Think Outside (and Inside) the Box

We all know you need to ask the right questions, but are you using The Perfect Question Type? It’s not a mythical creature — it really does exist. All you need is a little creative thinking (clearly!) and a good understanding of the options.

The good news (and bad news?) is that there are lots of question types, so you do have some decisions to make. There’s a different Perfect Question Type for every question, so choose wisely!

Let’s take a look at one very common question type: the Text Box. The Text Box question allows your participants to respond to an open-ended question. This is a really great question type for several reasons.

First and foremost, it gives the survey-taker an opportunity to share feedback without being stuck with a few pre-determined options that may or may not apply. When you provide a text box question,you’re offering freedom. In other words, you’re not only giving them a chance to express their true opinions but providing them with the space to respond as candidly as they feel comfortable.

Secondly, the height and width of the text box can be adjusted and the character count can be changed to accommodate a maximum of 2,000 characters per question. That’s a good chunk of space! This is important because it indicates to the participant how long (or short) of an answer you’re anticipating.

For example, this short text box asks for your email address:

Blog 9-14 Short Text Box




This longer text box asks for some suggestions and expects that you’ll have something longer to write:

Text Box - Long Answer

Lastly, think about what goes inside the box by customizing the type of answer allowed by choosing one of the following formats:

General: This format allows the participant to enter any type of text. 

Currency: This format required the participant to enter a number within a range that you set. You can choose to apply a currency symbol by selecting the check box and choosing a currency from the dropdown menu.

Email: This format required the participant to enter valid email addresses that have an @ sign and a period. You can also select the check box to have users enter their address twice for validation.

Phone number: This format required the participant to enter exactly 10 digits.

Number: This format requires the participant to enter a valid number. You can also set a range to limit answer options between a highest and lowest value.

Percentage: This format required the participant to enter a valid number. You can also restrict answers to be within a given range, or choose to apply a percentage symbol with the check box provided.

Social Security Number: This format required the participant to enter a series of numbers in the ###-##-#### format.

U.S. ZIP Code: This format requires the participant to enter exactly five digits.

U.S. ZIP Code + 4: This format requires the participant to enter exactly nine digits.

Custom: This option allows you to create a custom format for the text box. Enter ‘#’ for numbers and ‘@’ for alphabetic characters.

Multiple Text Box: Useful when the participant is answering several related, open-ended questions. For example, “First Name” and “Last Name”.

Date questions: Useful when the participant is choosing a date in response to a question. You can customize the format in which the date will appear, as well as a default date.

As you can tell, the Text Box question type gives you a lot of flexibility for how you collect different types of data. But don’t be afraid to think outside the (Text) Box — it’s not ideal for every situation! So, keep your eyes open. You do have lots of options, but only you can choose The Perfect Question Type for you.