I have an Assessment Form (located here) which has got 70+ questions and seventeen steps to complete it which is a tedious job and respondent can easlity lose the patience.

All the question has only one Answer (Radio button only). Being that said, I want to modify the Form UX and planning to Group similar questions and use checkmarks so as to reduce the number of questions.

Screen shot of step 1 of 17 in the survey

I am also thinking about having steps available on Left hand side so that it shows related Form with scroll may be. Here's a wireframe to make my thoughts more clear.

Wireframe of grouped questions with progress sidebar

Do you think this will improve the usability of the survey and contribute to a higher completion rate?

  • A few questions for you: (1) What do the icons in the navigation represent? Right now, they don't really make much sense to me. (2) Are the section titles going to remain as "Stage 1, 2, etc..." or will they be more like category labels which group related questions? (3) What do the downward-pointing triangles before each of your questions represent? If there's no functionality behind it, I would lose them for the sake of removing clutter from a task that will already risk overwhelming the user (filling out 70+ questions). Aug 9, 2016 at 14:43
  • The screenshot that I have shared (prnt.sc/c3jnuk) is just a dummy to make my thoughs more clear. Please have a look on the form ngo-academy.org/online-ngo-assessment-tool to get better idea of current functionality Thanjs!
    – Sheryl
    Aug 9, 2016 at 15:00
  • too complex. a survey should be short and simple. the number of items are outrageous. other than completion rate, you would also face challenge of veracity. would simply start revisiting those questions by reducing the numbers - ranking them by priority and by impact.
    – jonT
    Aug 9, 2016 at 17:52
  • Great suggestion @jonT
    – Sheryl
    Aug 10, 2016 at 5:58

4 Answers 4


The form may be complex, but some tasks are indeed complex too. What isn't clear is whether the current complexity of the form is well suited to the problem or need. The trick is to get the right level of complexity for the task at hand. Applying for a mortgage is a lot more complex than signing up for a facebook account, and therefore requires a more complex form.

You mention that respondents can easily lose patience with the form. Can I ask if this has been determined through usability studies? If not, performing a usability study is one of the best ways of finding out what issues exist when it comes to forms.

One possible enhancement is to phrase the questions differently. For instance, many of the responses seem to follow a scale. One way of phrasing these types of questions is by using a Likert scale, which starts off with a statement, then asking the user to choose a response ranging from 'strongly disagree' to 'strongly agree'.


For instance, question 3 on step 2 could be changed from:

'How well is the NGO performing technically in comparison with other NGOs?'


'The NGO is performing well technically against other NGOs'

then using a Likert scale as the response mechanism.

Of course, I would strongly encourage you to find representative users of the form and recruit them for a usability study. Nothing beats user feedback as a way of testing and validating design decisions.

  • Thanks for the insights! I haven't got Usability Studies done for the Form, I will consider this. Using Likert Scale for questions is also a good idea!
    – Sheryl
    Aug 10, 2016 at 6:02

You might explore some of the writings of Caroline Jarrett (https://twitter.com/cjforms), something of The Queen of Forms: http://www.formsthatwork.com

  • Great resources!
    – Sheryl
    Aug 14, 2016 at 17:10

I think your problem is bigger than groupings and checkmarks.

Step one would be to give the form a hard edit. Shorten it as much as possible. Look closely at each question and evaluate whether its answer provides you any benefit. Will a change in responses to this question result in a change in your organization? Also look at whether the questions are vague or open to interpretation. (I saw some that are.) Those are the ones where the answers don't accurately reflect the users' true thoughts.

The longer a form is, the more likely the user will get interrupted midway through. So it's very important that you save the user's answers on each page and allow them to complete the form later. This will require some technical mumbo-jumbo or a registration. It will also require that you remind users of the form's unfinished state and provide some sort of enticement for them to come back and finish.


What problems are you trying to solve here? This should be the first thought when designing a form like this. Are the 70 questions necessary? If they are I'd recommend providing a timeframe for the user. So they know how much time the questionnaire will take to compete. If my employer asked me to complete a 70 question survey I might ignore it.

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