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Qualtrics - Accessibility

Qualtrics Accessibility Topics

Service Overview

Qualtrics is a survey platform available to all CU students, faculty, and staff, that can be used to create and take surveys. Qualtrics is managed by the Office of Information Technology (OIT). 

Qualtrics Accessibility Status

Qualtrics utilizes a number of question types with varying levels of accessibility, some of which may not be accessible to survey creators and respondents using assistive technologies. To promote equitable access for survey recipients, access to some inaccessible question types has been removed for use by CU Boulder survey creators. However, the question types available to CU Boulder survey creators still have a number of known accessibility and usability issues. OIT provides ongoing accessibility feedback to Qualtrics with the goal of remediating these issues.

The table below outlines enabled question types that are available for use in Qualtrics and the inaccessible question types that are not available for use. Please reference the Accessibility Recommendations for Enabled Question Types page and the Inaccessible Question Types page to learn best practices and workarounds for all question types listed in the table. Survey creators also have the option to submit a Qualtrics Accessibility Exception Request and potentially receive temporary access for the use of an inaccessible question type. 

Enabled Question Types 
(available for use in Qualtrics)
Inaccessible Question Types
(not available for use in Qualtrics)
  • Multiple Choice
  • Text Entry
  • Text/Graphic
  • Matrix Table
  • Slider
  • Form Field
  • Side by Side
  • Net Promoter® Score
  • Timing
  • Constant Sum
  • File Upload
  • Drill Down
  • Meta Info
  • Captcha Verification
  • Rank Order
  • Graphic Slider
  • Pick, Group, and Rank
  • Signature
  • Highlight
  • Heat Map
  • Hot Spot

For the best experience using Qualtrics, please review the Qualtrics Browser Compatibility guidance and ensure you are using a compatible browser.

Statements on this page about the accessibility of Qualtrics’ survey software are based on accessibility testing done most recently in July 2023 and may no longer represent the current status of the software. 

Vendor Accessibility Documentation

A copy of the Qualtrics Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) can be requested through the Qualtrics Support Center (select login with SSO and log in with “cuboulder” as the Organization ID).

General Qualtrics Accessibility Issues

This section shares information about general accessibility and usability issues identified in the Qualtrics platform and recommended workarounds survey creators can implement to improve the respondent experience.

Disclaimer: The Qualtrics survey creator interface is currently not accessible to users who may be using alternative forms of access, including assistive technology users. 

Identified IssueRecommended Workaround
Headings are not available on respondent-facing survey pages, making surveys difficult to navigate for respondents using assistive technology.Add page breaks to your survey. This does not completely solve the issue, but it does help by creating smaller sections for users to navigate.
Even though survey questions are numbered in the creator interface, questions are not numbered for respondent-facing survey pages.Include the question number (for example, “Question 7”) as part of the question text. 
When submitting a survey, instead of a submit button, there is a “Next” button. This can be confusing and lead respondents to think they have not completed the survey.Add a text field at the beginning of the survey to inform respondents approximately how long the survey will take. Add another text field after the last question stating the survey is at its end.
There is no option to save and resume a survey.Keep surveys short, when possible, and share with respondents approximately how long the survey will take and/or how many pages there are. Additionally, do not impose time limits as it can take longer for a respondent to navigate a survey if they are using assistive technology.
Date field formats aren’t uniform.Specify the date format for any date fields.
If a question is marked as required by the survey creator, it is not apparent to respondents. If respondents skip a required question and select “Next”, then they receive an error message.Include the text “(Required)” in the question text for all required questions.

Best Practices for Accessible Survey Creation

If you are creating a survey(s) using Qualtrics, please follow the guidelines below to ensure you are providing an accessible survey experience for your respondents.

  • Incorporate accessible content design practices into your survey creation. Resources for learning the basics of accessible content design include:
  • Include information about who respondents can contact if they are unable to complete the survey due to an accessibility barrier. Here is an example statement you can add at the beginning of all surveys: “This survey may be inaccessible to assistive technology users due to Qualtrics accessibility issues. If you experience problems with the survey, please contact [insert email address]." Please provide the email address of a responsible party who will handle accommodation requests.
  • When creating a Qualtrics survey, run the Qualtrics Accessibility Checker. This will highlight any inaccessible question types and survey configuration settings that should be modified for better accessibility. 
  • Please ensure any video or audio content you add to your survey (whether it's embedded or linked) has captioning or transcription available. If you embed a video by uploading the file directly to Qualtrics, the captions must be encoded or burned in. If you embed a video via a URL (for example a YouTube video), and there are captions added where the video is hosted, then the captions should be available in Qualtrics too. Please contact the DAO captioning service at Captioning@Colorado.EDU if you need assistance with captioning or transcription options for your survey content.
  • Add alternative text (also known as alt text) for any images used in your survey. Alt text is a written description of the visual content in an image. Please reference the Adding Alt-Text to a Graphic tutorial for instructions. 
    Please note: Qualtrics does not allow creators to mark an image as decorative (which would allow decorative images to be skipped by assistive technologies). Based on this, it is not recommended to use decorative images in Qualtrics. Consider the importance of an image and add alt text to all images used in your survey.

Get Help or Provide Feedback

If you encounter any accessibility issues when using Qualtrics, please contact the IT Service Center at OITHelp@Colorado.EDU or 303-735-4357.

You can also give Qualtrics feedback regarding accessibility of their applications and services through the Qualtrics Support Center (select login with SSO and log in with “cuboulder” as the Organization ID).