Facebook Poll Library

Add-on Feature

Facebook Poll Library

Add-on Feature

My Roles
  • Product Developer
  • UX/UI Designer
  • UX Reseacher
Project Date

2022

Within Facebook lies a community of people who enjoy creating and responding to polls, which, for this case study, are short questions with a limited number of responses. There are hundreds of polling groups on just about every imaginable subject, along with the general use groups. Based on a survey of the groups, there are at least 200,000 regular poll users. There are also regular Facebook users who ask questions within their own feed. The possible user base for quality polling could range into the millions.

 

Facebook currently has a limited polling feature that only works in groups, and only allows for multiple choice questions. Results cannot be downloaded or shared.

Challenge

The new Polling Library will expand the types of polls, allow users to create polls directly in their feed, and share them in a library. Marketers can add polls to their paid ads for more effective user feedback.

Goals
  • Allows users to create polls as multiple choice, rating scale, or short answer with up to 3 different questions.
  • Allows users to share and download polling data.
  • Allows marketers to attach polling questions to advertisements.
  • Meets Facebook brand standards and feels like it is part of the platform.

Inspiration

Initial Concept

The original idea for the polling library came from two users stories:

Book Recommendation

A user on Facebook initially asks for book recommendations in a post. They receive hundreds of recommendations in the comments. Some comments contain long lists. Some only have titles without authors, or authors without titles. The user is grateful for the incredible quantity of data, but ultimately frustrated. They ask if there is a way to consolidate the information without having to go through each post.

I need more books!
What are ya’ll reading these days?
Too Many Comments!
What if I could make a poll on Facebook?
Then save it as a list?
And pick out a new book!
Marketing

A marketer sends out a poll to an extensive mailing list looking for a 1-5 star rating on the quality of a new product. The email includes a link to a popular polling site, and the poll is short – only 2 questions. Unfortunately, there is a very low response rate. The marketer reaches out to colleagues on the mailing list for feedback. They report that either the link looked suspicious, and people are learning more and more not to trust unsolicited emails. Also, because people receive so many emails, many were never opened or went directly to a spam filter. The marketer is looking for a more direct way to reach their clients.

I wish I knew if my customers liked this.
People get too many email blasts.
No one is going to the website survey.
What if I could send a Facebook ad with a short poll_
And collect real data from interested customers!

In combining these stories, the initial concept was for an app that could send a polling question in a multiple of formats to any platform. This brings the question to the responder’s preferred and trusted platform – even a text message. Then the data is collected and available for download as a spreadsheet or chart.

Scope and Proof of Concept

Before building a complex app, I created a proof of concept feature. With multiple polling options and a massive user base, it made sense to limit the scope to Facebook. This provided an existing design template and user flow.

New feature to add Polls to Facebook feed

User Research

As this is a new feature, my research focused on user interest, product viability, and how it compares to current polling options. To determine if users were interested, I focused on the two user stories. For the recommendations question, I surveyed Facebook users about how they request, respond to, and organize recommendations. I interviewed people running ads on Facebook to see if polling would be of interest.

 

For product viability, I interviewed a professional poll creator who specializes in the poll creation software Qualtrics. I also investigated the design patterns of Facebook to see how a polling library would fit into the existing structure. And finally, I compared the feature to some of the most popular easy-to-use polling products – Facebook’s current polling feature, Google Forms and the free version of Qualtrics.

User Research Goals

Determine interest in new polling options for the general public.
Determine interest in adding polls to ads.
Determine interest in adding polls to ads.
Determine user flow
User Poll

Facebook users were asked in an online survey about their habits for asking and receiving recommendations for media on the website.

 

The general consensus was that while most people are looking for recommendations, they do not have a satisfactory way of organizing or keeping that information. The most common way to process a recommendation was for the person to immediately look it up, and hope to remember it. Half the responders were happy with their current system for organizing recommendations.

Facebook Poll Groups

The feature would appeal to a specific kind of user, more than the general public. Facebook has a number of polling groups that might have interest. A search for “poll” groups shows about 60 groups and 200k members.

Marketing Interviews

I interviewed three different companies that post ads on Facebook: a realtor, a visual artist, and a performance group. All three expressed interest in adding polls to their paid ads.

 

The realtor expressed the most interest, explaining how she could use it to make connections with potential customers in a localized market.

Meta Insights
Targeted Paid Ad with Poll
New Client List

Competitive Analysis

Reviewing Qualtrics and Google Forms helped determine the types of poll formats that could be added to the feature. After interviewing the Qualtrics expert, we determined the best formats are short answer, star rating, scale, and the current format – multiple choice. In keeping with the current format, new formats will also allow three questions within the main question. For example, when looking for a book recommendation, the person can include spaces for author, title, and why someone likes the book.


The biggest disadvantage of using a third party polling platform is that the user has to find a link and decide to click on it. By keeping the poll in Facebook, the user doesn’t have to leave their comfort zone or take extra steps. However, unlike 3rd party platforms, for the polling feature to remain effective, the number of questions are specifically limited in quantity and format.

Architecture

Task Flows

These task flows demonstrates how someone can create a poll for book recommendations. The poll will appear on their feed. Then anyone seeing the poll can respond to it and see their answer in the comments.

 

Any type of poll can be created and responded to through the Facebook Feed. Polls can also be accessed directly through the Poll Library interface.

 

Design

The feature should have a familiar feel and flow so new users will adjust to it quickly. This proved to be a challenge because Facebook has many different features, some hidden or only available if someone knew where to look. Some features, like Marketplace, had two completely different points of entry – by creating a new post, or through a dedicated layout. For the feature, I created both flows to determine if they are both viable options.

Design Goal

Match Facebook’s design elements as closely as possible to maintain brand standards.

Sketches

Design started with sketching ideas about the layouts, keeping in mind the Facebook’s design.

These sketches show the flow of starting a post and how to add a poll.

Facebook Poll Options

Current Facebook Poll Option

Within Facebook, a member of a group can create a poll in a post. The options are limited to multiple choice, either with one or multiple answers. I’m using the design patterns as a starting point for the new feature so that it fits in with the rest of the website.

Multiple Choice
New Facebook Poll Options

These are the proposed new options for asking poll questions. Expanding the choices will allow the user to collect data appropriate to their preferences and situation.

Short Answer
Star Rating
Scale

Homepage Interface Design

Transformation:
Marketplace to Poll Library

The layout of the Poll Library is based on Facebook’s existing Marketplace interface, which allows anyone to create an item for sale and post both in the Marketplace and their feed. This is a proven design, although as research will show, not as easy to use as creating a post.

Marketplace
Poll Library

User Testing

Walk-through Testing

Testing both paths was critical in determining the best user paths and the overall viability of the feature. I created two tests in Maze.co where participants could walk through the paths, first creating a poll then taking the same poll. Participants were at least casual users of Facebook.

Path 1:
Create a post with a short answer scale poll.
Path 2:
Create a short answer poll in the Poll Library.
User Testing Results

Overwhelmingly, the preferred path was creating a poll by creating a post. While there was not a high level of success – 34% – those who did felt that the path matched Facebook’s environment. 100% of the testers agreed that the survey looked as they expected.

 

The main point of failure was more of a technical issue than design. Due to how Maze shrinks a layout, the click area to create the poll was too small on some screens.

 

The path to create a poll directly through the poll library home page failed. The point of entry is on the far left side of the screen, and users expected it to be in the middle of the screen. The button was also below three other options, so not as expected below the search window. This was designed to replicate the Marketplace interface.

 

In a post interview test, the in-person participant couldn’t navigate the Marketplace either.

“I like the UI you created for the polls. I think it makes them very clear and easy to use, especially since you have the 3 sets of words- one on each side of the poll and one in the middle, it helped me rate better.”

– Test Participant

Iterations

A subtle change can make a huge difference. In the initial design of the home page, users could not consistently find the “Create new poll” button because it was below three other options. This followed the original Facebook Marketplace template. By moving the button to the top, users could intuitively locate the button.

 

Also, the top poll section was changed to “My Polls” so users could easily find their own work first.

Summary

Overall, the idea of creating polls through Facebook is viable, but limited. There is much more benefit for marketers than the general public. If the feature existed, it could still be an option for both.

 

Something to consider is that Facebook is overloaded with features. There are approximately 30 features ranging from selling goods to finding a blood bank. Most of the features require 2 or 3 clicks to find, and it seems very few are used. When adding a new feature, it would need to be heavily promoted at first. Otherwise, it would blend into the background.

 

While Facebook is a highly used platform, it may not be the best for a feature like this. Linkedin and Reddit also have polling communities, and could prove more successful. Platforms with more personalized interfaces like Instagram and Twitter would also be interesting options to explore.

Next Steps

Ultimately, I would like to return to the original concept – an app that sends the poll to any platform. Bring the polling to the people, and democratize the information.