5 Best Practices for Creating Accessible Surveys

SurveyGizmo has always been one of the most accessible survey tools out there, and we’re continuing to build on that.

But the tool you use to build it can’t make your survey accessible. There are certain best practices you’ll want to follow in order to make sure your survey will reach and appeal to your entire audience.

Our survey expert Robb Novak recently led a discussion on this topic, and shared quite a few great tips. Follow these five tried-and-true best practices, and you can be confident that everyone in your audience will be able to take your survey.

Avoid Javascript-based Survey Questions

There are a lot of issues that make javascript-based question types inaccessible. For starters, they don’t work well with screen reader software – a big no-no if you’re looking to create an accessible survey.

Additionally, they don’t work well with iOS and mobile devices – given the prevalence of mobile, this means that you’ll limit the access of a large portion of your target sample.

The question types you’ll want to avoid are:

  • Star Ranking Questions
  • Image Choice Questions (in some circumstances)
  • Drag and Drop Ranking Questions
  • Custom Table Questions
  • Several Marketplace Survey Questions

You’ll also want to avoid hidden question types, since screen readers have a hard time telling the difference between live questions and those hidden in the background.

Choose a Survey Theme with Good Contrast

Subtle tones may appeal to your aesthetic sense, but to many people with vision impairment, they can make it so that the type or other survey elements are difficult to see.

Add Alt Text to Your Images

Alternative text (“alt text”) is the meta data that describes an image to a screen reader. When choosing an image from the Image Library, you can use the settings to include descriptive alt text so that visually-impaired survey respondents can get the best experience from your survey.

Pay Attention to Font Sizes

Again, the typeface that looks best to you may be difficult to read to someone who’s visually-impaired. For that reason, be sure to choose a simple font for your online surveys.

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Helvetica or other sans serif fonts are often more well-defined and easier to read than Times New Roman and other serif fonts. And, even more importantly, be sure that the font size is large enough to be read comfortably.

Use accessibility tools to check your survey

When you’re preparing to publish your survey, SurveyGizmo’s built-in diagnostics will alert you whether you’ve included anything that is incompatible with accessibility standards. This is basic analysis, but will check against most common problems.

For more in-depth accessibility analysis, there are a number of accessibility tools that will evaluate your survey and score its level of accessibility against best practices. Here are a few we recommend:


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