What VOC Isn’t

Now that we’ve addressed some of the things VOC tries to do, let’s look at some things it isn’t.

Many of the criticisms leveled at VOC—that it’s unscientific or doesn’t yield insights that can be applied to all visitors—aren’t really fair. VOC doesn’t make these claims, but many web operators who’ve misused VOC give it a bad name.

Here’s what VOC never set out to be.

It’s Not a Substitute for Other Forms of Collection

VOC is not an excuse to abandon all other forms of collection. In many cases, VOC surveys ask visitors questions that are unnecessary, because the answers can be found elsewhere. This is a sign that an organization’s web monitoring tools are siloed: the people who know about performance aren’t talking to the folks who run analytics, who in turn aren’t sharing data with the people in usability.

Unnecessary questions reduce survey completion rates because the longer a VOC survey is, the more likely people are to abandon it rather than giving you the insights you need. So if you can get an answer somewhere else, don’t waste your respondents’ time—they’ll only give you three to five minutes of it.

It’s Not Representative of Your User Base

Perhaps the biggest criticism leveled at visitor surveys is their sampling bias. It’s true that only a certain kind of visitor will respond to a survey, however good the invitation. While larger samples can mitigate sampling error, the answers you get still won’t be representative of your user base. You’re less likely to get responses ...

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