We know that government agencies are held to a high standard when it comes to compliance with Web Content Accessibility Guidlines (WCAG) and standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
We also do regular automated testing on public-facing platform elements using the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE) to ensure that we maintain WCAG AAA compliance (the highest standard available). We also work with a volunteer group every three to six months to have visually impaired users test our surveys.
ADA best practices
When creating a survey project, you have a variety of content and question types to choose from. The majority of question types and project features are accessible for participants using screen readers or other assistive devices; however, certain advanced question types require a bit of extra work to ensure accessibility.
Advanced question formats (such as the consensus or slider types), and geospatial questions (like interactive map response, select shape on map or select shape on image) are inherently visual, and are less compatible with assistive technology and screen readers.
When accessibility is a high priority in surveys – for example, when many participants in your community have visual or cognitive impairments – we recommend using primarily text-based question formats, such as demographic, location, or multiple choice questions.
Understandably, there are times when showing a concept is more effective than describing it - such as asking participants to indicate on a map where they would like a new park, or selecting a preferred design from a photo lineup of options.
In these cases, we recommend that you either include descriptive alt-text for each image, or add explainer text within the question that provides specific guidance on how to respond without using the map or visual function.
For example, on a mapping question, you could say "If you'd prefer, you may also add a comment that includes an address or cross streets describing a location."
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