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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 & 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.

Survey Configuration

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 you are using a recent theme or one from the Qualtrics library. Any accessibility issues with your theme should be forwarded to the themes team through your Brand Administrator.

    Attention: In order to have an accessible survey (with a visible focus indicator that is not only indicated by color), you must use a Dynamic theme with the “Classic” layout. You will also need to ensure that your primary theme color has a high enough contrast with the focus indicator in the Classic layout. If it doesn’t, you will either need to change your theme’s primary color or use custom code to change the indicator color.

  • Add “Alt” text to the images within your survey. This allows screen readers to be able to “read” your images. The alt text should be a very short description of what is in the image. You can find instructions for this in the Image Properties section of the Insert a Graphic page.
  • Include a header in your Look & Feel, and wrap the following HTML around your header text:
     <h1>Header Text</h1>
  • If you are using a dropdown question type (such as a Multiple Choice dropdown or a Drill Down), you must 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 & 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.

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 Show 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 Survey Title, which is the text that displays on the browser tab for survey respondents.

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 under Review under Tools
  2. Select Review.
  3. Click Check Survey Accessibility.
  4. Examine the list of potential problems and the recommendations for making your survey more accessible.
    Survey Accessibility menu on the top of the survey editor

    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.
    Items in the accessibility menu corresponding to items in the survey

    Qtip: Most suggestions will usually take you to your Survey Options or Look & 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.”

Red banner over the top of the survey editor that says This survey does not meet web accessibility standards.

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.