Online Research Company First Visit Checklist

Research which enables the improvement of website design, content and overall usability has proven  particularly valuable as the world’s  industries become more and more reliant on their websites  for financial success.

Online research surveys are an example of this type of research.  An invitation to participate in a survey is presented to a company’s website visitors.   The data produced by those who accept the invitation is especially valuable in that it comes direct from the company’s own customers or constituents.

Note: There are multiple avenues online to post questions to the site visitor; some are free or very inexpensive, and some, at the other end of the spectrum, are priced according to the value of their results. 

If your research initiatives include determining information such as:

  • customer satisfaction/dissatisfaction
  • visitor purpose when coming to the website
  • ease or difficulty of completing a multi-step transaction on the site
  • user suggestions for site improvement
  • customer expectations about what can be achieved on your website, etc.
  • likelihood of visitor to recommend the website to friends and colleagues
  • relative success or failure of each website visit,


you probably will want to contact a recognized expert in the field of online survey research.

You can speed the process along if you have the following questions answered before you meet with your online survey partner company.

1) Site traffic numbers (yearly averages, and daily unique visitors)

2) Point of contact for the survey building process in your company

3) How many stakeholders will need to be included in the process at your company

4) Target timeframes for launch of survey on the site,  length of data collection, and receipt of agreed upon deliverables.  Is there an event/deadline for when results of the survey need to be presented to company management?

5) Is your site entirely public, or are some parts secure?

6) How is a survey to be tested prior to launch on your site…do you have your own staging/testing environment, or is this handled for your company by an outside entity.  Can you supply the URL’s of the testing/staging environment?

7) Can you supply access to a ‘dummy’ or ‘test’ account (user name and password) for the research company for any ‘funnel’s such as online checkout process, travel reservations process, etc.

8) What sort of behavioral information do you wish to devise from the survey data collection?  Based on visiting some specific content on the site, on using a site tool, or site registration requirements?

9) Will you need  one final report, or more frequent interim reports/updates?

10) Can you supply look and feel information specific such as logo requirements, color ID numbers, fonts, etc

11) Is there a third party vendor who you will want to have access to certain parts of the data produced by your survey?  Are you ready to supply their requirements for merging the survey data with their reports to you?

12) Will there be privacy issues to be addressed with participants in the survey (is your company in the pharmaceutical arena, or some other industry where privacy issues are regulated by governmental agencies)?

13) Do you want your company employees to be blocked from the survey?

14) Is there a specific format you will need for the deliverables for the research (export of raw data collection, PowerPoint presentation, Tableau scorecards, etc.)?

If you arrive at your first meeting with your survey research partner with this information already prepared, you will be much more effective in moving the project along, and much closer to getting the data you want to enhance your company’s website!


–Pat Bentley, Project Manager, Online Experience Services


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