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The design of organisations and products

Making legal contracts a better experience
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“If you can get the answer you’re looking for from an online survey, it’s a stupid question.”

—The JC

More in our series of how the high-modernists are trying to force the intractable world into a legible box is this idea that one can accurately and completely poll one’s organisation with an online survey.

Now if your goal is to pose a question to which there are only four possible answers, then knock yourself out: SurveyMonkey is your instrument of choice.

But, unless you’re polling destinations for a girls’ weekend away, if there are only four possible answers, it’s a stupid question, or you have a nefarious intent, namely to elicit the answers you want to a question which you fear may have other answers. If you are trying, say, to evaluate general satisfaction with your service, or to gauge your users’ general needs — or opinions — of your software platform, you are going to get a stupid question.

“But, JC, if we don’t put some shape around it we’ll get all kinds of random answers. It will be all over the shop.”
Yes, it will. And you don’t think that, in itself, is telling you something?

Of course, there’s generally an ulterior motive. Middle management doesn’t want to know the ineffable, intractable enormity of the firm’s offering. It wants to generate the answers it expects, so it can pipe them to upper management, by way of showing it what a good The multi-choice user survey cross-examination by middle-management.

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