Paper versus tablet surveys

Not so long ago, it was pretty typical for business and enterprise to seek feedback via paper-based surveys.

That was until about 2010, when the tablet debuted in the business world, offering a whole new way to seek feedback. Now you find tablets in a range of places, actively engaging with people to understand how they feel about their experience with a business or a brand.

But how do the two different survey methods compare?

Let’s take a quick walk-through the statistics and research, looking at paper versus tablet surveys.

Paper-based surveys

Whether they were mailed out or undertaken in person, paper-based surveys were once the go-to method of seeking feedback from patrons and clientele.

While they worked well, there are a few distinct disadvantages to using this method – they’re labour intensive, involve double handling of data, are prone to error, and often just feel too overwhelming for the participant to complete.

Paper-based surveys

Tablet-based surveys

In about 2010, the mainstream deployment of tablets started changing the feedback world. Cost effective, enticing and Cloud-based, they offered business the opportunity to tap into the thinking of their customers in an aesthetically appealing way.

Importantly they were found to improve the feedback responses, offering greater accuracy, immediate results and the ability for business to quickly understand and improve customer satisfaction.

So, side by side, let’s look at the two compared…

Response ratio

Tablet surveys elicit four times more responses than paper surveys – Source: OMBEA

Tablet surveys tend to enjoy a higher response rate than other survey methods due to their ease of use. Not only do they look appealing, it is faster to input answers into a tablet than it is to write a response, and often the survey takes place at a time when feedback is fresh in the client’s mind.


Tablet surveys take less time to complete than paper-based surveys – Source: US National Library of Medicine

In a study undertaken in 2017, researchers found tablet-based surveys took a third of the time, compared to paper-based surveys.

The ‘Difference between tablet methods and paper questionnaire methods of conducting a survey with community-dwelling elderly’ study noted data input into tablets took 426 seconds, compared to a paper questionnaire which took 1268 seconds.

Ready to harness the power of tablets?


71 per cent of paper survey respondents skip or incorrectly answer survey questions – Source: OMBEA

Tablets prompt respondents to answer one question before they move onto the next, and using ratings, smiley faces or suggested responses, providing this answer is simple.

Ultimately, it provides business with a complete picture of customer sentiment, rather than data that is incomplete.

Meanwhile, there’s no double-handling involved in data input, so there is less opportunity for the human error that comes with inputting responses from paper-based surveys.

Follow-up opportunities

Tablet surveys result in fewer lost follow-up opportunities – Source OMBEA

Because tablet surveys tend to be more accurate, they also provide a greater volume of follow-up opportunities for businesses.

In fact, OMBEA cites a study where 21 per cent of follow-up opportunities were lost during a paper-based survey, simply because respondents either failed to give their email address, or the data was inaccurately entered.

Further benefits

In addition to their clear benefits over paper-based surveys, tablet surveys also offer a range of further positives.

These include:

  • Instant data – Data is relayed instantly to the Cloud and aggregated into neat actionable insights
  • Efficiency – Tablet-based surveys remove the need for extra data entry and double handling, thereby improving efficiency
  • Reduce cost – Tablet-based surveys reduce the costs of seeking feedback in a range of ways including labour costs, analysis costs, printing costs and more

Ready to harness the power of tablets?

Ready to harness the power of tablets?

Moodly ExpressPods are innovative all-in-one tablet survey solutions which are designed to elicit instant feedback from respondents.

These state-of-the-art feedback kiosks can be quickly installed and utilise wireless technology, while statistics indicate 30 per cent of customers actively engage with the technology – a figure far above traditional email or web-based feedback methods.

Touchless options are also available, and you can learn more about our ExpressPods here.