How often do you see a news story about a website survey? Or a survey that is the subject of tweets (and re-tweets)?
Ford Foundation’s Un-Survey turned the traditional online survey on its ear by asking website visitors to pose questions to the foundation rather than the other way around.
Durable helped Ford Foundation create the Un-Survey. (To be fair, we wish it was our idea, but to our credit, we did tell Bob Pullin of Ford Foundation it was a great idea the moment we heard it!) We also handled UX design and technical development and we are are working with Ford Foundation on recommendations based on the results.
No one could have predicted the enthusiasm for the Un-Survey. Over 125 questions—the vast majority remarkably thoughtful—were posed to Ford Foundation on the subject of the planned redesign of the Ford Foundation website. These questions, taken as a whole, revealed core topics website visitors want to learn more about as well as the nature and breadth of the information they seek.
Not all organizations can make use of this research technique. It seems particularly well-suited for areas like philanthropy where the sector as a whole could learn from the findings.
At Durable we’ve been doing primary research for many years, and as response rates drop while incentives increase, we have become warier of traditional online surveys. Perhaps the broader lesson from Ford Foundation's Un-Survey is that it’s time to radically re-think some online surveys and create new ways to learn from audiences in quick and engaging ways.
Maybe we should ask ourselves, "Would anyone tweet this survey?"