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    SmartSurvey delivers on Accessibility

    Product update on accessibility

    Accessible surveys offer benefits for all users, so we're delighted to announce that we've launched the first release of our accessible survey theme. The theme is now available for all SmartSurvey users within their Theme Library.

    Join us in 2021 as we improve accessibility across our products.

    Comply with legislation

    Accessibility compliance is mandatory for UK government and public sector clients. So, our new template will enable them to comply with the latest accessibility legislation - the EU Directive on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications.

    Accessibility is vital in other sectors too, with all UK websites legally required to be accessible under the Equality Act 2010 (or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland).

    We can also help international customers meet additional accessibility standards, such as the Section 508.  

    Find out more about our work in the area of accessibility by visiting SmartSurvey's accessibility statement, which summarises our current level of compliance for our surveys. We will update and expand the statement as we make further improvements.

    Accessible surveys can help increase your responses

    1 in 5 people responding to your survey may have a disability

    A significant proportion of your respondents may require accessibility features in order to complete your survey, which if left unresolved could harm your response rate. We want to help you reach everyone, which is why we're following inclusive design principles and accessibility standards.

    Here's some examples of how our new accessible survey theme supports users.

    No-one misses our error messages

    1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women may miss an error message due to colour blindness. Compared with our previous error messages, that might have been missed by someone with colour blindness or low vision, we've now made our error messages colour blind friendly. They are also much easier for everyone to see.

    Screenshot before: Error messages identified by changing the input border colour to red. Screenshot after: Error messages clearly identified with an alert icon inside the form input and a thick red border.
    Screenshot before: Colour blindness filter of error messages identified by changing the input border colour to red. The red is now a brownish green and is much more difficult to identify. Screenshot after: Colour blindness filter of error messages clearly identified with an alert icon inside the form input and a thick red border. The errors are still easy to see though the red has changed to brownish green.

    Our forms are easier to see

    Surveys are harder to complete if users can't see the form fields or read the labels. So, we've improved the contrast of our form keylines, so they're easy to see.

    It's estimated that 2 million people in the UK have some form of sight loss. Improving visibility for people with low vision will also help respondents experiencing screen glare or using poor quality displays.

    Screenshot before: Form input fields are displayed with low contrast borders. Screenshot after: Form input fields are displayed with increased contrast borders.
    Screenshot before: Blurred vision filter of low contrast form input fields. The form fields are difficult to see. Screenshot after: Blurred vision filter of increased contrast form input fields. Though blurred, the form fields are much easier to see.

    Inaccessible surveys may completely exclude blind people

    Due to the visual nature of the web, blind people who rely on screen readers can be completely excluded by inaccessible websites. So, we've improved our code and invited expert screen reader users to give us feedback.

    We know that by making our survey interface screen reader friendly, we will improve the quality of our code and improve usability for everyone. This can be seen in the following example.

    Previously, the labels of this NPS (Net Promoter Score) scale were positioned underneath the options and could easily be missed by screen reader users. By placing the labels above the scale and adding a bit of coding magic (ARIA), we've made the question more accessible to screen reader users. We believe placing the labels before the scale makes it easier for everyone.

    Screen reader example:

    Screenshot before: NPS scale question. The scale is displayed below the options at the end of the reading order. Screenshot after: NPS scale question. The scale is above the options and is much easier for sighted and screen reader users to identify.

    We've made accessibility our goal

    We've increased resource within our product team to primarily focus on making our survey themes accessible. We've brought in an independent accessibility specialist, so we can go beyond box ticking and embrace inclusive design principles.

    We've invited expert users with access needs to share their experiences and advise us on how we can improve.

    In the future we'll be working to make a larger set of our survey themes accessible as we upgrade various areas of our product. Expect to see further updates during 2021.

    Start building your accessible survey now

    Begin creating your accessible survey

    Use our guides to help you

    Talk to our team if you'd like to find out more at accessibility@smartsurvey.co.uk

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    About Author

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    Tom Barrie

    Tom is a product manager at SmartSurvey, he works closely with our users and the business to develop the product

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