SurveyMonkey understands the importance of accessibility on the web and empowers you to make surveys that are Section 508 and WCAG2 compliant. In this article, learn how you can create accessible surveys and how to use a screen reader to navigate SurveyMonkey surveys.
Section 508 is a United States federal law that requires all electronic and information technology used by the federal government to be accessible to people with disabilities.
WCAG2 is a set of technical guidelines for making web content more accessible. It includes a set of criteria to test for success.
An accessible survey is designed so that people with varying hearing, movement, sight, and cognitive abilities can complete it.
Accessible standard themes include the right amount of color contrast and brightness to ensure our survey designs are accessible to most people, including people with colorblindness.
Our default survey theme, Heritage, is compliant with Section 508 standards. When designing an accessible survey, use a theme from the list below and don’t change the colors or style settings.
The following standard themes are compliant with Section 508 standards:
|Standard Themes||Classic Themes|
To keep surveys accessible, we recommend not making changes to the standard themes that are Section 508 compliant. If you create a custom theme, use a tool like the tanaguru contrast finder to ensure that the color combinations pass WCAG standards for contrast ratio.
To ensure your survey is accessible, check all of the following:
✅ Only use accessible question types and settings.
Avoid these question types and settings:
All other question types and settings are accessible.
✅ Add alt text to images and videos. To make your survey accessible to people using screen readers, Section 508 requires that a text equivalent is provided for every non-text element, like images and videos. This alternative text, known as alt text, can be in the alt attribute of the image or in the context surrounding the image, like a caption. Since screen readers can't read an image, they'll announce the alt text instead.
You can add descriptive alt text to images in your survey. Click the links below to find steps to add alt text to each image type:
✅ Keep asterisks for required questions. By default, when you require a question an asterisk will appear next to the question. Don’t turn this option off. In the survey introduction, let survey takers know that asterisks mean a question is required.
✅ Change star rating icons to black. If you’re using an accessible theme and adding a star rating question change the icon color to black for good contrast. You’ll see a color dropdown when editing the question.
✅ Write clear error messages. When survey takers enter an invalid response to a question with answer validation applied, or skip a required question, an error message appears above the question. Customize the error text so that people know specifically how to answer the question so they can move on.
❌ Don't edit default navigation labels. By default, navigation buttons are labeled “Previous”,”Next”, and “Done,” which work well with screen readers.
❌ Don't include images that blink or flash. If you use animated content in your survey, check that it meets the time refresh requirements.
✅ Place text fields close to row labels. When a row label is positioned far away from the text field, it 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 text fields close together.
The following table describes what each heading level represents in a SurveyMonkey survey. Please refer to your preferred screen reader's manual to learn how to navigate online forms and surveys.
|Heading 1||Survey title|
|Heading 2||Page title|
|Heading 3||Page description|
|Heading 4||Navigate between error messages and questions in a survey|
SurveyMonkey surveys don't use heading levels 5 & 6.
SurveyMonkey is dedicated to helping people create surveys that are accessible. If you have feedback on how we can do better, please fill out the SurveyMonkey Accessibility Feedback Form.
We may not be able to respond to your feedback directly, but we'll make sure your thoughts and suggestions reach the right teams.