Offline surveys: How to collect data anywhere

Having to maintain an internet connection can sometimes make it difficult to collect survey responses from your target market. Whether you’re doing field surveys or market research, offline surveys are a great solution that allow you to move around untethered and gather important data from respondents. Plus, you can manage these forms from any device. 

Offline surveys: How they work

No Wi-Fi? No problem. Offline surveys make it easy to collect data in any location.

Offline surveys are usually distributed with one of these methods:

  1. Paper-based surveys. Just print the survey on paper and pass out copies to respondents to fill out with a pen or pencil.
  2. Offline digital surveys. You can create a digital survey and use the tool offline to collect answers. When you reconnect to the internet, the information syncs with your database.

While paper surveys are useful at times, they do have some notable drawbacks. Not only do they cost money to print, but they take a lot of time and effort — you have to distribute the surveys, collect them, and manually enter the responses into an online system for analysis.

The benefits of offline digital surveys

Are offline surveys right for your organization and audience? Here are a few benefits you’ll enjoy when you use an offline survey instead of another data-collection method:

  • Eliminate paperwork and filing. Using paper surveys requires you to keep up with all of the data entry and endless stacks of paperwork. Using a digital form eliminates the need to deal with hard copies.
  • Gain a flexible way to collect data. An offline survey form doesn’t require you to stay connected to the internet. You can take a device anywhere you want, making it easy to collect information in the field.
  • Expand audience reach. Without location limitations, you can collect responses from a broader audience.
  • Get immediate responses from participants. With offline surveys, you can capture participant responses in the middle of an event. When people are excited, it’s easy to find participants who are willing to offer a few minutes of their time to fill out a survey form.
  • Increase the quality of survey responses. The quality of survey responses improves when people respond promptly. When an event is still fresh in people’s minds, it’s easier for them to respond to your questions.

Offline data collection helps you to be nimble in your response gathering. And it enables you to efficiently analyze responses when you reconnect to the internet.

Best practices for mobile forms

Creating an offline survey is similar to creating an online survey. Always be clear about your objectives so you can gather relevant data to meet your overarching goals. Here are a few other tips to ensure the success of your offline survey:

  • Keep it brief and simple. Always keep the questions short and simple to limit the amount of time it takes for participants to fill out the form. Try to keep the required response time under five minutes.
  • Keep it relevant. Ask only the most relevant questions so your respondents don’t lose interest. The survey completion rate drops when there are too many questions.
  • Format it appropriately. Use basic formatting. Too many tables and pictures can affect the form’s loading time and make the survey challenging to navigate.
  • Pose the right questions. Avoid using open-ended questions that require respondents to type free-form answers. Instead, stick with quantifiable data using checkboxes and radio buttons.

Creating an offline survey using Jotform

Jotform makes it easy to create a survey form to take anywhere you go. The user-friendly interface offers over 500 customizable survey templates you can adjust to match your preferences. 

Alternatively, you can create a survey from scratch. A full range of customization options are at your fingertips, including branding, different types of questions and form structures, and more.

These mobile forms integrate with Jotform Tables for data analysis. You can easily gather field survey responses, and they will automatically upload when you connect online after the event.

Jotform surveys also come with powerful advanced features to meet your unique needs:

  • Barcode/QR code scanning
  • Photo integration
  • Signature collection
  • Geolocation services
  • Voice recordings
  • Freehand drawing
  • Task assignments 
  • Form activity tracking
  • Feedback sharing 
  • Customizable notifications

Jotform Mobile Forms allows you to create and edit forms from any location and on any device, including a tablet or phone. Check out this guide to see the many ways mobile forms can help in a variety of industries and organizations.

AUTHOR
Data collection analyst. Seeing life in 1's and 0's. Can't resist to a good cup of coffee. You can reach Quentin through his contact form.

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