Creating Accessible Surveys
An accessible survey is a set of questions designed to be able to be completed by people of varying abilities.
- Accessible surveys enable respondents using screen magnifiers to successfully complete the survey.
- Accessible surveys include the necessary text to enable a respondent to successfully navigate and complete a survey by using a screen reader with a text-to-speech (TTS) system.
- Accessible surveys can be completed using voice command and control software. An accessible survey doesn't require a mouse or keyboard to complete.
Follow these best practices to ensure that your surveys remain compliant:
Use the classic survey format
The classic survey format is best for people using a screen reader to take a survey. The One Question at a Time and Conversation survey formats are not accessible.
Don't include images that blink or flash
If you do have animated content in your survey, you will need to confirm that it meets the time refresh requirements.
Add alternative text to logos and images
If your survey contains images that communicate meaningful information, you must add alternative text that conveys equivalent information. Section 508 requires that a text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided. This makes the image accessible to respondents using screen readers to take your survey. Since screen readers can't read an image, they will announce the alternative text instead.
Check your color contrast
To make your survey visible to most users, include the right amount of color contrast and brightness so that those with colorblindness won't have any trouble reading your survey. You can create a custom theme and use a tool like the Tanaguru Contrast-Finder to ensure that you have a compliant ratio.
Surveys using either the Aqua or Charcoal themes meet Section 508 standards.
Keep text fields close to row labels
When a row label is positioned far away from the actual input field, this may cause issues for screen magnifiers used by low vision respondents. For Multiple Textboxes, Contact Information, or Matrix/Rating Scale questions, adjust the question layout to keep the labels and answer choices close together.
Clearly label required questions
If there are required questions in your survey, make sure the survey is set to show asterisks next to required questions. In the survey introduction, explain that survey questions marked with an asterisk require an answer.
Make error messages clear
When a respondent enters an invalid response to a question, or skips a required question, they see an error message. When you create the question, you can customize this error message to make it clear to respondents how they must answer the question. Keep in mind that this error message appears before the question text, so screen readers will read the error message first.
Make navigation buttons clear
Clearly label the navigation buttons so that screen readers will announce them correctly. Labels like "Previous", "Next", and "Done" work well with screen readers, as opposed to labels like "<<" and ">>".