Typographic Cueing Facilitates Survey Completion on Smartphones in Older Adults
As more people use mobile devices to complete Web surveys, it is critical to verify that current Web survey design practices carry over to mobile Web. One such practice is to bold the question to draw attention to the start of each question and to italicize instructions to facilitate filtering of potentially unneeded information. We conducted a laboratory experiment to investigate whether the common Web survey design practice of utilizing typographic cues to indicate different categories of
... t categories of question text is beneficial for surveys designed for smartphones. Thirty participants completed a 5-question survey on an iPhone. Each participant was randomly assigned to one of the four designs: (1) bolded questions and italicized instructions, (2) bolded questions and plain instructions, (3) plain questions and italicized instructions, (4) plain questions and plain instructions. Survey performance was measured with survey completion time, difficulty rating, and preference. We found that italicizing the instructions led to shorter completion times, while bolded questions had no effect on performance. All designs were rated easy to use. The designs with bolded questions were preferred by 83% of the participants. We argue that italicized instructions assist in visual filtering by providing a cue to respondents that they may not need to read the instructions in detail but may scan or skim the instructions instead. Scanning or skimming leads to shorter completion time without detriment to accuracy because respondents can still acquire the relevant instructions.