Monday, November 9, 2009

Screen Reader User Survey Results

WebAIM is a non-profit organization within the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University that focuses on accessible web content and technologies. WebAIM conducted a survey of the preferences of screen reader users back in December 2008, gathering a lot of interesting data about how users utilize assistive technologies (you can see the results of that survey at the WebAIM site).

WebAIM conducted another survey in October to track preferences of screen reader users. They received 665 responses to the survey consisting of a mix of disabled (90%) and abled users (10%). It's not a truly scientific survey, but it provides some valuable insight into usage patterns and user expectations.

I've just posted an article, WebAIM Screen Reader User Survey Results outlining the results of the survey. A couple excerpts:

Mobile

Pie chart of mobile screen reader use.

Most surprising to me was that 53% of those with disabilities claim they use a screen reader on a mobile device. More proficient screen reader users were more likely to use a mobile screen reader. If developers already struggle with building sites for mobile devices or struggle with building sites to be accessible, this can seem like a difficult challenge for many. The survey doesn't gather other information on mobile use, perhaps because they were surprised by its prevalence as well.

Finding Information

Users were asked how they go about finding information on a lengthy web page. 50.8% of users indicated they they use the page headings to navigate (really bolstering the argument of using proper headings in your content). 22.9% use the "find" feature of the browser, 16.1% navigate the links on the page, and 10.1% read through the page (and are apparently far more patient than I).

Go read the rest of the article. Now. Go.

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