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Something's amiss with the latest survey


From: Karl Groves
Date: Aug 28, 2015 12:59PM

Apparently it is "Karl causes fights on social media day" today. On
Facebook it was the relative sanity of certain political candidates.
On Twitter it is the latest Screen Reader Survey.

First, let me be clear: I've been a member of this list and a fan of
WebAIM, its people, and its work since 2003. Among the most valuable
resources they provide are their surveys on Screen Reader users and
Low Vision users. I reference this work in a number of places - one
of which being the training content that we deliver at TPG. I believe
in WebAIM not only as an organization but as people.

Something is up with the latest screen reader survey. From the survey
"ZoomText (1.3% to 22.2%) and Window-Eyes (6.7% to 20.7%) both saw
very significant increases in usage since January 2014."

In 1 3/4 years, ZoomText's market share rose just under 21% and
WindowEyes rose 14%? This *does not* pass a sniff test. Market
penetration for a *new* consumer product is often under 10%. These are
products that have been around a long time, their market share has
shown a downward trend in previous surveys, and there have been no
"disruptive" new features added to either product in the last 18
months, either. Jared posted his thoughts on the WebAIM blog:

I'm not inclined to draw any hasty conclusions as to what caused these
results other than to say that I highly doubt there's a
correspondingly high rate of growth for both of these products. These
numbers would suggest that the market itself has expanded. Put
another way, even if we consider the downward trend of JAWS in prior
years, I don't think that would account for the growth numbers of
these products (when prior years indicated that the erosion was going
to NVDA and VoiceOver).

This has a much more negative effect than many people realized. I
point customers to this information. I can't, in good conscience, do
that anymore. I can't tell customers "You should support the broadest
number of PWDs by at least a) following standards and b) supporting
this set of assistive technologies" Because now this list includes an
illegitimately inflated count of two products.


Karl Groves
Phone: +1 410.541.6829

Modern Web Toolsets and Accessibility