Category: survey

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 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.



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

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.


  • 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.


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

SurveyMonkey – web accessible or not? NOT!

SurveyMonkey claims Section 508 compliance and web accessiblity, but that is false.

Accessibility Statement? No, but info about accessibility in Help Center.

Tweet from Jared Smith
Survey Monkey’s problem is labeling method. Labels repeat A LOT (up to 6 times!). Turns label of “1” into “one hundred eleven” or “eleven”.

Tweet from mr_beeps
I had assumed the accessibility statement was referring to *future* releases of survey monkey, not the current one!

Despite what Survey Monkey claims, their forms are not very
accessible. They are technically accessible, but not very useful. I’d
maybe consider replacing the radio button options with select menus.
They just seem to me much easier for screen reader users in Survey
Monkey. The problem is that the label for each element is usually read
multiple times (sometime 6 times) because of the way it’s coded. Radio
buttons don’t use fieldset/legend, but the label for each item is
coded multiple ways. The grid of answers were particularly difficult
with JAWS repeating the label for each item over and over and over
again. Putting each in a select menu (“How would you rate Accessible
Twitter’s speed”) would be better.

And this actually causes other significant items. On the “How many
times” question, the labels are repeated multiple times, but JAWS
jumbles them together. The radio button labeled “1” is there two
times, JAWS actually reads “one hundred eleven” the first time it
reads it and “eleven” when you cycle back through the radio buttons.
“2-5” is read as “two dash fifty two, two dash fifty two, dash five”.
Spelling out the numbers would help… a bit, though it would then
read “two dash five two”.

SurveyGizmo’s accessibility statement