What Is an Accessible Survey, Anyway?
Here we are on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which makes it a perfect time to answer the question: “What in the world do we mean by accessible surveys?” Our last newsletter (How to Make a Survey ADA Accessible) outlined the important steps needed to begin developing such surveys. But it’s worth stepping back from the technical issues to understand at an intuitive level what online accessible surveys need to achieve.
Ponder these three questions:
- What if you had limited vision–how would you take an online survey? There are screen readers that will translate content into audio for you, but will a screen reader navigate your survey in the right order, step by step? Will it pause in the right places and make it clear that you need to enter information? Will it clearly describe what kind of information you need to enter? Will it give you clear and informative error messages if data is entered incorrectly?
- What if you had limited hearing–how would you take an online survey? A lot of online content includes audio, and market research surveys are no exception. If you are testing advertising clips or movie trailers, or offering instructions via short video or audio tutorials, does it have carefully edited closed captioning (like our video—click the CC button at the bottom)?
- What if you could not use a mouse—how would you take an online survey? An accessible survey will allow you to answer all questions and complete all tasks with only a keyboard or a key-board assistive device. Can you navigate your survey step by step with a TAB key? Does the cursor move from item to item in exactly the right order?
Designing accessible surveys will mean learning a lot about the structure and detail of coding “behind” what respondents see when they take surveys. Keeping in mind the ultimate purpose of that coding will help you appreciate the logic and importance of each step. It’s a lot like the process of research itself—designing and executing with an eye towards the story that needs to be told. Give us a call if you need help with any of it!