Alternatives to Inaccessible Question Types

This page will be updated as question types are made accessible, alternative question formats are found, or as question types no longer meet web accessibility standards.  




Inaccessible Question Types Include:

Matrix: Bipolar 

Bipolar Matrix questions consist of a descriptive label followed by a row of unlabeled radio buttons which is followed by a second label. The purpose of this question is to allow users to answer a question within a range of options. Learn more >>

Why is it inaccessible? The lack of labels on the middle buttons make the question difficult to interpret. JAWS (a screen reader for visually impaired) reads two right-hand descriptors for each line; it reads the descriptor for the line above it before reading the descriptor for that line.

Alternative - To make Bipolar question type accessible, use side by side question type.

You will need two columns. Change the second column to text input, then go to the gear icon to make the words default by going to the add Default Choices. Go to the gear icon again to add JavaScript to make the words read only. 

You will want to add the code under Qualtrics.SurveyEngine.addOnReady(function()

Place your code in the spot that says: /*Place your JavaScript here to run when the page is fully displayed*/ 

Here is the code you will use: 


    var inputs = this.getQuestionContainer().getElementsByTagName('input');

    for(var i=0; i<inputs.length; i++) {


        if(inputs[i].type == 'text') {

            inputs[i].readOnly = true;




You will have to do this for every bipolar question you have on your survey.

Place this information in the Look & Feel menu > Style > Custom CSS to take off the border and make the text transparent.


.Skin .InputText,

input[type=text] {

background-color : transparent;

border: none   !important;




Matrix: MaxDiff

MaxDiff subtype of the Matrix question is meant for use when there are two contrasting options someone might have on various items. For example, typical column titles are LIKE and DISLIKE. Learn more >>

Why is it inaccessible? MaxDiff matrix questions have a confusing structure to screen reader users. Visually, there should be 3 columns: a left-side description such as Like, a middle column with the row names, and a right-side descriptor such as Dislike.  

Alternative - Choose the Matrix: Likert sub-type and use 2 scale points instead of the default 5 points. 


Rank Order (Drag and Drop, and Select Box)

With the Drag and Drop type, respondents drag items into their preferred order. This variation is appropriate for shorter lists where you want respondents to rank each item. Pick, Group, and Rank questions allow respondents to drag and drop items into groups. Within each group, respondents can rank items by dragging and dropping them into place (as they would with a Rank Order question). Learn more >>

Why is it inaccessible? Individuals who only use the keyboard to navigate are not able to drag survey items.

Alternative -  The Text Box type or Radio Button type are alternatives to Drag and Drop ranking. Respondents select items and then rank them by clicking the arrows to move each item up and down. 


Multiple Choice: Multi Select Box

The Multi Select Box subtype of the Multiple Choice question type contains a list of items from which multiple options can be selected. Learn more >>

Why is it inaccessible? It is not clear that these boxes allow multiple selections, so the function is unclear to screen reader users. Additionally, it is impossible to select answers that are not adjacent to each other using a keyboard only.

Alternative -  


Slider Questions

The Slider Question types are a more interactive alternative to the Matrix Table question. Rather than simply selecting a scale point, respondents drag a bar to indicate their preference level. They include Bars, Sliders, and Stars plus graphic sliders, which are Ten Gauge, Thermometer, Stop Light, Smile and Smile Horizontal, Grades +/- and Grades, Horizontal Bars, Disks, and Building Blocks. Learn more>>

Why is it inaccessible? Individuals who only use the keyboard to navigate are not able to use the slider function.

Alternative -  


Constant Sum

Constant Sum questions provide respondents a way to enter numeric data. Each numeric entry is summed and can be displayed to the respondent. Learn more>>

Why is it inaccessible? Only the sliders and bars version of this question type are inaccessible.

Alternative - Try using the question type without using sliders and bars.


Hot Spot

The Hot Spot question type is used to gather feedback on images. With this question type, the respondent is presented with an image that has predefined regions to select from. Learn more>>

Why is it inaccessible? Visually impaired individuals may not be able to identify the image and would then be unable to select the predefined regions of the image.

Alternative -  


Heat Map

The Heat Map question type is used to gather feedback on images. The respondent is presented with an image and invited to click anywhere on that image. Unlike the Hot Spot question, respondents are not limited to selecting pre-determined regions of the image. Hidden regions may, however, be added for reporting purposes. Learn more>>

Why is it inaccessible? Visually impaired individuals may not be able to identify the image and would then be unable to click on it. 

Alternative -  


Upload File Type

The upload file question type does not pass the accessibility checker as of 4/12/2022. That means if you have an upload file question type in your survey it will not publish. 

To publish a survey with a file upload option you will need to contact Linda Charlton Gunderson to get permission to publish your survey.

Video Tutorials

Through this series of tutorial videos, learn how to change non-accessible question types to accessible question types. 


How to Change Matrix Questions to Side-by-Side Questions
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