Understanding HCI


What is a Questionnaire?

  1. often the default choice, but think first
  2. need very careful design and piloting
  3. closed questions / rating scale - easy to analyse
  4. open-ended questions - harder to analyse & richer information

Types of questions


is Dreamweaver easy to learn?
yes / no

Closed-ended and rated questions


  • Quick for user to answer
  • Easy for analyst to code
  • User does not need to be particularly articulate


  • Limit to potential answers
  • Possible bias
  • May miss important details

rating scale

how easy is it to use Dreamweaver?
very easy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 very difficult


What was the easiest part of learning Dreamweaver?
Write your answer in the box below.



Open-ended questions


  • Liklihood of bias is lessened
  • Fuller, more comprehensive responses


  • Much more difficult to analyse in terms of
    • time needed
    • range of responses
  • Possible to classify response incorrectly

Dealing with Problem Questions

Leading Questions

Take care to ensure that questions are not 'leading'. Leading questions have built in assumptions. Examples of leading questions include:

  • How much will prices go up next year?
  • When did you stop hitting your wife?

Sensitive questions

Many people have areas they do not like to reveal too much information on. Common examples include age, salary, medical history, personal history etc. These questions should best be asked as a set of ranged multi choice answers, so that the exact answer does not have to be revealed.

What age are you?

  • 17 or less
  • 18-30
  • 31-45
  • 46-65
  • 66 or more

Why Use it?

Questionairres may naturally form part of a structured interview. But they can also be given out filled out by the users indpendently of the presence of the expert. This may make it cheap and easy to gain large amounts of information

Limitations Of method

Questionnaires require testing before release and statistical verification and analysis, and therefore can be unwieldy.

Exercise - Question Design

Rewrite the leading questions below so that they are not presumptive.

  • How much will prices go up next year?
  • When did you stop hitting your wife?
  • What is the restocking charge?
  • When did you stop getting spots?
  • How much was your face lift?

For each item, design an open question, a closed question and a ranged question to get the following information.

  1. Salary
  2. Country of birth
  3. Favourite flavour ice-cream
  4. Mobile phone usage