Qualtrics - Accessibility

Last Updated: 07/15/2019

Qualtrics Accessibility Topics

What is Accessibility?
Qualtrics Accessibility Status
Information for Users with Disabilities
Information for Instructors and Survey Creators
Service Roadmap & Accessibility Documentation
Get Help or Provide Feedback

What is Accessibility?

‘Accessible’ means a person with a disability is afforded the opportunity to acquire the same information, engage in the same interactions, and enjoy the same services as a person without a disability in an equally effective and equally inclusive manner, with substantially equivalent ease of use.

Qualtrics Accessibility Status

The Qualtrics survey platform utilizes a number of inaccessible question types that some respondents may not be able to complete with assistive technology such as screen readers. Most inaccessible question types have been disabled for use by CU Boulder survey creators to promote equal access for survey recipients. However, the question types available to CU Boulder survey creators still have a number of known accessibility and usability issues. OIT is working with Qualtrics to obtain commitments for remediating these issues.

The Qualtrics survey creator interface is currently not accessible to screen reader users and may not be fully accessible to keyboard-only users or screen magnifier users. For the best experience using Qualtrics in your browser, we recommend using Safari or Chrome.

Statements on this page about the accessibility of Qualtrics’ survey software are based on accessibility testing done most recently in December 2018 and may no longer represent the current status of the software.

Information for Users with Disabilities

Survey-Taking Issues

Likert Matrix

Bipolar Matrix

Multiple Choice: Multi Select Box

Matrix: MaxDiff

Are you seeing an issue not listed here? Report your problem to OIT.

Survey-Creating Issues

The survey creator side of Qualtrics is currently inaccessible to screen reader users and may not be fully accessible to keyboard-only users or screen magnifier users.

If you are asked to create a Qualtrics survey as part of a course, please notify your instructor that the survey creator interface is not accessible. If you and your instructor would like assistance identifying an accessible survey creation tool for your coursework, please contact help@colorado.edu.

Information for Instructors and Survey Creators

If you are using Qualtrics surveys in your course, make sure you follow the guidelines below under “Information for Survey Creators”. If you are requiring your students use the Qualtrics platform to create surveys, be aware that the survey creator interface is not accessible to some users with disabilities. Additionally, we recommend including information about the best practices for creating accessible surveys in your course.

Checking Survey Accessibility

When creating a Qualtrics survey, run the Qualtrics Accessibility Checker. This will highlight any inaccessible question types as well as survey configuration settings that should be modified for better accessibility. For guidance on how to resolve the configuration setting recommendations, please consult the Common Survey Accessibility Suggestions section of the Survey Configuration page.

  • The survey configuration options include changing the default survey title, showing question numbers, and changing the text on the navigation buttons.
  • Screen readers typically read the survey title first, so having an accurately named survey is important to help screen reader users find your survey, especially if they have multiple tabs or multiple Qualtrics surveys open.
  • Enabling question numbers helps users keep track of the order of the questions. You can enable this under Survey Options → Survey Experience.
  • Please note: if you plan to use Survey Logic, you should add a note to the top of your survey that says: “Due to the use of survey logic, question numbers may not follow sequentially as you proceed through the survey.” This will help ensure that users do not believe that they have skipped a question accidentally.
  • If the accessibility checker indicates you are using an inaccessible question type, see the “Inaccessible Question Types” section below for examples of workarounds using accessible question types.

Enabled Question Types to Avoid

There are a few question types currently enabled in the CU Boulder instance of Qualtrics that have inaccessible subtypes that cannot be turned off for campus without turning off the entire question type. Please follow the guidance below to ensure your survey is accessible.

Using Images and Videos in Qualtrics

If you embed a video in your Qualtrics form, please ensure that it has captions encoded or burned in. Please contact the captioning service for assistance with this.

If you use any images in your survey, they must have alt text provided for them. Alt text describes in words what the image displays if the image is relevant to the meaning of the form. If an image is purely decorative, you do not need to provide alt text. For more help with alt text, see the Qualtrics - Adding Alt-Text to a Graphic tutorial or Qualtrics’s Image Properties documentation.

Inaccessible Question Types

To ensure that every survey created at CU Boulder is accessible to individuals using screen readers and other assistive technology, CU Boulder only enables question types in Qualtrics that are accessible to assistive technology users. Inaccessible question types include any question that requires the user to use drag and drop, has a slider, or requires interaction with graphics. Using accessible question types ensures that individuals with low vision, blindness, or other disabilities will be able to complete your survey, as well as ensuring you are acting in accordance with the university’s Accessibility of Information and Communication Technology Policy and Standards.

If you attempt to send a survey with inaccessible question types, you will receive an error message titled Activate Survey Failed. You will need to remove the inaccessible question types from your survey before continuing.

Activate Survey Failed error message example

The inaccessible question types that have been disabled are listed below, along with examples of suggested workarounds using accessible question types (The list of question type accessibility is also available on Qualtrics’s site). All inaccessible question types will appear greyed-out in Qualtrics. If you need help adapting your survey to only utilize accessible question types, please contact the IT Service Center at help@colorado.edu or at 30­­­3-735-4357 (5-HELP from an on-campus phone) to schedule a consultation.

Accessible Question Types Inaccessible Question Types
  • Descriptive Text
  • Graphic (if alt text is added)
  • Multiple Choice
  • Matrix - (except Bipolar and Maxdiff)
  • Text Entry
  • Side by Side
  • Drill Down
  • Timing
  • Meta Info
  • File Upload
  • Net Promoter® Score
  • Captcha Verification
  • Slider
  • Rank Order
  • Pick, Group, and Rank
  • Matrix - (Bipolar and Maxdiff)
  • Constant Sum
  • Graphic Slider
  • Hot Spot
  • Heat Map

Accessible Workarounds for Inaccessible Questions

Some of the following workarounds require the use of Display Logic. For assistance with this tool, please contact Qualtrics through the Qualtrics Support Center (login with “cuboulder” as the Organization ID), or call the Qualtrics Support Center at 1-800-340-9194.

Non-Accessible Question Type Accessible Question Type Alternative

Constant Sum (Slider)

Examples of Slider subtypes and their level of accessibility

A Text Entry or Matrix (Constant Sum or Text Entry) question is the best accessible alternative. This allows respondents to type their choices into a text box rather than having to use a drag-and-drop or visual interface.

Slider to Text Entry (Form) Workaround Example

Rank Order;

Examples of Rank Order subtypes and their level of accessibility

A Likert Matrix can be used in place of a Rank Order question. Each possible rank will be assigned its own column. You must enable Custom Validation for every column to restrict the user from selecting more than one answer per rank.

Rank Order to Likert Matrix Workaround Example

Pick, Group, and Rank

A series of Likert Matrix questions will substitute for a Pick, Group, and Rank question by allowing users to select a group for a series of statements and indicate a level of rank for each. However, this workaround will not allow you to require each rank be assigned to only one option unless you know how many options will be assigned to each group ahead of time.

Pick, Group, and Rank To Likert Matrix Workaround Example (when there are a set number of items in each group)

Pick, Group, and Rank To Likert Matrix and Text Entry Workaround Example (when there are variable items in each group)

Matrix (Bipolar);
Matrix (Maxdiff)

It is recommended to simply use a Likert Matrix question (of type Dropdown).

Bipolar to Likert Matrix Workaround Example

MaxDiff to Likert Matrix Workaround Example

Constant Sum

Examples of Constant Sum subtypes and their level of accessibility

Recommended subtype: Choices.

Subtypes Bars, Sliders, and Constant Sum are not fully accessible to all users.

Graphic Slider

It is recommended to use a Multiple Choice question instead with answer choices that correspond to the appropriate graphic options.

Graphic Slider to Multiple Choice Workaround Example

Heat Map; Hot Spot

Both heat map and hotspot questions do not have an accessible alternative because they are based on the respondent viewing an image and selecting regions or points on an image, which is an inherently visual task.

Exception Requests

Exceptions may be granted if you have a business or research need to send a survey that is inaccessible and/or that contains inaccessible question types. If an exception is needed for multiple students in a course, the request must be submitted by the instructor on behalf of the students.

To request an exception, please fill out the Qualtrics Accessibility Exception Request form. The Digital Accessibility Program will review your request and determine if an exception can be made in this case. In the meantime, please consider the Accessible Workarounds for Inaccessible Questions in the previous section.

Service Roadmap & Accessibility Documentation

OIT has worked with the CU Accessibility and Usability Lab to test Qualtrics' new interface. We will be working with the vendor to resolve issues that have surfaced, and will update this page as additional information becomes available.

If you would like to receive a copy of the Qualtrics VPAT, please contact the Qualtrics Support Center (select login with SSO and log in with “cuboulder” as the Organization ID), or call the Qualtrics Support Center at 1-800-340-9194.

Get Help or Provide Feedback

OIT has partnered with Disability Services to provide assistance for accessibility issues related to OIT supported services. If you need assistance, please contact the IT Service Center at help@colorado.edu or at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from an on-campus phone).

We want to hear from you about this service. If you’re having problems using this service or you have more information about the accessibility of this service that we should share with others on this webpage, please let us know by contacting the IT Service Center at help@colorado.edu or at 303-735-4357 (5-HELP from an on-campus phone).

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), or call the Qualtrics Support Center at 1-800-340-9194.

Instructions / Tutorials