Google Forms Accessibility: Tips for Forms and Surveys

When a shareable form is required to collect information, Google Forms are an effective option for a broad audience, including those who use assistive technology. Google Forms are simpler and more efficient to make accessible than some other formats, like PDF forms, so you can focus more on the content in your form, rather than dedicating extensive time to accessibility checking and remediation. Plus, response data from Google Forms is dynamically collected online so the form creator has efficient and quick access to data.

As you try out Google Forms for your next survey or informational form, check out the following tips to make your form as accessible as possible.

Setup and Settings

  1. Choose a meaningful title that shares your form’s main topic.
    • This succinct and clear title should go in the “Form Title” field.
  2. Give a clear introduction to explain the form’s purpose.
    • Add the purpose in the “Form Description” field.
    • In the “Form Description,” it may also be useful to indicate how many questions the form contains, the estimated time it may take to complete, and a contact person’s email address if any questions arise.
  3. Help a user know how far along they are in a lengthy survey by enabling the “Progress bar.”
    • Go to Settings and turn on “Show progress bar” in “Presentation: Manage how the form and responses are presented: Form Presentation.”
  4. Use colors with strong contrast to help improve text legibility for your entire audience, including those with low vision or color vision deficiencies.
    • Change to colors with strong contrast by modifying the “Theme Color” and the “Background Color” in the “Customize Theme: Theme options” menu.
    • Want to check out the contrast between particular colors? Try out the WebAIM Color Contrast Checker.
  5. Certain more ornate font types may be less legible to portions of your audience, so choose simple fonts.
    • In the “Customize Theme: Theme options” menu, consider selecting one of the less decorative fonts in the “Font Style.”
  6. Your audience may find it useful to know Google Forms shortcuts.
    • Share a complete list of Keyboard shortcuts for Google Forms in your email containing the form link, or remind users they can open a list of shortcuts any time by pressing Ctrl + / (Windows, Chrome OS) or Command + / (Mac).
  7. Form data results and responses can be saved and exported to a file usable in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets for better accessibility and usability for those using assistive technology.
    • Under the “Responses” menu, you can send data to a Google Sheet by clicking “Create Spreadsheet” or you can choose to “Download responses (.csv).”

Content Considerations

  1. If your form has a lot of content, make it easier to understand by organizing it into sections.
    • Separate different sections via the “Add section” option.
  2. Questions and answer options should be written for clarity to ensure the desired information is collected.
    • Define acronyms and unusual words.
    • Provide explanations for answers if needed.
  3. Make links as usable and understandable as possible.
    • Google Forms do not yet support the use of meaningful link names when adding hyperlinks. To make links more usable for everyone, including those using assistive technology, try to use shortened URLs when possible, such as those created by Wake’s Go Link service.
  4. Select accessible versions of any embedded YouTube videos.
    • Review YouTube videos prior to adding them to your form to ensure each video has quality (accurate) captions.
  5. If your form includes images, provide text that shares the intended message so a broad audience can access the image’s meaning, including those who can’t see the image. This text should convey the intended meaning rather than just describing details of the image.
    Rather than the usual Alt Text for image descriptions, Google Forms uses either captions or hover text to share information about images, depending on how the image is added. Recommendations and steps for adding images and descriptions are below:

    • Preferred method: Add an image into an already-created question. Click “Add question” in the “Action toolbar,” then either click the image icon to the right of the question text field (labeled “Add inline image” for screen readers) or click “Add image” to the right of an option (answer) (labeled “Add image to option” for screen readers). Select the 3 vertical dots menu in the upper left-hand corner of the image (labeled “image options” for screen readers) and select the “Add a caption” option. Add text to give a clear and concise image meaning in the “Caption” field. This will be read as an image description for assistive technology users.
    • Alternate method: “Add image” from the “Action toolbar.” This image will not have a caption field, but instead will have a field called “Hover text” that can be used to contain an image description. Hover text serves as both image description and as text that appears when a mouse hovers over an image. Select the 3 vertical dots menu in the upper right-hand corner of the question field (labeled “more options” for screen readers) and then select “Hover text.” Add text to give a clear and concise image meaning in the “Hover text” field.
    • “Hover text” and “Caption” fields are not available for the Form header. If you use an image in the Form header that includes meaningful information, such as text, be sure that information is included in your “Form Description” as well.

Additional Resources

This resource was created by members of the Accessible Content Working Group