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A survey that is accessible will work for everyone.


It will give the organisation better and more inclusive information and data.

A laptop with a question mark on it


Plan one version of the survey. 


Having one survey in technical (complicated) language and another version that is accessible is not inclusive.


It also means that your results from people with intellectual disabilities can not be directly compared to your results for everyone else.


Creating one survey that is accessible and easier to understand for everyone is the best option.

Clear, easy to understand surveys also provide the most meaningful answers.



Think about the survey platform.  


If you are writing an easy to understand survey but it is on a website that uses complicated words for its navigation menu, it will still be difficult for people to understand.

Make sure that the path to get to the survey is also easy to use and understand.



Involve people with intellectual disabilities when you are planning your survey.


You can ask for feedback on: 

  • the language 

  • the format of the survey 

  • the best places to share the survey so it reaches more people


Plan extra time and budget so that people with intellectual disabilities have time to review and give feedback on your survey.​



Explain the background to the survey on the first page.


Everyone taking the survey should understand the aim of the survey and how their answers will be used. 

Meetings, webinars, videos and accessible information are good ways to share this information. 

Make sure to share this information in a clear and easy to understand way. This will help more people see your survey.



Keep your survey as short as possible.

Think about the answers you really need from a survey. Don't ask questions that you don't have a plan for how to use.

Split a longer survey into short sections.


If there are many sections, make sure it is possible to take a break, save, and come back to the survey. Many people struggle to complete a long survey in one sitting.



Give enough time for answering.


Make sure your survey is open for at least a month and give more time for long or difficult surveys.


People with intellectual disabilities may have to wait to get support before they have access to technology or to get support to answer the survey.



Make sure the language is accessible.


Survey questions should be short and easy to understand. 


Use everyday language.


Avoid complicated words, jargon or acronyms without spelling out what the letters stand for.



Plan the types of questions to include in your survey.  

Multiple choice questions are easier to answer, but if there are too many options this can be overwhelming. 

Text box answers can give people an opportunity to share their ideas. Example answers are useful to understand what sort of information the survey is looking for. 

There should always be an option to add extra information. 

Always explain how to answer. For example, if there is a checklist answer, clearly say how many options the person can choose.



Plan accessibility features to use on survey websites and share information on how to use these features.

For example: 

  • read-aloud buttons,

  • options to increase text size

  • ways to change the contrast

  • explanation buttons for additional information.



Think about other ways to share information and make the survey more interesting. 

Including videos with captions in the survey can be a helpful way to explain questions that you want people to answer. 

Videos can introduce different sections of surveys can also help people follow along. 

An introductory video at the beginning of the survey can explain accessibility features.



Using pictures can be helpful for people to understand questions and multiple choice options. 

But the pictures must make sense and relate to the specific survey question. 

Images of people (either illustrations or photos) are easier to understand than symbols.

The best way to choose the right pictures for a survey is to ask people with intellectual disabilities. 



Give people different ways to answer in an online survey.

For example, through submitting audio or video clips rather than only written answers. 

Make sure you share easy to understand information on how to upload these clips at the start of the survey.



Think about other ways to collect survey answers. 


Surveys that are online can be difficult to access if you have technology or data barriers.


Some people with intellectual disabilities may prefer to give their answers in person through a meeting.


You can create PDF versions of your surveys which can be printed out and shared.


Make sure it is clear where the printed surveys need to be returned to and by what date. 

Plan for the extra time that uploading the answers from meetings or printed surveys may take.



Provide space for questions and comments.


Include information about who to talk to if there are questions about the survey.  


Ask for feedback on the submission page of the survey. Ask for feedback about accessibility.



Review translations.


If the survey is being translated into another language, check the final version with a person with an intellectual disability who speaks that language.


Plain language sometimes gets lost in translation.



Share results in an accessible way.


If you collect contact information through your survey, always follow up and share your survey results.

Charts, percentages and long lists are not accessible so think about how to show your data in an easy to understand way. Bulleted points are more accessible than big paragraphs.

Tell people what the information and results are being used for and how they may be able to use the information in their own work.

A survey being sent to a group of people
A group of people with their thumbs up
A tick next to a survey, with a lightbulb to show it is easy to understand
A tick next to a happy woman being asked one question
A cross next a confused woman being asked lots of questions
A clock next to a survey
A cross next to a document with lots of points, a tick next to a document with a few points
A cross next to a man speaking in complicated language, a tick next to a man speaking in clear language
A confused woman listening to a man speak, a happy woman listening to a man provide examples
A group of people giving feedback on surveys

Useful resources

A survey with pictures

Example of an accessible survey

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