SurveyMonkey is built to handle every use case and need. Explore our product to learn how SurveyMonkey can work for you.

Get data-driven insights from a global leader in online surveys.

Integrate with 100+ apps and plug-ins to get more done.

Build and customise online forms to collect info and payments.

Create better surveys and spot insights quickly with built-in AI.

Purpose-built solutions for all of your market research needs.


Measure customer satisfaction and loyalty for your business.

Learn what makes customers happy and turn them into advocates.

Get actionable insights to improve the user experience.

Collect contact information from prospects, invitees and more.

Easily collect and track RSVPs for your next event.

Find out what attendees want so that you can improve your next event.

Uncover insights to boost engagement and drive better results.

Get feedback from your attendees so you can run better meetings.

Use peer feedback to help improve employee performance.

Create better courses and improve teaching methods.

Learn how students rate the course material and its presentation.

Find out what your customers think about your new product ideas.


Best practices for using surveys and survey data

Our blog about surveys, tips for business and more.

Tutorials and how-to guides for using SurveyMonkey.

How top brands drive growth with SurveyMonkey.

Contact SalesLog in
Contact SalesLog in

The internet is for everyone – creating accessible online forms

Meet new website standards by offering accessible online forms. Our tips can help.

Accessibility is a core tenet of good modern web design. Ensuring your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, is standard across the web. Many places, such as the US, have legal requirements for web accessibility. Online forms are no exception. 

Accessible forms ensure that every user can access and properly complete your online form. Whether its purpose is event registration, feedback, job applications or something else, enable anyone to use your forms with our form accessibility best practices.

Some 16 million adults in the UK live with some form of disability. The web is intended to work for all people, so web accessibility efforts are necessary to remove barriers to interaction and communication online. And accessibility doesn’t just have an impact on people with disabilities. Accessible forms and websites also benefit people using mobile devices with small screens, older people with changing abilities due to ageing, people with slow internet connections or limited bandwidth, and others with situational or temporary disabilities that disrupt their capacity for web use in the short term.

If your website or online form isn’t accessible, you’re potentially excluding a large portion of the population from accessing your site or service.

In today’s world, we perform many tasks online. The internet is a critical resource for education, work, healthcare, banking and many other functions. An inaccessible website is similar to a business with no ramp or an inaccessible entrance. It bars some people from entering. When people are excluded from using these resources due to inaccessible websites or forms, they are effectively shut out of participating in these aspects of modern society. For example, an online registration form that isn’t accessible may prevent users with disabilities from registering for an event.

Everyone should have an equal opportunity to access online content. Embrace inclusivity by making your site and forms support individuals who are neurodiverse, visually impaired or older. As good humans, making our online content accessible is the right thing to do.

Accessible form design and web design afford your business a wider audience who will have an enhanced experience on their journey through your website. An accessible design will also increase web traffic and customer engagement and lead to more conversions. It will have a positive impact on usability for older people, those with limited access to technology and those in rural areas or developing countries. Ignoring the needs of users with disabilities excludes a huge group of potential customers.

The World Federation of Advertisers estimates that the disability market influences over $13 trillion (approx. £10 trillion) in annual disposable income. In other words, the accessibility of your website and online forms can make you money, or cost you money.

In general, web accessibility best practices are defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) with their Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), which sets international standards for web accessibility.

In addition to WCAG, there are established legal frameworks that ensure internet accessibility. For example, in the USA, if you run an American government website, you’re bound by section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In the USA, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is not considered a broadly enforceable law but is often cited in civil suits filed against websites whose owners have not met accessibility standards, so it’s important to understand their standards as well.

There are four main criteria set forth in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 requirements. Each of these criteria addresses a different accessibility need and offers ways to fulfil each one. The WCAG Quick Reference guide provides direction for meeting each of these criteria. Let’s take a high-level look at each one in terms of how it affects your online forms.

The first criterion for accessible form design indicates that users must be able to easily perceive page content. There are a few points in this section that are applicable to forms:

  • Provide text alternatives for any non-text content, such as controls.
  • If your form includes a video, ensure that it is appropriately captioned.
  • Create content in a meaningful sequence.
  • Don’t use colour as the only means of conveying information.
  • Ensure adequate contrast between text, background and images.

The second criterion indicates that users must be able to operate the core functionality of the form easily. As far as forms go, bear these points in mind:

  • Content should be easy to navigate with a range of input devices.
  • Content should be operable through the use of a keyboard interface.
  • Headings, labels and titles should be used to describe topics and the purpose of the content.

The third criterion set forth by WCAG 2 is that content on a website should be simple, clear and easy to understand. Overly complicated language or terminology can make it difficult for some users to understand what is being presented, particularly if they have cognitive impairments. Be mindful of these points when creating an online form:

  • Use clear, concise language.
  • Avoid idioms and jargon.
  • Identify abbreviations.
  • Keep the reading level at or below lower secondary education level if possible.
  • Ensure that error identification is described if an input error occurs.
  • Use labels or instructions when content requires input.
  • Provide context-sensitive help.

The fourth and final criterion concerns making content robust enough to be interpreted by a wide range of user agents, including assistive technology (e.g. screen readers). For online forms, consider these points:

  • Use appropriate markup languages, tags and elements.
  • SurveyMonkey ensures that your forms are properly compatible and programmed to function appropriately with assistive technology.

When you’re ready to create your first accessible online form, be mindful of the fact that disabilities can take many forms and can have an impact on the way users can access and interact with websites. Because of this, there are many different ways in which organisations can ensure that their websites and forms remain accessible to all. 

We’re going to outline some of the more prominent ways in which you can improve accessibility in your web forms. Bear in mind the fact that there are many more, but for now let’s start with these form accessibility best practices. 

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your content is readable by those with limited vision is to use text and other page elements that are properly contrasted with the form background. Higher contrast levels make it easier for all users to read the text and also improve readability for individuals with colour blindness.

SurveyMonkey offers classic and standard themes compliant with the USA's Section 508 standards that you can choose for your forms. Just look for the accessible survey icon when choosing a theme.

Our Heritage, Arctic, Iceberg, Pastel, Aqua and Charcoal themes comply with Section 508 standards. These themes can be found under the style tab in the form builder.

Users with visual impairments often use screen reader technology to read and interact with online content. The technology reads the form content aloud and also provides information about other elements on the page. 

For screen readers to function properly, they need to be able to discern and communicate to the user what a form field is looking for. Don’t assume that placeholder text within the form field is enough. A label must be added directly adjacent to the field to clearly identify what information should be provided. In addition, all form controls, including fields, tick boxes and radio buttons, should have an accompanying <label> attribute within the page code.

SurveyMonkey ensures that all forms created with our online form builder have all the correct coding in the backend.

Screen readers and other software have come a long way, but they still aren’t great at interpreting the contents of images or videos. You may want to avoid using these assets in your forms to make them more accessible.

In cases where an image or video is necessary, include descriptive alt text. Alt text is an attribute you can add to your image or video that will be read aloud to those using screen readers. It should describe the appearance or function of the image or video on the form. 

Alt text should be very descriptive. For example, for an image of a stack of waffles, you could simply use 'waffles' as your alt text. A better version would be 'a stack of Belgian waffles with butter and syrup'. The second option provides a more accurate description of the image and is more helpful to a user who has limited vision.

Some fields on your form will be required and others may be optional. Although you may choose to use a different colour to indicate required fields, this won’t be effective for all users. 

Required fields are marked with an asterisk by default in SurveyMonkey and it’s important to explain in your survey introduction that fields with asterisks are required fields.

As an example, let’s look at feedback forms. Regardless of the type of feedback you’re looking for, it’s a good idea to make some of the questions optional. A customer feedback form may ask for particulars about the user’s experience with Brand A. These questions need to be answered, so they should be required. At the end of the survey, the user may be asked whether they have any further comments about their experience with Brand A. This should be an optional field, so if they have no more to add to what they’ve already included in the form, they can skip the question and still submit the form without encountering any errors.

Screen readers and other accessibility tools are less reliable when on-screen content changes quickly. The 'one question at a time' format will show online form fields one at a time, revealing a new field after the other one is completed. This rapidly changing format is not compatible with most accessibility tools and will end up frustrating users. Instead, group questions by theme and only use multiple pages if necessary.

  • Matrix of dropdown menus
  • Click map
  • Accepting payments page
  • Multilingual surveys (screen readers won’t be able to choose the preferred language for a dropdown)
  • Forced ranking for matrix/rating scale questions

Why follow form accessibility best practices? Basically, because there are potential consequences you’ll have to face if your form isn’t accessible. The two having the most impact are form abandonment and legal action.

As we’ve mentioned, there are a large number of people with disabilities in our population. When your content is accessible, you can connect with a larger audience, which leads to more people encountering and using your online form. If individuals cannot use your form properly, they will abandon it, causing you to lose their feedback, registration or other input.

Although laws applicable to web accessibility aren’t generally enforceable, some organisations will file lawsuits against the owners of websites that don’t meet accessibility standards. These suits have increased in recent years. To avoid these legal issues, ensure that your forms are as accessible as possible.

To make the most of your online form, use SurveyMonkey to ensure that it’s accessible to the largest number of people. Follow our form accessibility best practices and tips to create a successful form.

Speaking of forms, we have an online form builder to help you build and share your registration, feedback, complaint, payment and other online forms with ease. You build and customise forms for any purpose and use integrations to accept payments, automate workflows and more. 

All it takes to get started is a SurveyMonkey account. To create more surveys with your team, choose the plan that’s right for you today!