WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

Screen Reader User Survey #3 Results

The results from the third WebAIM screen reader user survey have been published at http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey3/ These survey results show interesting trends from the previous January 2009 survey and the October 2009 survey, as well as much new, useful information.

A few items of note:

  • JAWS is still the primary screen reader, but usage is decreasing as usage of NVDA and VoiceOver significantly increases.
  • The perception of free or low-cost screen readers (such as NVDA and VoiceOver) is improving.
  • 98.4% of respondents had JavaScript enabled.
  • Respondent outlook for future web accessibility is optimistic.
  • Two-thirds of the respondents use a screen reader on a mobile device, up from only 12% two years ago.
  • Most respondents find longdesc useful.
  • Social media use among screen reader users with disabilities has increased, though still lags behind respondents that do not have disabilities.
  • 12.8% use screen magnification with their screen reader.
  • Use of headings for page navigation continues to increase while use of “skip” links and access keys has decreased.

We invite you to review the survey results. If you have comments or questions or if there are components of the data you would like us to analyze further, please comment below.


  1. Rich Schwerdtfeger

    Great survey. Can you provide the actual data?

  2. Rich Schwerdtfeger

    raw data

  3. Harry Loots

    Very useful piece of works, Jared.
    I was interested in the comments on Headings. In my own work with various people over the past couple of years I’ve noted a definite increase in the use of Heading elements to navigate through a page. The use of two H1 elements does not however follow a logical sequence and may lead to confusion with certain search engines etc.
    I wonder if your research has not perhaps highlighted an element that’s missing from the dialogue used to present Headings. In the sense that the use of H1 to display the sitename may be important when a page is viewed as an individual page, this will become less important when one is browsing through a collection of pages belonging to the same site. This element, displayed in the dialogue can be drawn from suitable META data or alternatively deduced from the domain name, to assure the user that they are viewing pages from a specific site.
    Thus, in addition to showing Headings in the dialogue, it also shows Sitename or Domain name?

  4. Jared Smith


    We’re going to try to tease some more nuggets out of the data, but will consider releasing them at a future date.

  5. Jared Smith


    The H1 responses were very surprising to us. As you note, there are many arguments against using two H1s on the same page. It certainly should not be viewed as best practice simply because many respondents prefer this.

  6. Marcus Gröber

    Very interesting data that will probably become even more valuable as longer time series start to emerge. One aspect that would perhaps be useful to tease apart (if possible) is the “Other” section in Mobile Platforms, as it is a sizable portion of the total at almost 20%.

    My guess is that it is largely Windows Mobile, given that this is the one major platform with available screen readers that is not explicitly named, but it would be interesting to know for certain, especially with the Windows Mobile to Windows Phone transition underway that will bring marked changes in the level of accessibility.

  7. Amir

    Hi there. Good! JAWS is still the primary screen reader, though it is quite expensive. And, one factor that makes JAWS is the primary choice, is that it cannot easily frozen! Like Window-eyes, or nvda, when firefox is closing, or when installing some programs, it’ll crash till the process ends. JAWS won’t do that at all.


  8. kaveinthran

    Hi there,
    Jaws is being the primary screen reader in blind market because of its user mind friendly features. No any screen readers in market offering powerful features like jaws. and, one more thing, I am hoping that jaws will be the best screen reader in market forever. Though NVDA had become a free and open source screen reader for some years, it can not be use for a serious attempt! I am using NVDA for some times, but as for me, jaws is the best, well-known with its creative user interface build, application tidiness, innovative and remarkable features for every releases, powerful scripting language, with the help of basic of scripting manual for beginners and the wide range of trainings resources. In short say, Jaws is the one who will change the blind technological era.

    Best regards,
    e-mail: kavein2211@gmail.com

  9. SMS

    I’m not sure that Flash breaks accessibility so much as most Flash developers break accessibility.

    We’ve got over the idea that HTML is a visual medium, so standards-aware designers know how to markup for semantics, which can then be extracted by assistive technology.

    But I’d suggest that most Flash developers still see it as a visual medium.

  10. Jayant Mahajan

    I am doing my research related to ORCA – an open sourse free screen reader. can you help me with some data related to its usage pattern since 2009

  11. Kevin Fitzgerald

    Just want to know if the screen readers with JAWS and other softwares could read the text image on the bottom of the webpage and type it in there? Let me know. Thanks.

  12. David @ Phone Tapping Research

    I think it’s the refreshable braille outputs that put JAWS so far ahead of the rest of the market. I’m not so sure it’s leaps and bounds ahead when it comes to the text to voice interface. It will need to remain at the top of its game to keep that area cornered.

  13. Alistair Garrison

    I’d like to say that these surveys are brilliant!

    It would be interesting to know what screen-reader users think of the “screen-reader users, click here to” type link – typically found at the start of a page and used to alter / augment aspects of the user interface in order to try and provide a better user experience via a screen-reader. A good example would be the “screen-reader users, click here to turn off google instant” found at the top of Google’s search page. Possibly a question for the next survey…

  14. Carol Ido

    WebAIM does great work. Thanks for your efforts. One thing that would be helpful would be for you to indicate date of publication in your reports. I had to search the report’s title and infer that the date of this blog coincides with the report’s publication. Again, thanks for the wonderful work you and your colleagues do.