Low Vision Survey Results

Results of WebAIM’s recent survey for those with low vision are now available at http://webaim.org/projects/lowvisionsurvey/. A few highlights are found below. The results of our motor disabilities survey will be available soon.

This data underscores that users with low vision are very diverse. The range of vision loss varies greatly, as do the assistive technologies used. The vast majority of respondents use multiple assistive technologies, ranging from screen readers to simply changing text sizes in browsers. There is very high keyboard use in this population, strengthening arguments for ensuring keyboard accessibility.

For respondents that use a screen reader, ZoomText was the most popular, followed by JAWS and VoiceOver. Few respondents use System Access, Window-Eyes, or MAGic, and no respondents reported using ChromeVox.

Respondents report significant usage of mobile devices, with 13% of respondents using a mobile device as their primary device for navigating the web. iOS devices dominate in the mobile area, with 43% of respondents using these devices, and iOS users were more likely to use the accessibility settings of their mobile device.

Internet Explorer usage among respondents is notably higher than the overall population, perhaps suggesting lack of keyboard accessibility or assistive technology support in other browsers.

99.5% of respondents had JavaScript enabled when completing the survey.

Read the full low vision survey results at http://webaim.org/projects/lowvisionsurvey/.

Comments

  1. Radoslaw Sobik

    Detailed report actually very helpful. User Preferences and how their different disability gives you a lot to think about.

  2. Daniel Daughtry-Weiss

    Thank you Jared. Are there plans to do follow up surveys on this topic?

    In terms of problematic issues related to low vision, am I the only one who struggles with the contrast issues with the grey-on-grey scroll bars that dominate Microsoft products? Anyone know of a solution? High contrast mode is overkill for me.

  3. Jared Smith

    Daniel-

    Yes, we will likely have follow-up surveys on this topic.

    I don’t suppose you’re the only one that struggles with contrast issues on Microsoft scroll bars. I’m not an active Windows users, but I think you can use custom themes to style those types of interface elements for increased contrast.

  4. Cliff Tyllick

    Daniel, your question prompted me to investigate the possibilities in Windows 7. Deep into the personalization controls, I found a way to adjust the width of the scroll bar–but not its color.

    I did find that adjusting the border color, in my case to a sort of sage green, makes it easier to see the scroll bar, which remains its original gray, against its background, which also remains its original gray. You might play around with that. As a bonus, I found out that the same panel allows me to turn off that stupid “feature” of making the top of each window transparent. Oh, what a benefit that will be to me!

    The place to find all this stuff is:
    Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization > Personalization > Window Color and Appearance

    At the bottom of that panel, the link to Advanced appearance settings takes you to the interface where I could adjust the width, but not the color, of the scroll bar.

    You might try different variations of the width of the scroll bar and other settings. If you don’t need Microsoft’s version of high contrast to even see the scroll bar–you imply that you don’t–then just making that area a little different might be enough.

    Hope this helps!