Category: survey

Assistive Technology Surveys

Digital accessibility experts are often asked about the usage of screen readers and assistive technologies. For example, one will often ask “What’s the most popular screen reader?” This is difficult (if not impossible) to determine technically, but also has privacy implications and other problems.

The following two surveys provide great data and are provided by very reputable organizations. Keep in mind though that the respondents were not controlled and the sample sizes are relatively low.

Are you aware of any other recent related surveys?

A person using a laptop computer wearing headphones and touching a braille output device.
A person using assistive technology.

About WebAIM Screen Reader Survey 4

As you may have heard, the results of the fourth WebAIM screen reader survey are now available. The survey provides valuable information on about screen reader users such as primary screen readers used, browsers used, and reasons for use.

WebAIM reports that problematic items have changed little over the last 2 years. The top ten are:

  1. The presence of inaccessible Flash content.
  2. CAPTCHA – images presenting text used to verify that you are a human user.
  3. Links or buttons that do not make sense.
  4. Images with missing or improper descriptions (alt text).
  5. Screens or parts of screens that change unexpectedly.
  6. Complex or difficult forms.
  7. Lack of keyboard accessibility.
  8. Missing or improper headings.
  9. Too many links or navigation items.
  10. Complex data tables.

Conclusions from the survey include:

  • JAWS is still the primary screen reader, but usage continues to decrease as usage of NVDA and VoiceOver increases.
  • The perception of accessibility of web content is decreasing.
  • 72% of the respondents use a screen reader on a mobile device, up from only 12% three years ago.
  • iOS device usage is significantly increasing and well above that of the standard population. Screen reader users represent a notable portion of the iOS device user market. Usage of Android devices is well below that of non-disabled users.
  • The use of properly structured headings remains of great importance. 

Here are a few great analyses of the survey:

Podcast #95: Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Surveys, more

First, Dennis and Ross discuss a variety of topics including some current surveys and a couple articles about skip-to links. Then Dennis speaks with @JoeDevon and @Jennison about the inaugural Global Accessibility Awareness Day!

Download Web Axe Episode 95 (Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Surveys, more)

[Transcript of podcast 95]

Goings On

  • Ross’ book update.
  • Positive email response to Disability.gov critique.
  • Liz Ellcessor Ph.D. candidate in Media & Cultural Studies at U of Wisc interviews Dennis (Malware warning due to hosting issue).
  • New! a11yBuzz by @KarlGroves, an “accessibility body of knowledge”.
  • 2 updates (validation, open in other browsers) to Web Accessibility Toolbar 2012 by The Paciello Group.
  • Seeing more accessibility jobs in general lately. Hiring good web developers at PayPal in San Jose, San Francisco, Austin; contact @DennisL.

Surveys

Articles

Upcoming Events

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

More on WebAIM’s Screenreader Survey

WebAIM’s Screen Reader Survey a few months ago (October 2009) sure drew a lot of attention, and for good reason. It is a much needed and well written survey, performed by one of the leading organizations in web accessibility, WebAIM. Here are some articles written in response to the survey. If you know any others, please leave a comment and let us know!

Related Articles

My Observations

Some of the more outstanding results of the survey I believe are:

  • 75% of respondents said they do NOT have JavaScript turned off (most had it on).
  • The most problematic items seem to be the same predictable items, unfortunately. The top 10 includes CAPTCHA, Flash, alternative text, forms, and headings.
  • 42% surveyed said they didn’t know ARIA Landmarks for navigation existed. I highly suspect this number will steadily decrease.
  • Although over 66% of users reported JAWS as their primary screen reader, almost half said that free or low-cost screen readers (such as NVDA or VoiceOver) are currently viable alternatives.
This post is sponsored by: Web hosting at Hosting.com

Accessible YouTube Sites

There are two web accessible versions of the popular YouTube video web site, that I’m aware of at least. (If you know others, please comment.) They are “Easy YouTube” and “Accessible Interface to YouTube”.

One big issue is that captioning doesn’t appear to be supported on either site. I’ve never worked with the YouTube API (yet), but I’m assuming there are technical blockers here. (Please comment if you know more!) Flash and JavaScript are required for both sites.

Both sites have excellent markup and implement great accessibility improvements. But as with any site, more enhancements can be made. Here’s a quick review each.

Easy YouTube

JavaScript expert Chris Heilmann developed this site in 2008. You can search for a video or enter the URL of a specific YouTube video. You can also choose from three video sizes. Excellent documentation and help is provided.

Suggestions:

  • Missing H1 tag.
  • Add highly visible hover/focus states on elements.
  • Add captioning support, if possible.
  • Implement ARIA.
  • Add video comments content.

Accessible Interface to YouTube

This is a more recent accessible YouTube interface. The author is unknown. (I’d like to know who you are as it’s very well done!) The interface is very simple yet informative; it display video details and comments. ARIA is implemented, but I have not fully tested it. There’s also a survey you may take to help further development.

Suggestions:

  • Add highly visible hover/focus states on elements.
  • Add captioning support, if possible.
  • Add controls for volume adjustment.