Tufts Policies and Best Practices

When creating a survey for Tufts, what considerations might you have before you publish it?

Tufts has a digital accessibility policy requiring that your survey is accessible. Ensuring your survey meets this Tufts policy takes just a few quick steps, which are listed below.

You might also want to consider other Tufts specific functionality, such as implementing completely anonymous responses for the a research survey or more below.

The goal of accessibility is that every person can access your project equally, regardless of how they’re interacting with it. Tufts has a digital accessibility policy requiring that your survey is accessible. When you finish creating your project, walk through the 6 steps below and implement every step that you can.

Any time you make major changes to your project, check the accessibility again.

Change the Page Arrows to Next, Back, and Submit buttons

A survey with an arrow for a next button next to a survey with a next button labeled with the word Next

By default, the next, submit, and back buttons at the bottom of your project are arrows. What these arrows mean is unclear to users. Does clicking an arrow mean to go to the next page of the survey? Or does the arrow submit the form? Are the arrows unrelated to the survey at all? The meaning of all buttons on your survey should be clear, as well as how the users can submit or navigate your form.


Include a Heading 1 Title and Help Contact at the Start of the Project

In a text question include a link to an email address

As the very first question on your survey, add a static text block with a Heading 1 title of your survey and instructions. The title should be a short phrase describing to a user what the entire survey is about. The instructions should include any information the user should know before filling out the form, as well as a contact if they need help - for example, perhaps your project has a question type that doesn't work with a user's accessibility tools and they can't answer the question.

Add Alt Text to all Images

Good alt text examples like "Plug in the phone at the bottom" contrasted to bad alt text examples like "phone plug wall"

What if a person can’t access the image? They may have slow internet and images won’t load – what text should appear on the screen instead? What if a person is using a screen reader and cannot see the images – what text should the screen reader out loud? Alt text allows you to tell users who cannot see an image what that image is.

Add Headings to Introductory Text

A large text block next to a large text block divided by large Heading text

Headings tell people what the text is about, make text blocks easier to read and digest, and, most importantly, without them, screen reader users don’t see the text at all! Without headings on textual content that is present either before or between form fields, a screen reader user doesn’t have an easy way to jump to that textual content – once the screen reader software enters “forms mode”, the user is essentially moving from form field to form field, skipping those text blocks.

  • How? Follow these steps to use the rich content editor. 
  • Tip : Qualtrics gives you choices of which heading size to use. Have exactly one Heading 1 in a text block at the beginning of your project to put your project title on the top of each page. Then, on the rest of the page, use a Heading 2 for each new topic in a text block, and a Heading 3 (which is slightly smaller) for each sub-topic. If you have a sub-topic of a sub-topic, use a Heading 4, and so on, increasing the number each time. Commonly, projects have one Heading 1, many Heading 2s and several Heading 3s.
  • Tip: Be careful not to make the whole paragraph a heading - just the section heading!


    Modify the Project Display Name

    A browser window with three tabs with different unique titles

    The display name is the text that appears in a browser tab. By default, all projects have the same default “Qualtrics” browser tab text. If someone has multiple projects open, how will they know which is yours?

    • How? Follow these steps to rename your project.
    • Tip: Browser tabs are frequently small, so keep this text specific but only a few words, if possible. Start with the most specific. For example, “Course Evaluation Survey – Tufts University” rather than “Tufts University – Course Evaluation Survey.”

    If Your Project is More than One Page, Add a Progress Bar with a Percentage Counter

    Survey progress bar showing that we are 25% through a survey

    How will someone know how far along they are in your project? Displaying a progress bar allows users to know how much of the project they’ve finished and how much they have left, and adding a percentage counter makes it accessible to people who cannot see the visible bar.

    Qualtrics can guess a user's location based on their IP address or geographic range, which you can then use to show or hide questions in your survey. This is called "GeoIP display logic". For example, you can show a survey only to those within the United States, or hide some questions from GDPR countries.

    Note: Please note that GeoIP Logic will not work if you have enabled the strict Anonymize Responses setting enabled (not to be confused with the "Anonymous Link" URL). The Anonymize Responses setting strips out the respondent's location information, which GeoIP Logic relies on.

    Using GeoIP Logic:

    Click here to walk through configuring GeoIP display logic.

    Note: On this page, you'll find a list of Qualtrics country codes.

    Use case: Block access to your survey from anyone coming from a specific location:

    1. Start the survey with a descriptive text question. Include some text such as, “Due to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), we are regrettably unable to offer you the chance to take this survey. We thank you for your consideration and your willingness to participate.” You will show this question only to those outside of your desired geographic region. This way, every user, regardless of location, will see text on your survey page and not think the link is simply broken.
    2. Set up your GeoIP Display Logic on this new question #1 for those you don't want to take your survey.
    3. To this new question #1 you've just created, add Skip Logic: If this question “Is Displayed”, skip to “End of Survey.”
    4. In the below screenshot, we have a survey we only want to display to those in the United States. Our first question has Display Logic showing the question to only those not in the United States, followed by Skip Logic sending the user to the end of the survey. The rest of the survey can be built as normal.
    • Use display logic and skip logic on the same question

    Use case: Present a single question only to respondents within the correct location

    On any specific question you'd like to show to a specific geographic demographic, use the Display Logic for GeoIP Location as described above. Only include skip logic if you want to jump from that question to elsewhere in the survey.

    Use case: GDPR Specifics

    A common use case for GeoIP logic is GDPR, which necessitates either blocking access to a survey from, or presenting information and a question only to, respondents with an EEA IP address.

    1. For the display logic, you’ll select “GeoIP Location” and then “Location from Map.
    2. Then, click on the EEU countries.
    3. Unfortunately, Liechtenstein cannot be selected on the map and that will need to be entered manually.

    The display logic will look like this:

    Choose all EU countries from the map

    In Qualtrics, you have two choices for anonymous responses.

    • In almost all use cases, using the standard Anonymous Link distribution is sufficient. This is the default option for distributing surveys and will create one single link that you can widely distribute. You will only have the respondents' names, emails, or other personal information if you create a survey question asking for it. Click here to see how to create an anonymous link for distribution.
    • This option will work for almost all use cases. However, the default anonymous link distribution still records a small amount of information: the respondent's IP address and location data. If you need to go a step further (e.g. if your survey is for research purposes and the survey needs to be thoroughly scrubbed of all identifying information), there is an Anonymizing Responses setting. Click here to see how to enable the Anonymizing Responses setting.

    Important: The Qualtrics feature GeoIP Logic will not work with this strict Anonymize Responses setting enabled. This Anonymize Responses setting strips out the respondent's location information, which GeoIP Logic relies on.

    If you are concerned about fraudulent responses, such as if you plan to distribute surveys with rewards and incentives outside of Tufts University, please note that it is not possible to completely prevent fraudulent responses. If you do find your survey protections are being circumvented and your survey is being abused, the best solution is to pause response collection.

    Before publishing a survey with incentives, implement as many of the below steps as you can. Follow the links in each step to see a walk through for that step.

    • Prevent multiple submissions from the same user browser (previous called preventing ballot box stuffing)
    • If it's limited to Tufts participants, put a Tufts login screen at the beginning of the survey (instructions above)
    • If you have a specific list of individuals whom will take the survey, set the survey to invitation only and/or use the Email or Personal Link distribution methods.
    • Add a survey password. While there is no limitation to the number of times a password can be guessed and thus this can be broken through, it is still a good deterrent for less motivated individuals.
    • Add a referral website requirement, which requires that individuals taking your survey must come from a specific location (such as another survey or a Tufts website) rather than simply copy and paste the URL to all their friends.
      • For example, you might create two surveys: One survey with your research study questions and a second survey to enter a raffle.  On survey #2, require that the referral website is the URL for survey #1 - users can only fill out the raffle survey if they come from the research survey. When users complete the research survey, either automatically redirect them to the raffle survey or show a message linked to the raffle survey like, “Enter your information for your raffle ticket here.”
      • See a walkthrough here of setting up a raffle using two surveys.
    • Prevent search engines from indexing your survey, so your survey does not appear in search results.
    • Be sure you are deleting incomplete survey responses. By default, Qualtrics records incomplete survey responses.
      • For example, your survey might have three questions. An individual could open the survey, answer the first question, then get distracted by an email and never finishes the survey - Qualtrics would, after a week, record this response. Change this setting in Survey Options.
    • Give your survey an expiration date when it will automatically be closed to new respondents.
    • Consider adding a manual review and/or a raffle instead of immediate incentives. For example, instead of automatically sending a gift card to every user when they complete your survey, have a raffle where your department first scans through the responses.

    Note: Qualtrics offers additional paid security features that are not on our license, such as RelevantID, Bot detection, Fraud Detection, and Security Scan Monitor. We have investigated these features and ultimately decided that they were not effective enough. We are not currently changing our license to add these features.