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Check Survey Accessibility

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About “Check Survey Accessibility”

When you have respondents who use third-party screen readers (like JAWS) and you need to meet accessibility standards, it’s important to make sure your survey is as accessible as possible. Our Check survey accessibility feature diagnoses your survey, indicates which questions are inaccessible, and gives other recommendations for increased accessibility to help you work towards WCAG 2.0 AA (and Section 508) compliant surveys.

Qtip: Please be advised that survey accessibility is contingent upon a combination of hardware and software, including the use of a modern and supported browser type. For the best possible experience, please make sure to keep your browser and screen reader software up-to-date.

Question Type Accessibility

Not every question is accessible to screen-reading programs. Below are lists detailing which question types are accessible and which are not.

Attention: The accessibility checker does not evaluate if the look and feel of questions is accessible. Always double-check the contrast, color schemes, and font size in your rich content editor or Look and feel when taking color-blind and other visually impaired respondents into account. Ultimately, you are responsible for verifying the accessibility of your own survey.

Accessible Questions

These questions are WCAG 2.0 AA compliant and are recognized as such by the survey checker tool.

Non-accessible Questions

These questions do not meet WCAG 2.0 AA Compliance, and are flagged as such by the survey checker tool.

Building Accessible Surveys

In addition to being careful about the question types you use for your survey, there are a few other options you should include in an accessible survey.

Attention: Since these suggestions can be more subjective, ExpertReview and check survey accessibility may not be able to detect them. Ultimately, you are responsible for verifying the accessibility of your own survey.
  • Make sure your survey follows all accessible theming guidelines.
  • Add alt-text to all images. Screen readers can read alt-text out loud to visually impaired respondents.
    Qtip: For multilingual surveys, make sure to translate the alt-text for any images in the translation window.
  • Choose accessible survey questions. Not all survey questions are accessible question types.
    Qtip: If you are using a dropdown question type (such as a multiple choice dropdown or a drill down), you should include a description of the number of possible choices in the question text.
  • Always double-check the contrast, color schemes, and font size in your rich content editor or Look and feel when taking color-blind and other visually impaired respondents into account. For example, red font on a green background would be unreadable to respondents with red-green colorblindness, and a light gray text on a white background can be difficult for other visually-impaired respondents to detect without a screen-reader. Make sure that the colors of your theme create contrast between the font and the background, and that your font size isn’t too small.
  • If you are adding validation to a question, including request response and force response, then you should indicate that the question has special requirements in the question text.
    Example: For example, if you’ve enabled force response on a question, add “this question is required” to the question text.
  • Take care when copying/pasting text from other sources because copied HTML can cause issues with screen readers. If HTML issues arise, try strip formatting.
    Qtip: When pasting content, you can paste using CMD + Shift + V (on Mac) or CTRL + Shift + V (on PC) to paste your content with no formatting.
  • Do not include labels in any of your question types, as these will not be visible to screen readers. Labels in NPS questions (“Not at all likely” and “Extremely likely”) are not visible to any screen readers so as not to bias respondents.

Common Survey Accessibility Suggestions

The check survey accessibility tool will look for these issues and flag them if it detects them in your survey.

  • Number your survey questions using the auto-number feature and show them to your respondents. To show these numbers, go to survey options and turn on Question numbers. The survey accessibility checker calls this suggestion “Enable survey option to show export tags,” since “export tags” is another term for “question numbers.”
  • Change the default survey navigation buttons to something more readable than ‘>>’. The default navigation button text is “>>” and “<<“, but words like “next” and “back” are better because screen readers can read them out loud to visually impaired respondents.
  • Change the default display name, which is the text that displays on the browser tab for survey respondents.

Accessible Survey Themes

To ensure an accessible theme, you can have a brand administrator create a theme for your license to use. Below are tips for creating accessible survey themes, broken out by the different sections of the survey theme editor. These options are the same, regardless of if you’re making these changes in the Admin Themes tab, or in the Look and feel section of a specific survey.

Alternatively, you can use a theme from the Qualtrics library. These themes will be available for you to choose in the Look and feel menu of your survey. Any accessibility issues with your theme should be forwarded to the themes team through your brand administrator.

Theme Layout

In order to have an accessible survey (with a visible focus indicator that is not only indicated by color), you must use a theme with the Classic layout.
the themes tab, a classic theme is selected using the theme dropdown

Qtip: If using the Look and feel menu in a specific survey, there will be a Layouts tab where you can change the layout to Classic.

General Tab

  • The progress bar is not currently accessibility compliant. In order to indicate progress in your survey, you can adjust the question numbers to the left of the question to indicate, for example, Question 1 of 10, Question 2 of 10, etc. To show these numbers, go to survey options and turn on Question numbers. The check survey accessibility feature calls this suggestion “Enable survey option to show export tags,” since “export tags” is another term for “question numbers.”
  • If your compliance regulations require an h1 header, include a survey header and wrap the following HTML around your header text:
    <h1>Header Text</h1>

    Qtip: Make sure you add this in the HTML view of the rich content editor.
  • If you want to add a logo to your survey, add it as a header or footer in the General tab, and add alt-text to the image. Screen readers can read alt-text out loud to visually impaired respondents.
    Qtip: For multilingual surveys, make sure to translate the alt-text for any images in the translation window.

Style Tab

  • In the Style tab, set the Foreground Contrast to High.
  • Ensure that the Primary Color has high enough contrast with the focus indicator.
    Qtip: If you are unable to see the focus indicator with the Classic layout, adjust your Primary and Secondary Color in the Style tab.

Motion Tab

  • In the Motion tab, ensure that Autoadvance on Questions is not enabled.

Using the Check Survey Accessibility Tool

Qtip: ExpertReview will provide many of the same suggestions, plus additional advice on improving your survey’s quality.
  1. In the Survey tab, click Tools.
    Check survey accessibility setting in the Tools menu of the survey editor
  2. Select Review.
  3. Click Check survey accessibility.
  4. Examine the list of potential problems and the recommendations for making your survey more accessible.
    Suggestions to improve survey accessibility

    Qtip: This list is scrollable.
  5. Click directly on the suggestion in the list to have the system jump you to the location in your survey that needs to be changed.
    Click on an option to navigate to the area of the survey that needs improving; Done and Recheck options

    Qtip: Most suggestions will usually take you to your Survey Options or Look and feel. There are also additional suggestions we have described in the Survey Configuration section.
  6. Select Done or Recheck when you are finished with your edits.

Requiring Accessible Surveys

Most organizations in Qualtrics are set up to allow survey builders to create non-accessible surveys. An Allow Non-Accessible Surveys permission is enabled by default, but a brand administrator can disable it, forcing every survey to be accessible before it can be distributed.

If this permission is disabled for your account, then you may see a red banner above your survey that reads, “This survey does not meet web accessibility standards.”

This survey does not meet accessibility standards message at the top of the survey editor

If you try to publish, activate, or distribute the survey without revising inaccessible features, you may get the message, “This survey has questions that are not accessible for all users. Use the “Check survey accessibility” tool (found in the “Tools” menu of the survey editor), then try activating the survey again.” This means you have to make changes to your survey before you can activate, publish, or distribute the survey.

To determine what in your survey needs to be changed, use the ExpertReview or check survey accessibility tool.

Qtip: These tools will do their best to help you work towards WCAG 2.0 AA (and Section 508) compliant surveys; however, it is ultimately your responsibility to research your organization’s accessibility standards and meet them.
Qtip: If you think a mistake has been made, you can reach out to your brand administrator to ask if the Allow Non-Accessible Surveys permission can be enabled. However, if your company follows a standard of accessibility, there is no guarantee the brand administrator will agree to change this permission for your account.