WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

Screen Reader User Survey #10 Results

Introduction

In December 2023 and January 2024, WebAIM surveyed preferences of screen reader users. We received 1539 valid responses. This was a follow-up to 9 previous surveys that were conducted between January 2009 and June 2021.

A few disclaimers and notices:

  • Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.
  • Total responses (n) for each question may not equal 1539 due to some respondents not answering a particular question.
  • The sample was not controlled and may not represent all screen reader users.
  • We hope to conduct additional surveys of this nature again in the future. If you have recommendations or questions that you would like us to ask, please contact us.
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Support for this research is funded in part by a donation from BrowserStack

Demographics

Region

Please select your region.
Region# of respondents% of respondents
North America71747.2%
Europe46730.7%
Asia976.4%
South America966.3%
Africa/Middle East734.8%
Australia and Oceania503.3%
Central America and Caribbean201.3%

This survey saw a majority of respondents from outside North America, thus providing better representation of the global screen reader user audience. When survey responses were notably different between regions, this is noted below.

Age

Please indicate your age.
Age# of respondents% of respondents
Below 20946.1%
21 - 4058437.9%
41 - 6055335.9%
60+30820.0%

Disability

Do you use a screen reader due to a disability?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Yes137289.9%
No15410.1%

Responses are predominantly very similar for respondents with and without disabilities. Any notable differences are indicated below to highlight differences in practices or perceptions between disabled and non-disabled respondents.

Disability Types

Which of the following disabilities do you have?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Blindness117976.6%
Low Vision/Visually-Impaired30619.9%
Cognitive or Learning805.2%
Deafness/Hard-of-Hearing1046.8%
Motor342.2%
Other754.9%

257 respondents (16.7%) reported multiple disabilities. 81 respondents (5.3%) reported being both deaf/hard-of-hearing and blind.

Screen Reader Proficiency

Please rate your screen reader proficiency.
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Advanced88858.3%
Intermediate54836.0%
Beginner875.7%

Those who use screen readers due to a disability reported themselves as more proficient with screen readers—63% of those with disabilities considered their proficiency to be "Advanced" compared to only 18.2% of those without disabilities.

Internet Proficiency

Please rate your proficiency using the Internet.
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Advanced109171.8%
Intermediate40126.4%
Beginner281.8%

Those without disabilities rated themselves as more proficient than those with disabilities.

Primary Screen Reader

Which of the following is your primary desktop/laptop screen reader?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
JAWS61940.5%
NVDA57737.7%
VoiceOver1489.7%
Dolphin SuperNova573.7%
ZoomText/Fusion412.7%
Orca362.4%
Narrator100.7%
Other412.7%

The following chart shows historical trends for primary screen reader usage.

Line chart of primary screen reader usage since October 2009. JAWS has a steady decline from 68% to 40% in 2019, but jumped to 54% in 2021, then down to 41% in 2024. NVDA has steady incline from 3% to 41%, then down to 31% in 2021,  then up to 38% in 2024. VoiceOver has a slow incline from 10% to 13%, then down to 7% in 2021, then slightly up to 10% in 2024.

Historically JAWS usage had been in decline until 2019 when JAWS and NVDA were nearly the same. The 2021 survey saw an increase in JAWS usage and decrease in NVDA usage, but in 2024 the usage of both are again nearly the same at 41% for JAWS and 38% for NVDA.

Respondents with disabilities are more likely to use JAWS and NVDA and less likely to use VoiceOver as their primary screen reader than respondents without disabilities. 8.2% of respondents with disabilities primarily use VoiceOver (up from 5.5% in 2021), compared to 23.7% of respondents without disabilities.

Primary usage varied greatly by region. JAWS usage was higher than NVDA in North America (55.5% vs. 24.0%) and Australia (45.8% vs. 37.5%), though JAWS usage was lower than NVDA in Europe (29.7% vs. 37.2%), Africa/Middle East (23.3% vs. 69.9%), and Asia (22.9% vs. 70.8%).

Beyond the three most popular primary screen readers, other screen readers comprised a total of 12.2% of usage.

Screen Readers Commonly Used

Which of the following desktop/laptop screen readers do you commonly use?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
NVDA100965.6%
JAWS93160.5%
VoiceOver67543.9%
Narrator57437.3%
Orca1278.3%
ZoomText/Fusion1157.5%
Dolphin SuperNova835.4%
ChromeVox593.8%
System Access or System Access to Go281.8%
Window-Eyes181.2%
Other795.1%

Chart of screen reader usage showing JAWS decreasing from 74% to 61% since 2009, with a notably higher usage in 2021 of 70%, and increases in usage of NVDA, VoiceOver, and Narrator over time, with NVDA usage decreasing in 2021 then increasing again to surpass JAWS at 66% in 2024.

NVDA is again the most commonly used screen reader at 65.6% of respondents outpacing JAWS at 60.5%. Narrator—freely available in Windows for several years—is the primary screen reader of only .7% of respondents, but is commonly used by 37.3% of respondents.

71.6% of respondents use more than one desktop/laptop screen reader. 43% use three or more, and 17.4% use four or more different screen readers. VoiceOver users most commonly use additional screen readers.

Browsers

When using your primary screen reader, which browser do you use most often?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Chrome79552.3%
Microsoft Edge29419.3%
Firefox24316.0%
Safari1218.0%
Internet Explorer14.9%
Other543.6%

Line chart of primary browser usage showing increases in Chrome and Edge, decreases in Internet Explorer and Firefox, and Safari usage generally stable.

Browser usage remains mostly unchanged since 2021, with Chrome and Internet Explorer seeing small decreases in usage and Safari a small increase in usage.

Screen Reader / Browser Combinations

Most common screen reader and browser combinations
Screen Reader & Browser# of Respondents% of Respondents
JAWS with Chrome37324.7%
NVDA with Chrome32321.3%
JAWS with Edge17311.4%
NVDA with Firefox15210.0%
VoiceOver with Safari1077.0%
NVDA with Edge755.0%
JAWS with Firefox392.6%
VoiceOver with Chrome302.0%
Orca with Firefox291.9%
Dolphin SuperNova with Chrome241.6%
ZoomText/Fusion with Chrome181.2%
ZoomText/Fusion with Edge161.1%
Other combinations15410.2%

There are many combinations of browsers and screen readers in use, with JAWS with Chrome the most common.

Operating System

What operating system are you on when using your primary desktop/laptop screen reader?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Windows131186.1%
Mac1469.6%
Linux442.9%
Other211.4%

Respondents without disabilities were nearly 3 times more likely to use Mac OS than respondents with disabilities.

JavaScript

JavaScript Enabled
Response% of Respondents
Yes99.8%
No.2%

JavaScript support was detected with the survey form submission. Nearly all respondents had JavaScript enabled.

Reason for Use

What is the main reason for using your primary screen reader?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Existing Comfort/Expertise68545.8%
Features39626.5%
Availability17511.7%
Cost1379.2%
Support1046.9%

Existing comfort and features went down slightly, and Availability, Cost, and Support went up slightly.

Screen Reader Satisfaction

How satisfied are you with your primary screen reader?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Very satisfied96663.8%
Somewhat satisfied47531.4%
Slightly satisfied563.7%
Not satisfied181.2%

Respondents indicating that they are very or somewhat satisfied by their primary screen reader:

  • NVDA - 97.6%
  • JAWS - 95.6%
  • VoiceOver - 92.4%
  • Narrator - 88.9%

Home vs. Work

Do you use a different screen reader at work or school than at home?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Yes26618.6%
No116581.4%

31% of VoiceOver users reported using a different screen reader at work/school vs. home, versus 19% for NVDA, and 15% for JAWS.

Braille Output

Do you use braille output with your screen reader?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Yes51038%
No83362%

Because it would not generally be expected that users without disabilities would use Braille, they have been omitted from these data. Braille usage at 38% is up slightly from 33.3% in 2017 and 27.7% in 2012. 54.2% of VoiceOver users used Braille compared to 42.4% of NVDA users and 35.1% of JAWS users.

Free/Low-cost vs. Commercial

Do you see free or low-cost desktop screen readers (such as NVDA or VoiceOver) as currently being viable alternatives to more expensive commercial screen readers?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Yes117178.1%
No18112.1%
I Don't Know1489.9%

While the positive perception of free or low-cost screen readers has increased significantly from 48% in October 2009, responses to this question over the last several years have been largely unchanged.

Only 67% of JAWS users answered "Yes" compared to an overwhelming 91% of VoiceOver users and 94% of NVDA users. Those that use free or low-cost screen readers as their primary screen reader have a much better perception of them than those who do not. Respondents with "Advanced" screen reader proficiency were also more favorable of free/low-cost screen readers.

Mobile Screen Readers

Mobile Usage

Do you use a screen reader on a mobile device?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Yes137991.3%
No1328.7%

91.3% of respondents report using a screen reader on a mobile device. Respondents with disabilities (93.6%) are more likely to use a mobile screen reader than respondents without disabilities (70.4%).

Mobile Platforms

Which of the following is your primary mobile/tablet platform?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch104870.6%
Android40927.6%
Chrome OS70.5%
Other191.3%

Respondents with disabilities (72.4%) used iOS devices at a higher rate than those without disabilities (56%). Usage of iOS devices was significantly higher in North America (84%), Australia (75%), and Europe/UK (72%) than in Asia (40%), Africa/Middle East (34%), and South America (31%). Respondents with more advanced screen reader and internet proficiency were much more likely to use iOS over Android.

Line chart of mobile platform usage showing iOS usage increasing from 30% in 2010 to 70 plus percent around 2015 and thereafter, Android usage increasing from 5% to around 25%, and other mobile platforms decreasing from 65% to 2%.

iOS devices continue to dominate the mobile screen reader market. Usage of other platforms (Chrome OS, Windows Phone, Nokia, etc.) combined represent only 1.8% of reported usage.

Mobile Screen Readers Used

Which of the following mobile/tablet screen readers do you commonly use?
Response% of respondents
VoiceOver70.6%
TalkBack34.7%
Commentary/Jieshuo10.1%
Voice Assistant6.0%
VoiceView5.9%
Mobile Accessibility for Android4.9%
Mobile Speak1.0%
Nuance Talks1.0%
IDEAL0.5%
Other4.7%

Primary Mobile Browser

Which of the following is your primary mobile web browser?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Safari85458.2%
Chrome41027.9%
Firefox684.6%
IE or Edge Mobile392.7%
Android Browser231.6%
Samsung Browser161.1%
Other573.9%

Safari saw a small decrease in usage while Chrome had a slight increase in usage since 2021.

Mobile vs. Desktop/Laptop Usage

Do you use a screen reader most often on a desktop/laptop computer or a mobile/tablet device?
Responses# of respondents% of respondents
Desktop/laptop61040.2%
I use mobile/tablet and desktop/laptop screen readers about the same75149.5%
Mobile/tablet device15510.2%

There was almost no change to responses to this question compared to the 2019 survey.

Mobile App vs Web Site Usage

When performing common online tasks such as banking or shopping are you most likely to use a mobile app or the web site?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
app85258%
web61842%

Respondents indicated that they are much more likely to use a mobile app than a web site for common online tasks. The preference for mobile app usage increased to 58% in 2024, up from 51.8% in 2021 and 46% in 2017.

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 accessible52234.6%
Web content accessibility has not changed70746.8%
Web content has become less accessible28118.6%

Perception of the state of web accessibility decreased slightly since 2021. Respondents without disabilities tend to be more positive about recent progress (45.9% thought it has become more accessible) than those with disabilities (33.4% thought it has become more accessible).

Impacts on Accessibility

Which of the following do you think would have a bigger impact on improvements to web accessibility?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Better assistive technology21314.1%
Better (more accessible) web sites129885.9%

Over time, more respondents have answered "better web sites" to this question—68.6% of respondents in October 2009, 75.8% in December 2010, 81.3% in January 2014, 85.3% in 2021, and now 85.9% on this survey. This change may reflect improvements in assistive technology. It certainly indicates that users expect more accessible web sites.

Contacting Website Owners

How often do you contact a website owner about an accessibility barrier that you encountered?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Very often1379.2%
Somewhat often37024.8%
Not very often66144.3%
Never32421.7%

The majority (67%) of respondents never or rarely contact web site owners about barriers. Respondents without disabilities reported nearly the same likelihood to contact website owners as respondents with disabilities.

Social Media Accessibility

In general, how accessible are social media web sites to you?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Very accessible17311.8%
Somewhat accessible82456.3%
Not very accessible27118.5%
Not at all accessible251.7%
I don't know17111.7%

Perceptions of social media accessibility are generally unchanged over the last several years.

Descriptions in Virtual Meetings

Should a person describe what they look like during a virtual meeting or webinar?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Yes36331.8%
No77968.2%

The majority (68.2%) of respondents do not prefer descriptions of appearances in online meetings.

Landmarks/Regions

How often do you navigate by landmarks/regions in your screen reader?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Whenever they're available26817.9%
Often20813.9%
Sometimes47131.5%
Seldom30920.6%
Never24116.1%

After steady decreases in the frequent usage of landmarks/regions was seen from 2014 (43.8%) to 2021 (25.6%). In 2024 the reported frequent usage has now increased to 31.8%.

Finding Information

When trying to find information on a lengthy web page, which of the following are you most likely to do first?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Navigate through the headings on the page108271.6%
Read through the page966.4%
Use the Find feature20513.6%
Navigate through the links of the page724.8%
Navigate through the landmarks/regions of the page563.7%

The usage of headings for finding information has increased over time, and it remains the predominant method. Those with advanced screen reader proficiency are much more likely to use headings (78%) than those with beginner proficiency (47%). Beginners are 2.5 times more likely to use the "Find" feature than those with advanced proficiency.

While 31.7% of respondents indicate that they always or often use landmarks when they are present, only 3.7% use this as a primary method for finding information on a lengthy web page.

Heading Levels

When navigating a web page by headings, how useful are the heading levels (e.g., "Heading 1", "Heading 2", etc.) to you?
Response# of respondents% of respondents
Very useful85557.0%
Somewhat useful47731.8%
Not very useful1137.5%
Not at all useful271.8%
I don't know291.9%

The reported usefulness of heading levels for navigation has increased over time, and 88.8% of respondents find them very or somewhat useful.

Problematic Items

The survey asked respondents to select their most, second most, and third most problematic items from a list. In giving each selected item a weighting, the following chart shows the overall rating of difficulty and frustration for each item.

In order, the most problematic items are:

  1. CAPTCHA - images presenting text used to verify that you are a human user
  2. Interactive elements like menus, tabs, and dialogs do not behave as expected
  3. Links or buttons that do not make sense
  4. Screens or parts of screens that change unexpectedly
  5. Lack of keyboard accessibility
  6. Images with missing or improper descriptions (alt text)
  7. Complex or difficult forms
  8. Missing or improper headings
  9. Too many links or navigation items
  10. Complex data tables
  11. Inaccessible or missing search functionality
  12. Lack of "skip to main content" or "skip navigation" links

The order and indicated difficulty for the items in this list are largely unchanged over the last 14 years. CAPTCHA remains the most (by a notable margin) problematic item indicated by respondents. Respondents with disabilities were twice as likely to rank CAPTCHA as a problematic item than respondents without disabilities.