WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

Survey of Users with Motor Disabilities


In March 2013, WebAIM conducted a survey of users with motor disabilities. We received 46 valid responses to this survey. This was the first survey WebAIM has conducted of this population, but we hope to conduct additional surveys of this nature again in the future. If you have recommendations or questions you would like us to ask, please contact us.

A few disclaimers and notices:

  • The sample size is very small. Because of this and because the responses came from a sample of convenience rather than one that was scientifically controlled, it is highly unlikely that the results represent the broader population of users with motor disabilities. Please do not attempt to generalize these data.
  • Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.
  • Total responses (n) for each question may not equal 46 due to respondents not answering that particular question.



Pie Chart of Age

Select your age
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

Internet Proficiency

Pie Chart of Internet Proficiency

Please rate your proficiency using the Internet
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

Respondents indicate a very high level of internet proficiency.

Disabilities Reported

Bar Chart of Disabilities Reported

Please identify your disability. (Select all that apply)
Disability# of Respondents% of Respondents
Cerebral palsy919.6%
Spinal cord injury715.2%
Loss or damage of limb(s)48.7%
Muscular dystrophy48.7%
Multiple sclerosis48.7%
Essential tremor24.3%
Spina bifida00%
ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease)00%
Parkinson's disease00%

Other disabilities reported include Repetitive Stress Injury (8.7%), Neuropathy (4.3%), etc. 22% of respondents report multiple disabilities.

Because of the limited sample size, these results should not be used as an indication of the prevalence of these disabilities generally or for users of the web.

Methods of Interaction with Web Pages

Pie Chart of interaction methods

What is your primary means of interacting with a web page?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
With a mouse (including trackballs, eye tracking or other devices that behave like a mouse)2453.3%
With a keyboard (including adaptive keyboards, switches, and other devices that behave like a keyboard)1533.3%
Using speech recognition613.3%

Operating System

Pie chart showing respondent operating systems

Operating System
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

Operating system data above was detected from the system used to complete the survey.

OS Settings

Bar Chart of OS Settings

Which of the following settings do you enable in your operating system? (Check all that apply)
Setting# of Respondents% of Respondents
Modifications to mouse behavior (e.g., mouse speed, click speed, hover to click, etc.)2860.9%
"Mouse keys" (numeric keypad to emulate mouse)919.6%
"Sticky keys" or filtering repeated keystrokes1430.4%

Technologies Used

Bar Chart of Technologies Used

Which of the following technologies do you frequently use? (Check all that apply)
Technology# of Respondents% of Respondents
Special keyboard919.6%
Special mouse-like device (e.g., trackball, touchpad, joystick etc.) that you manipulate with arms/hands or legs/feet 1532.6%
Mouth or head wand36.5%
Switch device (e.g., puff-sip switch)12.2%
Eye or head tracking12.2%
Speech recognition1430.4%
Software to facilitate text entry (e.g., predictive keyboard)817.4%
Virtual or on-screen keyboard510.9%
Screen reader613.0%

A wide variety of devices are used by respondents. 41% of respondents indicate using more than one type of device.

Enlarged Page Content

Pie Chart of usage of enlarged content

Do you enlarge a web page content or page text?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Yes, to make it easier to read 2454.5%
Yes, to make it easier to interact with the content (e.g., click on a small button)920.5%

It is of interest that so many users enlarge web content, but primarily for readability when readability is not generally impacted by a motor disability.

Primary Browser

Chart showing browser usage

Which of the following is your primary web browser?
Browser# of Respondents% of Respondents
Internet Explorer1332.6%

Internet Explorer was the most common browser for keyboard users, Firefox was most common for voice control users, and Chrome was most common for mouse users.

Influence of Browser Accessibility

Pie chart showing Influence of Browser Accessibility

Is your choice of primary browser influenced by its support for accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

JavaScript Enabled

Pie chart showing respondents with JavaScript enabled

Respondents with JavaScript enabled
JavaScript Enabled# of Respondents% of Respondents

JavaScript support was detected when the survey was submitted. These results clearly indicate that it is important that scripted interfaces be made accessible to users with motor disabilities.

Mobile Device Usage

Pie chart showing Mobile Device Usage

Do you use a mobile device to access web content?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

Mobile Platforms

Chart showing mobile platform usage

Which of the following is your primary mobile platform?
Mobile Platform# of Respondents% of Respondents
Apple iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch1634.8%
Windows Phone12.2%
None or No Response1328.3%

Mainstream or Disability-specific Mobile Device

Pie chart showing Mainstream or Disability-specific Mobile Device

Is your mobile device designed specifically for users with disabilities (i.e., not a mainstream phone or tablet)?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Yes, it is a device designed for users with disabilities25.6%
No, it is a mainstream device3494.4%

Mobile Accessibility Settings

Pie Chart of Mobile Device Accessibility Settings

Do you use special accessibility settings or software on your mobile device?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

Those who primarily use an iOS device are three times more likely than users of Android to use accessibility settings or software. Use of mobile accessibility settings is notably less than by those with visual disabilities (36% vs 63%).

Use of Mobile Versions

Pie chart showing Use of Mobile Versions

How often do you access the mobile version of a website because you find the interface more accessible?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

Form Labeling

Pie Chart showing benefits of form labeling

If a form control (e.g., a checkbox) is correctly labeled, clicking on the text label (or saying the label when using speech recognition software) causes the form field to receive keyboard focus. Does the labeling of forms controls make it easier for you to interact with a form?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
I was not aware of this functionality1430.4%

Interestingly, 41% of mouse users (for whom this functionality provides the primary benefit) are unaware of this functionality. In other words, those that use a mouse primarily were less likely to know about this mouse-specific functionality than those who primarily use a keyboard or voice control.

Accessibility Techniques

Bar Chart of Techniques that Provide Benefit

Which of the following accessibility techniques benefit you personally? (Check all that apply)
Technology# of Respondents% of Respondents
ARIA landmarks36.5%
Descriptive link text2043.5%
Good contrast1941.3%
Captioned media1328.3%
Option to increase text size in the webpage2247.8%

Of note is a very low response to ARIA landmarks, something that would likely provide great benefit to this audience if navigation to them was supported in mainstream browsers.

Web Accessibility Progress

Chart showing web accessibility progress

Which of the following best describes your feelings regarding the accessibility of web content over the previous year?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Web content has become more accessible1023.3%
Web content accessibility has not changed3069.7%
Web content has become less accessible37.0%

Social Media Accessibility

Chart showing social media accessibility

In general, how accessible are social media web sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) to you?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very Accessible922.0%
Somewhat Accessible1126.8%
Somewhat Inaccessible717.1%
Very Inaccessible819.5%
I Don't Know614.6%


Like all of our surveys, these results show a very diverse set of respondents, perhaps more so than with other disabilities due to the wider variety of types of disabilities (and thus technologies used) among those with motor disabilities. This highlights that there is not one universal solution to meeting the needs of such varied users. This is the first known survey of this audience focused primarily on web accessibility. While the response set was small, the information may be of interest to you and will be useful as future surveys are constructed.