Create Accessible Forms & Surveys

Blocksurvey blog author
Sep 24, 2023 · 10 mins read

According to World Health Organization around 1 billion people worldwide are living with some form of disability. It is indeed hard to digest that the majority of our population is actually suffering in one way or another. With this disability or impairment, do they have enough solutions to participate in the digital world? Do they have inclusivity? What if the internet and the web we create are not inclusive? What if the surveys are not inclusive? What are we missing out?

Think about you are not listening or hearing from ~15% of the world population. What wealth of information are we going to lack from this demography? Could their information lead to better products and services? Betterment in anything we produce. Most certainly, yes.

This is where accessibility plays a critical role. We have to create accessible surveys to listen to them. So that we don’t miss out on the insights they produce. Creating accessible surveys will help us receive their thoughts, opinions, ideas, and feedback, like everyone being inclusive.

Are today’s surveys accessible? Read more to know what the problems prevailing in this space and how BlockSurvey creates accessible forms & surveys to help you get better insights and data without ignoring the audience with disability or impairment.

What is form & survey accessibility?

Web accessibility is the ease with which people with disabilities can access any digital or web infrastructure. Have you seen ramps built near stairs for the use of people with movement disabilities? This is an example of real-world accessibility. Similarly, when disabled people find it easier to access forms and surveys on the web, it is considered accessible.

There are different disabilities pertaining to physical and cognitive. For this topic context, I have considered the visually challenged the center of discussion.

Why is accessibility critical for forms & surveys?

Consider yourself visually impaired and finding it very difficult to submit an online survey. It is the same pain that all the visually impaired experience around the world, talking of that 1 billion world population that I discussed earlier.

Forms & surveys tend to give insights only when more people complete them by filling it out. By ensuring accessibility, we make sure that visually impaired people do not miss out on participating.


As the collecting sample goes high, we get better results. It is for this reason accessibility becomes critical while conducting online forms & surveys. What are the steps you should consider to build an accessible form & survey? Are there any key factors we should focus on while designing a questionnaire with accessibility? Let’s read further to know more.

Key factors for form & survey accessibility

Now that we truly understand the need for accessibility let us discuss the 3 factors you should always remember while creating an accessible questionnaire.

  • The components should be capable of being perceived through the senses.
  • The challenged user should be able to fill out the questionnaire with ease.
  • The challenged person should also be able to understand the purpose behind the data collection.

These are your commandments. Always remember this while you design. If you keep this tenet in your heart, you are all set to make it accessible.

pillars of accessibility

There are two types of accessibility for the visually impaired.

  • The first is through voice recognition, where the user will not use a keyboard or mouse when filling out the questionnaire. The user interacts with the form & survey through speech alone.
  • The second is through voice assistance, where the user accesses a keyboard and screen reader to fill out the questionnaire. We will discuss voice assistance in this article.

Now that we know the keystones, are all the forms & survey tools out there really accessible? Why is there still noise? Let’s see with some facts how survey tools are fair in this space today.

Are forms & surveys really accessible?

Not many Engineers have heard of accessibility in the first place; thus, implementing an accessible is not a high priority when an MVP is launched or at an early stage. It takes a back seat. This is true with forms & surveys. 

Let’s see how forms & survey tools have evolved and why accessibility is the last piece they want to solve.

A well-known form builder, Typeform, focused on accessibility after 7 years of its existence. It’s sad to know this. Many tools follow a similar path. Probably, collectively, we don’t see the disabled community as an audience for our product. Mostly, this is true for any digital product. Probably, this is the reason compliance and accessibility laws like Section 508, and accessibility guidelines like WCAG2 came into existence.

Would you like to hear about a first-hand experience? Read on. Prior to working for BlockSurvey, I worked for Wipro Technologies. The Human Resource manager at Wipro is visually impaired. He is a good friend of mine. Despite his visual impairment, he is very comfortable using his laptop. With the help of a screen reader, he sends emails to his colleagues. He gives ratings and conducts appraisals. Yearly, WIPRO conducts an Employee perception survey(EPS) to receive feedback about the company.

What if this visually impaired HR manager is unable to take this survey? Won’t he feel apart and not feel included? Won’t he feel neglected and rejected? How would he voice out his perceptions?

It is for people like him that BlockSurvey has considered accessibility very seriously. An accessible tool makes him feel inclusive of the company.

Below are some examples of the lack of accessibility in surveys across players in the market. They are the incumbents in this space and are widely used. These examples are handpicked from a research study conducted by University of Washington.

  1. Qualtrics: Qualtrics is the only tool that doesn’t at least place an asterisk (*) next to the required fields. Qualtrics users have no idea which fields are required until they’ve submitted the form. In Qualtrics, there is no visible difference between checkboxes and radio buttons. See below.
  1. SurveyMonkey: They do not perform client-side-error checking. Client-side error checking is preferred in accessibility since it provides immediate feedback if the user skips a required field or enters an invalid response.
  1. Google Forms: The amount of information given to screen readers is, in fact excessive in google forms. The forms become extremely verbose in this case.

Is BlockSurvey an accessible form & survey tool?

Like everyone, we missed focusing on accessibility. We were like other tools too. Ignorant!

But this changed when we had a face-off with an anonymous user being critical and pointing out how messed up we were. Below is the screenshot for your evidence.

The Redditor meant to say it would not support visually impaired persons and denied using our product. This gave us the inspiration to implement web accessibility to our forms & surveys from that very day. Probably, we listened, and we felt it was needed. We see accessibility as a digital right.

We brought in accessibility to all our forms & surveys. This wouldn't have been possible without the help of VisionAid. Their digital accessibility program helped in testing BlockSurvey extensively for accessibility using WCAG 2.1 guidelines and reported defects. We spent about a couple of months working with the VisionAid team closely and took time to fix all the accessibility issues reported by them. It was a great learning experience on accessibility and understanding how accessibility tests are done in general. At the end of the engagement, we finally made BlockSurvey accessible. 

Below are the testing combinations and tools used for accessible testing.

Windows Desktop Testing:

  • Chrome + JAWS
  • Firefox + NVDA
  • Microsoft Edge + Narrator 
  • Full keyboard testing with first 3 combinations.
  • semi-automation (browser plugin) and CCA.

MAC Desktop & iPhone Testing:

  • Safari + Voiceover (iOS)

Android Device:

  • Chrome + Talkback

Please watch the video to see the outcome after testing BlockSurvey and how it evolved to be an accessible  form & survey tool.

As you can see in this example, this is how a visually challenged user happens to fill out a form or survey built in BlockSurvey. The form asks for your name, email id, and website. The impaired user can use the tab and enter keys along with a screen reader to take the survey.

The screen reader can be accessed either from your Operating System, or it can be a downloadable extension for your browser. I personally suggest using a screen reader as an extension for your browser because it works better for websites and online surveys. You can download and install by searching for screen reader extensions on your browsers like Brave, Firefox.

There are a few more factors for making accessibility better. Read further to know more.

Points to consider for improving form & survey accessibility

Apart from screen reader and accessible components, one can also follow some general tips for better accessibility. Have a look.

  • Make sure that the language you use in the survey conveys respect.
  • Use translations when you want a non-English-speaking user to take your survey.
  • Avoid the use of Jargon, and keep your vocabulary simple and succinct.
  • Make your surveys compatible with computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • When survey language is written from right to left, make sure the platform supports it.

Champion form & survey accessibility

Form & survey platforms with accessible components save a lot of time for the visually challenged. It also makes them feel included. Show little care and share accessible forms & surveys, and that will make all the difference. We have created 1000+ accessible forms & survey templates on a wide range of topics for you to start with.

Create Accessible Forms & Surveys FAQ

Which question types are not accessible in BlockSurvey?

File upload, camera capture and Ranking question types are not accessible in BlockSurvey.

Can you list some regulations and guidelines for accessibility?

ADA and Section 508 are the regulations centered around Accessibility. WCAG 2 is a technical guideline to implement accessibility.

What is ADA?

ADA means Americans with Disabilities Act. ADA became law in 1990. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

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blog author description

Sarath Shyamson

Sarath Shyamson is the customer success person at BlockSurvey and also heads the outreach. He enjoys volunteering for the church choir.


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