How to Ask Unbiased Questions in User Research

Maile Waite

User-focused services, products, and apps consistently outrank competitors that don’t focus as much time and resources into user research and neutral questions for user research.

Simply put, a design that accurately reflects the needs and wants of the end-user, results in better products, services, and internal processes. 

Considering how difficult it is for companies, products, and services to stand out from the rest of the competitors, implementing unbiased questions examples and methods will give you an upper hand. A primary element of a successful product or service is testing your product, service, or app with user research, and then ideating on the data to see if your service or product will meet a customer’s needs.

With the right set of unbiased survey questions and neutral questions for user research, you’ll get invaluable insight based on direct input and real user interaction. Keep reading to find out why user research is the key to success and the ultimate guide to unbiased survey questions and neutral questions for user research.

what is a neutral question?
Pinpoint the needs and wants of the end-user with unbiased survey questions.


Why ask unbiased questions?

User research is all about trial and error, which means it’s an ongoing process that may need several stages of revisions. It’s intended to find how usable your interface is, whether it meets its intended purpose, and if it’s user-friendly. 

Once you’ve designed your site or app, you need to expose it to the world, or at least expose it to a few users. Otherwise, how will you know it meets a user’s expectations? Simply put, you can’t! We’ll let you in on a little secret - the best designs are simple, consistent, and user-focused. Designing unbiased survey questions and neutral questions for user research encourages you to focus on the end-user that you’re designing for. 

To begin, it’s important to define the scope of your project, the objectives, and establish the metrics. Common metrics to evaluate include the time they take on a task, task performance, success rate, speed, goal fulfillment, expectation matching. Other metrics may be required, depending on the nature of your project.

unbiased questions examples
Neutral questions for user research focuses on the end-user that you’re designing for.


What is a neutral question?

Designing a product, service, or app that successfully achieves effectiveness, efficiency, and customer satisfaction is easier said than done! If you’re wondering what is a neutral question? And how do you form unbiased survey questions, ensure that what you’re asking does not lead the user to a specific answer and ensure it is not opinion-based.

It’s important to note when designers are working closely on a project, they may be too close to recognize what needs to be improved. The solution could be right in front of your eyes, but you might not be able to pinpoint it. User research allows designers to take a step back in order to measure the success or pain points real users experience. This technique focuses on what the users do, and not just what the users say. 

Tips and tricks for asking neutral questions for user research:

  • Ask your users to externalize thoughts and feelings while they interact with the prototype
  • Create a realistic environment where distractions are not eliminated
  • Takes structured and unstructured notes including what you see, hear, and the time they spend on a task
  • Make sure you record the session
  • Don’t explain or name specific buttons, elements or concepts
  • Don’t guide or help the participant perform the task
  • Remain objective throughout and avoid jumping to conclusions
  • Avoid leading words
  • Ask about one thing at a time
  • Ask fact-based questions
unbiased survey questions
unbiased survey questions allow designers to measure an app, service, or product objectively.


Another thing to remember when conducting user research is to keep things simple, and avoid asking too many questions. Break down the data into the following three categories: 

  • what you know
  • what you don’t know and can’t know
  • what you don’t know, but could know 

Neutral questions for user research

If the questions you pose during your user research are biased, your results will be influenced and skewed. Unbiased survey questions during your user research are meant to prevent the designers from making assumptions, and give users a chance to give impartial feedback.

When the right neutral questions for user research are formed, you have the power to access a wide number of users who have no familiarity with your product, service, business, or expected outcome. In order to best access objective feedback, and receive open and honest opinions, check out how to correct some of the most common mistakes and get some unbiased questions examples.

neutral questions for user research
Leading words direct the user toward an answer that aligns with our bias.


Unbiased questions examples: leading words

Whether we intend to or not, we often form questions that either has a positive or negative bias. This is typically found in “leading words”, which consciously or unconsciously hints or directs the user toward an answer that aligns with our bias.

Asking your user how much they like or enjoy something implies that the user is expected to answer positively. For instance, asking a user “How much did you like or enjoy the app?” may cause users to answer more positively.

Other leading words can put users on the defensive because it infers a certain group of people, or type of user is inferior. For instance, asking “Should responsible device users block data tracking?” implies that a user that doesn’t download this app is irresponsible. 

Finally, phrasing a question that is either negative or positive with a statistic that reinforces its popularity, or lack of, pressures users’ into agreeing with the majority. For instance, if you state “A recent study found 90% of participants agreed with the new regulation.” and then ask “How satisfied are you with this regulation?”, users may feel obligated to agree.

It’s important to remove leading words as such and structure questions as objectively as possible. Consider fixing the above questions with following unbiased questions examples:

• On a scale of 1-5, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best, please rate the app.

• Do you think users should be allowed to block data tracking?

• Please rate your level of satisfaction with the new regulation.

why ask unbiased questions
Rather than asking assumption-based questions, structure questions around facts. 


Unbiased questions examples: assumptions

As mentioned above, designers and other team members that work closely on a project are extremely susceptible to making assumptions. This can be about how the user will interact with an app, most beneficial features for a particular type of user, or even an aesthetic preference based on their understanding of the target audience

Assumptions often sneak into questions, sometimes without us even realizing. If you were to ask someone, “Do you agree that students should be allowed to use their mobile devices in class?” This implies students want to use their mobile devices in class.

Some other examples include:

  • Is your favorite flavor of chips, salt and vinegar?
  • As long as the majority of people are in favor of it, is it okay to close businesses on Sundays’? 
  • Where do you like to go out for drinks?

Rather than asking questions based on assumptions, structure the questions around facts instead. Consider fixing the above questions with following unbiased questions examples:

  • What type of chips do you like the best?
  • How do you feel about businesses being closed on Sundays’?
  • What do you like to do on the weekend?

Keep in mind that our perceived notions and ideas about what we think is a good user’s experience, isn’t the objective. A successful study taps into how the user perceives the solution. This means, keep your reasoning or opinion behind certain design choices to your self. 

Unbiased questions examples: test one thing at a time

It’s tempting to ask questions that focus on more than one aspect. However, it’s important not to ask questions that test multiple aspects, while only allow for a single answer. These types of questions are ineffective because users will typically focus on just a singular part of the question. 

  • How do you feel about the new company value, respect and innovation?
  • How have employees and employers responded to the new 4-day work week?
  • Which style and color do you prefer?

In each question, there are two things being aspect. Separate them into two distinct questions to be polled separately. 

  • How do you feel about the new company value, respect?
  • How do you feel about the new company value, innovation?
  • How have employees responded to the new 4-day work week?
  • How have employers responded to the new 4-day work week?
  • Which style do you prefer?
  • Which color do you prefer?
unbiased survey questions and neutral questions for user research
Unbiased survey questions will positively impact your design, product, or service.


Basically, the key to forming or asking neutral questions for user research is simplicity, consistency, and objectivity. It’s tempting to hone in on specific aspects, such as which color is more inviting and fun. However, it’s important to avoid leading questions or assumptions, so we recommend keeping it simple. 

After you’ve completed your user research with a series of unbiased survey questions, you should have tons of valuable feedback that will directly impact your design, product, or service. The objective feedback you get from actual users can be the difference between a successful design or a complete flop!

Unbiased survey questions with CloudApp

User research and usability testing are hands down the best ways to evaluate, tweak, and perfect your design or prototype. The overarching goal is to ensure your design is optimized for users. After the user has completed the test, and you’ve had a chance to ask unbiased survey questions, you have a ton of valuable feedback that will directly impact your design. The feedback you get from actual users can be the difference between a successful design or a complete flop. 

Asking the right neutral questions for user research is a crucial part of the process. Rather than expecting perfection, expose your design to users, then re-evaluate, and analyze the feedback in order to tweak your design.

Are you ready to conduct user research and get invaluable insight based on direct input and real user interaction? CloudApp is a great tool for instantly sharing your prototype with others. 


With CloudApp's GIF screen recording, simply share your screen recording, and get user feedback to improve your design in any phase. Once you complete your video or webcam recording, a link is automatically copied to your clipboard that can be password protected and set to expire after any desired length of time.

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