Web Surveys and Section 508 accessibility
After launching our first-ever NGO software survey we heard from a number of people who rightly noted that the survey as it is currently hosted on survey monkey is not accessible for web users with disabilities and assistive technologies (sometimes referred to as compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act - see also http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/accessibility.php and http://www.section508.gov/ for more information.)
After some research we found that there is indeed a scarcity of inexpensive, hosted survey solutions available that are fully accessible for people with disabilities.
E. Marie Robertson LSCR (Letters & Science Computer Resources) who is a Web Project Manager at Berkley did a survey on the very same topic just recently. She concluded:
"However, the fully compliant survey generators tend to be software packages that require a fairly expert technical install and configuration, and even those that were web-based often offer compliance only for the higher-priced versions of their services. In short, there was no such thing as a cheap web-based survey generation tool that created Section 508-compliant surveys. And almost none of the survey generation tools themselves were 508-compliant, meaning a person using a screen reader or other assistive technology would have a very difficult time creating surveys with them."
Her results are here: http://ls.berkeley.edu/marie/surveys/
The attached list is a comparison of hosted survey tools that specifically state that they are 508-compliant.
We also looked through all of the tools listed on Surveymoneky http://www.surveymonkey.com/Pricing.asp. and http://www.dotorgmedia.org/Publications/Publications.cfm?ID=79&c=18, and checked a few other randomly googled survey tools. None of the hosted tools (other than those already on our list) even mention 508 compatibility, and their sample surveys completely failed compatability testing (we used Watchfire's WebExact -- http://webxact.watchfire.com/)
Given our budget limitations and data needs for this survey, we have not found another tool that would even allow for a modicum of accessibility. Not a great testament to this industry. Survey Monkey, in a communication with their PR person stated to us: "We are aware that Survey Monkey is currently not 508 compliant; we are working on this, but do not have an ETA."
If you have come across a full-featured, hosted sutrvey application that indeed renders 508-compatible surveys, we sure like to hear about it. Thanks to Jim Fruchterman for pointing this out as well as looking around!