WebAIM Screen Reader Survey 2009

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by angelwatt, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. angelwatt Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    WebAIM has finished up their second screen reader survey that looks at how people who use screen readers use the internet and where they have problems. It's good information for those of us who want to make our web sites accessible to everyone.

    • JAWS continues to be the most popular screen reader (75%). Window Eyes use remains at 24%. However, NVDA (26%), System Access (23%), and VoiceOver (15%) all saw tremendous increases in usage in the 10 months since our previous survey.
    • 83.6% of respondents updated their primary screen reader within the last year.
    • 50% of respondents (53% of respondents with disabilities) use a screen reader on a mobile device.
    • 75% of respondents do not have javascript disabled in their primary web browser.
    • 42% of respondents did not know that ARIA landmark functionality even exists.
    • CAPTCHA, Flash, ambiguous links, poor/missing alternative text, complex forms, and poor keyboard accessibility are cited as the most problematic items on the web
    • YouTube (51.3%) and blogs (47.7%) are the most commonly used social media tools, with LinkedIn (13.4%) and MySpace (9.0%) rarely used.
    • The majority of respondents found blogs, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube to be accessible and most reported LinkedIn as being inaccessible.
    • 62.6% say it is somewhat unlikely or very unlikely for Flash content to be accessible to them.
    • Headings are the primary mechanism (50.8% of respondents) for finding information within a page.
    As noted, CAPTCHA, Flash, and vague links are the most problematic parts of the web for people using screen readers. I try to make sure when I post links on my site or even in this forum (which is good practice) that I make the link text be meaningful, rather than be another one of the numerous links that simply say "link" or the like. Seeing as headings are used as a way of navigating, that should provide further motivation for web writers to use semantic HTML because it helps their screen reader visitors as well as their SEO.

    Be sure to check out the link for the full results. It can be very interesting to see how people with disabilities use the web and your sites. Feel free to discuss any of the findings here or if you have any questions about creating accessible content.
  2. memco macrumors 6502

    May 1, 2008
    Most of this isn't all that surprising, and as long as you're keeping up with graceful degradation/progressive enhancement and semantic markup, this will not likely change much. Unfortunately, it really presses me to do something about my menus, which I have not had time to rework.

    Mobile devices + screen readers? Talk about a double whammy.
  3. angelwatt thread starter Moderator emeritus


    Aug 16, 2005
    Yea, that one intrigued me too. I don't really do much with mobile devices, but hadn't seen much in the screen reader area for them. I'm sure that would be hard to program for.

    The findings don't provide much new for those of us who have followed along that discussion line for a while, but I know there's a lot of beginners here so I thought it was a good thing to post on. Many feel doing accessible sites is beyond them, but sites like WebAIM have really good articles that give code you can use to improve accessibility without much effort.

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