User Experience Design


I just started using the PLA outcomes tool, and already I’ve had two occasions where patrons turn in surveys with very positive comments but indicating “strongly disagree” in response to the questions. In one instance I was able to ask the patron if that was her intention and she made a point of changing her responses. I wonder if it would help to add “Yes” and “No” to the responses to help avoid confusion, or if there is some other way to tweak the design so that people don’t make this mistake so easily.


Hi Rachel,

Thank you for sharing your experience. You are certainly not alone. However, we did redesign the the Likert scale in 2017 to appear below each question to help avoid this confusion. The surveys were designed by library leaders and research experts and the Likert scale order was approved by them. We know there is always room for patron error. We always suggest instructing patrons before handing out the surveys. You can also add a custom message at the top of the survey - in the survey management tool when creating a survey - this is where you can add some instruction about the Likert scale order.


Hi Rachel,
We had the same issue so we added emoticons and colors to help customers distinguish response options and it’s worked brilliantly. If you can’t view the attached, please respond and I can send the example directly to you.

Health-literacy_project-outcome-survey_17.pdf (452.6 KB)


Hi Suanne,

This is really a lovely example! I think the other visual cues will also be useful for many of our customers included rushing parents and our ESL customers. Would it be okay if we were to adapt the example you’ve used to fit our own use?


@suanne.wymer I love the way you snazzed this up! And I bet it’s really helpful for customers to have the emoticons. Thank’s so much for sharing.


Hi Andrea,
Please feel free to adapt our example for your own use! Glad to assist!


HI Suanne - Great job on this survey! Can you tell me how you created it? I would also like to copy this format…




Hi Jon,

Our data analyst at the time saw over and over again comments about loving the library and programs, but with Strongly Disagree markings – so she came up with the idea of adding emoticons and colors to help customers distinguish response options. We submitted her ideas to our library’s graphic designer; she took all the required text components from the ‘plain’ PLA Project Outcome survey, added the colors/emoticons, and voilà! If we have partners for a program, our graphic designer adds their logo.

Please feel free to copy colors and emoticons – this set or your own color combination. While their use hasn’t corrected the issue 100%, it’s pretty darn close.

If you don’t have the luxury of graphic designer at your library, you could do this in Excel so the columns are in order – or at least run the question/response set in Excel then copy over to Word. It would take just a little finagling…

Good luck!



Fortunately we do have a graphic designer! Thanks, Suanne!