you rejected, and/or how you settled on this phrasing? The aim isn't just to write the OP's survey for him, but to help him understand how to come up with his own questions. –  Dan Hulme Jul 9 '13 at 10:03
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