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Surprising Screen Reader User Survey Results

Surprising Screen Reader User Survey Results

WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind), international web accessibility experts, conducted a survey over August and September 2019 in an effort to capture preferences of screen reader users. The survey was distributed worldwide and the second highest response, at 27%, came from Europe/UK participants.

Allergy information: If facts and figures trigger headaches and fatigue you may wish to hit the home button and see how else we can help you!

I’ll gently open with these statistics that will give you an idea of the participants involved in the survey:

71.3% exclusively rely on screen reader audio, further emphasising the need to consider these users in web design and development.

Surprisingly 12.4% of screenreader users don’t have a disability. Of the remaining 87.6% the majority are using this due to blindness, closely followed by low vision / visual impairment then deafness / difficulty hearing, after that was cognitive and motor difficulties.

15.8% reported multiple disabilities. 4.7% of respondents reported being both deaf and blind.

62.2% consider themselves advanced in terms of screen reader proficiency. Just 5.4% were beginners.

Most felt confident in using the internet. Compared to previous surveys this suggests screen reader users are becoming more accustomed to internet use.

Almost half of screenreader users were aged between 21 and 40.

 

Money Matters

Accessibility is about everybody with or without disabilities having the right to access the contents of the internet. Which begs the question, are screen reader solutions that charge a fee for use, excluding the less privileged who require assistive technology to benefit from online content?

Interestingly 37% downloaded their primary desktop / laptop screen reader free of charge from the internet while 22.7% bought it themselves. 13% were fortunate enough to have it provided by their employer.

The primary screen reader front runners were NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) and JAWS (Job Access With Speech). NVDA is a free, high quality screen reader, accessible to all https://www.nvaccess.org. JAWS provides speech and Braille output for the most popular computer applications on your PC. JAWS isn’t free which could be why for the first time in 10 years it is not the most popular choice.

 

Accessibility First

Many of the results were a very helpful reference for me as a designer especially as accessibility is a priority here at focus. Here are a few findings that may open your eyes to the importance of designing and developing with accessibility in mind.

Top 3 browsers used most often by survey respondents were: Chrome making up for nearly half at 44.4%, Firefox over a quarter at 27.4% and internet explorer 11 at 10.9% (just beating safari at 9.8%). Compared with previous results this shows a sharp increase in chrome usage and a continued decline in the others.

Over 5 times more participants access their screen reader using a windows operating system than than iOS.

Nearly all respondents had JavaScript enabled.

If a text-only or screen reader version of a web site is available the majority of those asked said they would seldom use it.

Mobile and tablet were the most popular choice of device, very closely followed by laptop then desktop. Proving once again that mobile accessibility should not be an afterthought.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday October 01 2019 08:00 AM


Tags: accessibility screenreader survey webdesign webdevelopment


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