In December 2017, results of Screen Reader User Survey #7 by WebAIM were released. The survey was conducted in October and had 1,792 valid responses. The survey had less respondents than the previous survey, but had better world-wide representation.
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.
WebAIM reports that problematic items have changed little over the last 2 years. The top ten are:
The presence of inaccessible Flash content.
CAPTCHA – images presenting text used to verify that you are a human user.
Links or buttons that do not make sense.
Images with missing or improper descriptions (alt text).
Screens or parts of screens that change unexpectedly.
Complex or difficult forms.
Lack of keyboard accessibility.
Missing or improper headings.
Too many links or navigation items.
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.
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!
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!