SF State - Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI)

Image: Photos of the SF State campus and students using a headset, a braille keyboard and a blind cane

Using Survey Tools

Many online survey tools create surveys that are not accessible to people with disabilities. These tools often rely on JavaScript and mouse interactions, which may provide a barrier for people with disabilities.
SF State ATI recommends using the online survey tool Qualtrics that is freely available to the SF State community. Please note that not all question types in Qualtrics are accessible. In order to determine whether your survey is accessible, you can use the "Check Survey Accessibility" option under "Advanced Options." Even though the survey tool is the most important part in creating accessible surveys, the questionnaire author is responsible for choosing an accessible, clear, and logical layout. For more information on Qualtrics, please visit SF State's Qualtrics Survey Support Guide.

Most common problems that people with disabilities encounter on web based surveys are:

  1. The user cannot navigate the page or fill out the form fields because they require  the use of the mouse
  2. The screen reader user has problems finding important information and sections
  3. The screen reader user cannot fill out the form fields because they are not labeled and therefore will not be read by a screenreader
  4. The reading order of form fields in a layout table is confusing and incorrect for screen reader users
  5. Logical relationships between data is conveyed only by color and therefore not understood by screen reader users


  1. Use independent input device controls
  2. Use headings to identify sections
  3. Use labels to associate descriptive text with form elements. Use fieldsets and legends to group and identify related form elements
  4. Make sure that the reading order is logical if read row by row from left to right.
  5. Mark up tables with headers in matrix question types

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