Emoji Likert Scale: Your New secret Weapon.

Forget about Boring and Dead end Surveys! This is your new weapon for Measuring Social Change, Quantifying Outcomes and Estimating Impact.

Emoji Likert Scale


Evaluators, you’re mean people.

Those measuring / assessing / evaluating social change / impact* know how painful it can be to design and implement data collection. With so many outcome possibilities, surveys tend to become bigger then they should, as we are always trying to squeeze one more indicator into the questionnaire. It is almost as if you’re flying with ryanair and packing your bag for a 1 month travel in a cold location.

“Poor respondents!” - I always wonder! - “does the good created by the project that I’m evaluating compensates their hurdle of going through all these long and police-like interrogations?”. Sometimes I ask myself who is more friend to “The Big Brother”, smartphones or evaluators. But, well, that’s another conversation! Below we are going to discuss how can evaluators compensate respondents brain with some bits of fun and simplification, while torturing them with long and intrusive questions.


First things first!

Let’s start with the concepts and make sure that we are all on the same page. What is the rationale behind the calculation of a social outcome?


  • Stakeholder: Unemployed people
  • Project: Group Therapy

  • Outcome: Improvement of social relations

  • Indicator: Quality of relations with family and friends (as perceived by the stakeholder)

The amount of change can be estimated based on the distance between the point at which the stakeholder was on the scale before of the program (T0) and the point where he stands now, after the program (T1).

*Gosh! We have to be so careful with these words nowadays. They clearly mean different things to different people!

Quantifying Social Change


Mind the gap.

That is the very basic concept behind any traditional “Before and After Study”. Roughly, most evaluators ask  “Before and After” questions orally, reading the answer options to their respondents. From my experience, it usually works just fine when interviewing averagely qualified people in developed countries. However, that is not the case for low income communities of excluded regions across the world; for children, elderly, people with disabilities, etc. For this type of respondents abstract thinking poses more difficulties.

Knowing this I searched online for printable scales. Particularly for likert scales with images, that would help bridge the communication gap. In the end, I found two main types of scales: business and project satisfaction scales and health pain scales. However, none of them met my concrete needs, which lead me to create my own - a printable emoji likert scale, ranging from a very sad face (1) to a very happy face (5). Click here to access it.



The application of the emoji likert scale is relatively self evident! You apply the scale before and after the intervention. For instance, before the project we ask people "how would you grade the quality of your social relations today?". One year after we ask the same question. Two years, the same. Three years, four years, etc.. This enables us to track and monitor the evolution of stakeholders over time or in a one single time frame.

In case you have a curious mind and want to know more details about the application of the emojis likert scale to measure social change and social impact check out this other post.



Overall, the Emojis Likert Scale has two major advantages: it’s dynamic and promotes accuracy. Because the tool is interactive most respondents report to have fun during the interview process, which leads to a higher engagement. Ensuring respondents engagement, in turn, helps promoting concentration, which results into higher data quality. The more engaged stakeholders are, the more effort they will put in, better the data.


Public service.

Try it, let me know what you think and share it if you liked it! ;)