Navigational Issues in the Design of On-Line Self-Administered Questionnaires
Norman, Kent L.
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Answering questions on surveys involves the access of internal cognitive knowledge structures, the retrieval of records from external data-bases, and the navigation of items on the computer interface. In this study a number of alternative designs for on-line questionnaire presentation were investigated. A long heterogeneous survey was partitioned in four ways: whole/form-based, semantic/section-based, screen/page-based, and single item-based. Questionnaires were presented with or without an index which resulted in eight versions. Times for initial completion of the questionnaire were recorded as well as subjective assessments. Neither initial completion times nor subjective assessments differed among the eight versions due to the highly linear navigation of the survey structures. Respondents were also asked to revisit 16 questions based on only the topic of the question or on the topic and the question number and to change their answers. Revision times reflected ease of finding items in the structure of the survey and the use of an index to the sections of the questionnaire.