Creating an Accessible Survey

Our approach to accessibility

We use the international standard Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) Level AA as the benchmark for our accessible survey.  

To achieve a good level of usability for all users, there are many additional accessibility principles which we also recommend.  

Creating the survey

  1. Click “Create a survey” 
  2. Set your survey up from scratch or copying an existing survey or using one of our templates.  

Select the accessible theme  

Once you’ve set up your survey, you can choose a theme:

The SmartSurvey Theme Library with the "Accessible themes" category highlighted and the "accessible theme" selected in the category.

Go to your theme library and then choose the "Accessible Themes" Category. In this category, choose the “Accessible theme”. This theme has been tested in line with WCAG 2.1 AA standards to ensure a high level of accessibility compliance

Recommended Survey Settings 

Use these settings to ensure your survey is as accessible as possible. These are presented split into the tabs they appear on in the Survey Settings.

Under each setting, we've put he WCAG 2.1 Checkpoint(s) that it deals with.

General Settings

Provide a meaningful survey title.  

The page title is the first content item screen reader users encounter when they navigate to a new page. Therefore, a unique page title assists with orientation. 

  • WCAG 2.1 checkpoints: 2.4.2 Page titles (A). 

Select “show title”.

Select this option to avoid empty headings. 

Survey title options – screenshot of Survey title in SmartSurvey admin

Figure 1: Survey title options 

  • WCAG 2.1 AA checkpoints: 1.3.1 Info and relationships - Headings (A) 
Appearance Settings

Show question numbers and page numbers. 

Question numbers are helpful for all users. Numbers also assist screen reader users to distinguish questions. 

Enable question and page numbers - screenshot of display settings in SmartSurvey admin.

Figure 2: Enable question numbers and page numbers 

Use meaningful words for buttons. 

Avoid abbreviations for button text. By default, we provide a short descriptive phrase for the next and previous buttons. 

Default labels for buttons – screenshot of appearance SmartSurvey dashboard.

Figure 3: Default labels for buttons 

Add progress bar 

Help respondents keep track of their progress. This is especially important for longer forms. 

Enable the progress bar - Screen shot of SmartSurvey admin.

Figure 4: Enable the progress bar 

  • WCAG 2.1 AA checkpoints 1.3.1 Info and relationships - convey meaning programmatically (A) 
Other settings 

Enable save and continue 

Save and continue allows respondents to complete the survey in their own time. This is especially helpful for anyone who finds filling out forms difficult and might not be able to, or want to, complete the survey in a single session.


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