Measuring the User Experience

Creating an Online Study with SurveyGizmo

by Tom Tullis
Originally posted June 24, 2009

As described in my UPA 2009 talk, Rolling Your Own Online Usability Study [PowerPoint slides], it's possible to create an online usability study using an online survey tool. Here is a link to a demonstration of such a study. In fact, if you don't need to collect task time data, you can use just about any online survey tool. However, if you want to collect task time data, the only free tool I'm aware of that will capture time data is SurveyGizmo.

Here's a step-by-step guide to starting an online study in SurveyGizmo by copying one that I already created. (You might want to print this page.)

Go to SurveyGizmo using this link to register with them and start your survey:
(The "?ap=25018" on the end of that address identifies my account with SurveyGizmo and allows you to copy my study as a template.)

You will then see a page that looks like this:

Be sure that the address at the top says "".

Click on the big orange button that says "design a survey now". That will take you to a screen to register with SurveyGizmo:

Fill in your name & email address and choose a password. You can leave the type of account as "Free". The main limitation of a free account is that you can't have more than 250 respondents to your surveys in a month.

After you fill in the information and agree to their terms, click on the "create your account" button. That will take you to the homepage, where you can then login. You will then see your "dashboard", which should look something like this:

Click on the link to "Create your first survey". That will take you to this page:

Enter a title for your survey and click on the radio button for "Start with canned template survey". That will then display a bunch of templates you can copy, one of which is mine:

If you scroll down in the canned templates, you will see a section that says "Usability" and under it an item for "Online Usability Study". Click on that and then click on the radio button below the list that says "Online Usability Study - Tom Tullis Seminar Survey". Then click the "Create Survey > Add Questions" button.

That will take you to the Survey Editor with my online study pre-filled:

Note that this is your copy of the study at this point. Make any changes you want to it. The changes will not affect my template.

This sample online study has a total of 26 questions in it:

You can make any changes to any of this that you want. Obviously it's set up so that you can simply change the tasks to your own tasks. It's easy to copy or delete pages if you need to.

From there, it's a matter of previewing, testing, and launching your study. If you're satisfied with asking the participants to manage the windows of the study themselves, then you're done.

On the other hand, if you want to get a bit fancier and open the appropriate windows for the participant, you will need to create a "launch" page similar to this one:

You can go to that page and choose "View Source" in your browser to copy the source code for that page. Then near the bottom of that code, where it says "OnClick=OpenWindows", you will need to replace the two URLs that are there with the two URLs of your study:

Of course, you will have to host that "launch" page somewhere, on a web host. There are plenty of free or cheap web hosting services available. Just make sure the one you pick allows for the pages to execute JavaScript since that's what this page uses to launch the two windows of the online study.

Any questions, feel free to email me.

Comments? Contact

Measuring UX Homepage