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Re: Something's amiss with the latest survey


From: Moore,Michael (HHSC)
Date: Aug 28, 2015 1:18PM

First let me be clear. I have been a fan of WebAIM, Karl Groves, TPG and this list for a while myself. But I have to respectfully disagree with my esteemed colleague regarding the value of the results as device to demonstrate the diversity of the screen reader user community.

One alternative explanation for the increase in the number of users reporting ZoomText as a primary screen reader may simply be the wider dissemination of the survey. Through my work I have consistently encountered what seemed to be a larger number of people using ZoomText as a screen reader than was indicated by previous surveys. Given that my data was anecdotal rather than scientific I felt that it could simply be a product of my unique work environment that brought me in contact with a greater number of visually impaired users with lower levels of technical skills than the average accessibility specialist.

As for the growth of Window Eyes - the Microsoft program is bound to have an impact. Particularly when you consider the number of enterprise customers who can now fulfill reasonable accommodation requests with a commercial, Microsoft endorsed (implicit), screen reading product.

Mike Moore
Accessibility Coordinator
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Civil Rights Office

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Karl Groves
Sent: Friday, August 28, 2015 2:00 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Something's amiss with the latest survey

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