Screen Reader User Survey #4 Results

The results from our most recent screen reader user survey are now available at http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey4/.

There were 1782 valid responses, making this the most popular survey thus far. We hope the data is informative and will help promote more accessible web development.

A few items of note:

  • JAWS is still the primary screen reader, but usage continues to decrease as usage of NVDA and VoiceOver increases.
  • 98.6% of respondents had JavaScript enabled.
  • The perception of free or low-cost screen readers is improving.
  • 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.
  • The items that cause the most difficulty on the web remain largely unchanged over the last 2.5 years, with inaccessible Flash content and CAPTCHA being the most problematic.

View the full survey results.

Comments

  1. Rakesh

    Thank you for sharing the interesting results Jared. Little sad to know that CAPTCHA being one of the challange still. Great to know increase of screen reader users on mobiles implies importance of web accessibility for mobile devices as well.

  2. Jeevan

    Good to know increase in usage of free/open source screen readers and mobile screen readers. a little sad is that CAPTCHA is still being a great challenge.

  3. Mina

    Text captchas are far better if they cannot be avoided at all. The survey is very interesting and helpful. You have done a great job in trying to make it accessible for all, even NVDA users like me. It really helps. I wonder why the survey never includes the deafblind, unless its included and I am not aware of that factor. I wish the survey did not assume I have a cellphone, let alone any phone. Skype/GW Connect is fast becoming an alternative.

  4. Adrian Lopez

    I solve captchas with Webvisum app for FireFox, absolutly free and without fails until now.

  5. Heather Sailes

    This is a very interesting survey about screen reader usage. I use VoiceOver on my IPhone 4S which allows me to access the applications built into the phone and other applications I’ve downloaded onto my IPhone such as Skype. I commend those who conducted the survey for including those of us with visual impairments who use cell phones since many of us in the blind community have them. The finger gestures one has to use with VoiceOver and the IPhone took some getting used to, but it was definitely worth it! In terms of my laptop, I use JAWS for Windows. Maybe I’ll switch to an apple computer many years down the road and use VoiceOver exclusively. It would be interesting to know what age groups were surveyed and how responses might differ according to what age bracket a person falls in.

  6. Bob Easton

    Why are people being “sad” about CAPTCHAs? They’re absolutely evil. Sites that use CAPTCHAs use them instead of implementing real spam prevention techniques. Instead of taking on responsibilities themselves, they push the spam prevention job to the site visitors. That’s simply lazy and wrong. CAPTCHAs must die! The sooner the better.

    Next time, I’ll tell you how I really feel about them.

  7. Curtis Patrick

    Is the raw data available?

    Development team leaders want to only focus on a single browser and a single screen reader. To that request, I tell them JAWS+IE.

    I don’t feel particularly good with the recommendation. I suspect it hits the largest population (based on the browser usage and screen reader stats), but that population may only be around 37.5% of the total population ( [IE8+IE9] * [JAWS] = 37.5%).

    With the raw data, I can more accurately identify how many respondents only use JAWS or NVDA, and which use both.

  8. Jared Smith

    Curtis-

    The full results are not made available, but if you have a specific question, I can analyze the data and post it for you.

    We will be launching another survey in the near future to collect more up-to-date information.

    Targeting a specific browser and screen reader is quite likely to cause frustration and issues, for yourselves and your users. Instead, focus on implementing standards. Testing in multiple combinations is not that difficult, especially with NVDA/Firefix which is free and VoiceOver (if you have access to a Mac).