Let's say you want to redesign a website that is being used by thousands of people for the last few years. To do so, you need to collect data about how people use this particular website and you decide that your first step in understanding user behavior is to use an online survey.

What exactly should you be asking when you don't have any hypothesis to test? When don't have previous data, you're not aware of usability problems and when you just need to collect as much data as possible about user behavior? What questions should you ask in such situations?

2 Answers 2


First of all, you usually don't redesign a website just for fun, someone made the decision to redesign the website so the first step would be to ask this person and/or this team:

why do we need to redesign the website? What are our/your goals? What do we want to achieve?

After the business goals and possible improvements are clear you can start to ask your customers if they have the same issues or completely other issues.

Then you need to cluster different categories and get general insights since no one wants to take part of a survey that takes ages to complete.

So instead of "Do you understand what the meaning of every element in section 1 is?" you could write questions like:

"All elements seem clear and understandable" and make the users rate how accurate this is from 1-10 for example.

The aim should be to gather general data and give you something to work on, you can validate your work with future surveys.

Also i would recommend you to use tracking software like hotjar, luckyorange etc. to gather more data before starting the redesign. Its relatively cheap and gives you great insights.


Why dit you choose the survey method? Never start with choosing the method before you know what you want the outcome to be.

In this kind of explorative research you don't need a concrete hypothesis to test because your first goal is to get to know the user.

The first step is to collect all information and statistics you can get without bothering the user (analytics, newsletter subscriptions, profile settings e.g.). With this information you can create a very basic profile of your visitors. In the next step you cold use a survey to fill in all the blancs you have about the users (their daily habits, surroundings, preferences, education, etc.).

As soon as you have a clear image of who your user is you can create personas. I recommend creating Personas of the most extreme characters so you can testrun your projects with the most extreme settings (use scenarios of different kinds of interactions).

To get concrete UX feedback I would recommend combining A/B testing, heat maps and direct user testing where you invite users, give them user scenarios to run through and ask them to speak up what they are thinking. With the previous research you can exactly determine if the testperson is a typical example of the user group.

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