Accessibility Article: Screen Reader User Survey #7 Results, WebAIM Projects

*Note: This is a long read, 62 pages at 14Pt Font.

Screen Reader User Survey #7 Results

Read it online at:

https://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey7/

 

article

WebAIM Projects

> Screen Reader User Survey #7 Results

 

navigation region

Article Contents

list of 19 items

  1. Introduction
  2. Demographics

list of 6 items nesting level 1

  • Region
  • Disability Reported
  • Disability Types
  • Screen Reader Proficiency
  • Internet Proficiency
  • Screen reader usage

list end nesting level 1

  1. Primary Screen Reader
  2. Screen Readers Commonly Used
  3. Free/Low-cost Screen Readers
  4. Screen Reader Updates
  5. Browsers
  6. Screen Reader / Browser Combinations
  7. Operating System
  8. Braille Output
  9. Mobile Screen Readers

list of 5 items nesting level 1

  • Mobile Screen Reader Usage
  • Mobile Platforms
  • Mobile Screen Readers Used
  • Mobile vs. Desktop/Laptop Usage
  • Mobile Keyboard Usage

list end nesting level 1

  1. Web Accessibility Progress
  2. Impacts on Accessibility
  3. Social Media Accessibility
  4. Landmarks/Regions
  5. Finding Information
  6. Heading Structures
  7. “Skip” Links
  8. Problematic Items

list end

navigation region end

 

Introduction

 

In October 2017, WebAIM surveyed preferences of screen reader users. We received 1792 valid responses. This was a follow-up to 6 previous surveys that

were conducted between January 2009 and July 2015 (see

Related Resources).

 

A few disclaimers and notices:

 

list of 4 items

  • Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.
  • Total responses (n) for each question may not equal 1792 due to respondents not answering that 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 you would like us to ask, please

contact us.

list end

 

Demographics

Region

North AmericaEurope/UKAsiaAustralia and OceaniaAfrica/Middle EastSouth AmericaCentral America andCaribbean23%60%

 

table with 3 columns and 8 rows

Region

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

North America

991

60.0%

Europe/UK

380

23.0%

Asia

141

8.5%

Australia and Oceania

61

3.7%

Africa/Middle East

39

2.4%

South America

35

2.1%

Central America and Caribbean

5

0.3%

table end

 

Caribbean

 

table with 3 columns and 8 rows

Respondent Region

Region

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

North America

991

60.0%

Europe/UK

380

23.0%

Asia

141

8.5%

Australia and Oceania

61

3.7%

Africa/Middle East

39

2.4%

South America

35

2.1%

Central America and Caribbean

5

0.3%

table end

 

This survey had more respondents outside North America than previous surveys, thus providing better representation of the global screen reader user audience.

 

Disability Reported

YesNo10.8%89.2%

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

1,585

89.2%

No

192

10.9%

table end

 

No

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Do you use a screen reader due to a disability?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

1,585

89.2%

No

192

10.9%

table end

 

In general, we’ve found survey responses to be very similar between respondents with and without disabilities. Any notable differences are detailed below

to help us determine differences in practices or perceptions between the disability and the developer communities.

 

Disability Types

Disability Types (% of respondents)BlindnessLow Vision/Visually-ImpairedCognitiveDeafness/Hard-of-HearingMotorOther0%25%50%75%100%

 

table with 2 columns and 7 rows

Response

% of Respondents

Blindness

75.8

Low Vision/Visually-Impaired

20.4

Cognitive

2.2

Deafness/Hard-of-Hearing

5

Motor

1.8

Other

2.3

table end

 

Disability Types (% of respondents)

 

table with 3 columns and 7 rows

Which of the following disabilities do you have?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Blindness

1,358

75.8%

Low Vision/Visually-Impaired

366

20.4%

Cognitive

39

2.2%

Deafness/Hard-of-Hearing

90

5.0%

Motor

33

1.8%

Other

41

2.3%

table end

 

239 respondents (13.3%) reported multiple disabilities. 70 respondents (3.9%) reported being both deaf and blind.

 

The number of respondents with low vision was notably lower than in 2015. This corresponds with decreased usage of ZoomText among respondents.

 

Screen Reader Proficiency

AdvancedIntermediateBeginner6%34.6%59.5%

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Advanced

1,039

59.5%

Intermediate

604

34.6%

Beginner

104

6.0%

table end

 

Beginner

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Please rate your screen reader proficiency

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Advanced

1,039

59.5%

Intermediate

604

34.6%

Beginner

104

6.0%

table end

 

Those who use screen readers due to a disability report themselves as more proficient with screen readers—64.2% of those with disabilities considered their

proficiency to be “Advanced” compared to only 19.8% of those without disabilities.

 

Internet Proficiency

AdvancedIntermediateBeginner25.3%72.9%

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Advanced

1,278

72.9%

Intermediate

444

25.3%

Beginner

30

1.7%

table end

 

Beginner

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Please rate your proficiency using the Internet

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Advanced

1,278

72.9%

Intermediate

444

25.3%

Beginner

30

1.7%

table end

 

Reported proficiency on this survey was notably higher than all previous surveys, perhaps suggesting that screen reader users are becoming more accustomed

to using the internet. Those without disabilities rate themselves as more proficient than those with disabilities.

 

Screen Reader Usage

Exclusively audioPrimarily audio, but alsovisualPrimarily visual, but alsoaudioExclusively visual11.1%75.6%

 

table with 3 columns and 5 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Exclusively audio

1,311

75.6%

Primarily audio, but also visual

193

11.1%

Primarily visual, but also audio

145

8.4%

Exclusively visual

85

4.9%

table end

 

Exclusively visual

 

table with 3 columns and 5 rows

Which of the following most accurately describes your screen reader usage?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

I exclusively rely on screen reader audio

1,311

75.6%

I primarily rely on screen reader audio, but also use visual content

193

11.1%

I primarily rely on visual content, but also use screen reader audio

145

8.4%

I exclusively rely on visual content

85

4.9%

table end

 

Nearly 25% of respondents rely at least partially on the visual components when using a screen reader. 83.4% of those with disabilities rely exclusively

on audio, compared to only 5.3% of those without disabilities (primarily testers). This is not entirely unexpected, but does indicate significant differences

in usage between those with disabilities and those without disabilities.

 

Only 1.3% of those with disabilities rely exclusively on the visual output—many of these reported having cognitive or learning disabilities. Users of ZoomText,

Narrator, and ChromeVox were much more likely to use the visual output than users of other screen readers.

 

Primary Screen Reader

JAWSNVDAVoiceOverZoomTextSystem Access orSA To GoWindow-EyesChromeVoxNarratorOther46.6%11.7%31.9%

 

table with 3 columns and 10 rows

Screen Reader

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

JAWS

811

46.6%

NVDA

555

31.9%

VoiceOver

204

11.7%

ZoomText

42

2.4%

System Access or SA To Go

30

1.7%

Window-Eyes

27

1.5%

ChromeVox

7

0.4%

Narrator

6

0.3%

Other

60

3.4%

table end

 

Other

 

table with 3 columns and 10 rows

Which of the following is your primary desktop/laptop screen reader?

Screen Reader

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

JAWS

811

46.6%

NVDA

555

31.9%

VoiceOver

204

11.7%

ZoomText

42

2.4%

System Access or SA To Go

30

1.7%

Window-Eyes

27

1.5%

ChromeVox

7

0.4%

Narrator

6

0.3%

Other

60

3.4%

table end

 

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

 

Line chart of primary screen reader usage over time. In 2015, ZoomText and WindowEyes rise dramatically and JAWS falls. In 2017, ZoomText and WindowEyes

drop dramatically and JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver rise.

 

What happened in 2015? Essentially, the survey was distributed to a much broader audience, with many ZoomText and Window-Eyes users recruited to respond.

Window-Eyes was also offered freely with Microsoft Office before the 2015 survey, but has since been discontinued. A much broader analysis from 2015 is

available on the

WebAIM blog.

 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the 2015 numbers were inaccurate. They certainly are accurate of respondents for that survey, which included more low=vision

users than any other survey. 39% of respondents in July 2015 reported low vision, compared to only 20.4% on this survey. This difference in respondent

demographics accounts for much or most of the decrease of respondents using ZoomText in 2017.

 

In short, there are three primary players—JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver. But we should not discount the continued impact of other screen readers, primarily

ZoomText among the broader low vision community.

 

For survey simplicity, other specific screen readers were not offered as response options. The survey comments indicate that SuperNova was very common

among “Other” screen readers.

 

Respondents with disabilities are more likely to use JAWS and less likely to use VoiceOver as their primary screen reader than respondents without disabilities.

10.4% of respondents with disabilities use VoiceOver compared to 22.6% of respondents without disabilities.

 

NVDA users reported higher levels of screen reader proficiency than users of other screen readers.

 

Screen Readers Commonly Used

Screen Readers Commonly Used (% of respondents)JAWSNVDAVoiceOverZoomTextSA or SA To GoWindow-EyesNarratorChromeVoxOther0%25%50%75%100%

 

table with 2 columns and 10 rows

Response

% of Respondents

JAWS

66

NVDA

64.9

VoiceOver

39.6

ZoomText

6

SA or SA To Go

4

Window-Eyes

4.7

Narrator

21.4

ChromeVox

5.1

Other

6.4

table end

 

Screen Readers Commonly Used (% of respondents)

 

table with 2 columns and 10 rows

Which of the following desktop/laptop screen readers do you commonly use?

Screen Reader

% of Respondents

JAWS

66.0%

NVDA

64.9%

VoiceOver

39.6%

ZoomText

6.0%

SA or SA To Go

4.0%

Window-Eyes

4.7%

Narrator

21.4%

ChromeVox

5.1%

Other

6.4%

table end

 

Chart of screen reader usage showing recent increases in usage of JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver, and significant decreases in Window-Eyes and ZoomText.

 

See the

commentary above

regarding the July 2015 values.

 

Usage of JAWS, NVDA, and VoiceOver are all up since 2015, with Window-Eyes and ZoomText significantly lower. Of note is that Narrator, which has been significantly

improved in Windows 10, was used as a primary screen reader by only 0.3% of respondents, but was commonly used by 21.4% of respondents.

 

68% of respondents use more than one desktop/laptop screen reader. This was up from 53% in July 2015. 36% use three or more, and 12% use four or more different

screen readers. VoiceOver users most commonly use additional screen readers, which is notable since the other screen readers run almost exclusively on

Windows.

 

Free/Low-cost Screen Readers

YesNoI Don’t Know11.7%10.5%77.8%

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

1,367

77.8%

No

184

10.5%

I Don’t Know

206

11.7%

table end

 

I Don’t Know

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Do you see free or low-cost screen readers (such as NVDA or VoiceOver) as currently being viable alternatives to commercial screen readers?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

1,367

77.8%

No

184

10.5%

I Don’t Know

206

11.7%

table end

 

The positive perception of free or low-cost screen readers continues to increase. Positive responses to this question were 48% in October 2009, 60% in

December 2010, 67% in May 2012, 74% in January 2014, and 78% now.

 

Only 66% of JAWS users answered “Yes” compared to an overwhelming 92% of VoiceOver users and 94% of NVDA users. Those that actually use free or low-cost

screen readers have a much better perception of them than those who do not use them. Respondents with “Advanced” screen reader proficiency were also more

favorable of free/low-cost screen readers.

 

Screen Reader Updates

YesNo11.5%88.5%

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

1,562

88.5%

No

203

11.5%

table end

 

No

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Has your primary screen reader been updated in the last year?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

1,562

88.5%

No

203

11.5%

table end

 

The vast majority (88.5%) of respondents indicated that their screen reader has been updated in the last year. This was 82.7% in 2014. 95.5% of NVDA users,

93.4% of VoiceOver users, and 85.9% of JAWS users updated in the last year.

 

Browsers

FirefoxIE11ChromeSafariIE6, 7, or 8IE 9 or 10Microsoft EdgeOther41%15.5%23.3%

 

table with 3 columns and 9 rows

Browser

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Firefox

719

41.0%

IE11

408

23.3%

Chrome

271

15.5%

Safari

184

10.5%

IE6, 7, or 8

71

4.1%

IE 9 or 10

70

4.0%

Microsoft Edge

8

0.5%

Other

22

1.3%

table end

 

Other

 

table with 3 columns and 9 rows

When using your primary screen reader, which browser do you use most often?

Browser

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Firefox

719

41.0%

Internet Explorer 11

408

23.3%

Chrome

271

15.5%

Safari

184

10.5%

Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8

71

4.1%

Internet Explorer 9 or 10

70

4.0%

Microsoft Edge

8

0.5%

Other

22

1.3%

table end

 

Line chart of primary browser usage showing increases in Firefox and Chrome, decreases in Internet Explorer, and Safari usage generally stable since 2009.

 

For the first time, IE is no longer the most common browser among respondents. Internet Explorer (all versions) usage decreased to 31.4% from 53.5% in

July 2015, 58.7% in January 2014, and 67.5% in May 2012. Firefox was used by 41% (up from 24.2% in 2014) of respondents. 31.4% represents a significantly

higher IE usage than among the overall population (most statistics place it well below 10%). Usage of IE 6 through 10 was almost non-existent (1.6%) among

those without disabilities, but remains at 8.8% among those with disabilities.

 

Usage of Chrome more than doubled since July 2015, but was still well below usage by the overall population. Microsoft Edge usage was very low at .5%—notably

below the overall population.

 

Screen Reader / Browser Combinations

 

table with 3 columns and 10 rows

Most common screen reader and browser combinations

Screen Reader & Browser

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

JAWS with Internet Explorer

424

24.7%

NVDA with Firefox

405

23.6%

JAWS with Firefox

260

15.1%

VoiceOver with Safari

172

10.0%

JAWS with Chrome

112

6.5%

NVDA with Chrome

102

5.9%

NVDA with IE

40

2.3%

VoiceOver with Chrome

24

1.4%

Other combinations

180

10.5%

table end

 

There are many combinations in use, with JAWS with IE the most common, followed closely by NVDA with Firefox.

 

Operating System

WindowsiOSAppleAndroidLinuxOther14.2%72.8%

 

table with 3 columns and 7 rows

Operating System

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Windows

1,304

72.8%

iOS

254

14.2%

Apple

141

7.9%

Android

55

3.1%

Linux

25

1.4%

Other

13

.7%

table end

 

Other

 

table with 3 columns and 7 rows

Operating System

Operating System

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Windows

1,304

72.8%

iOS

254

14.2%

Apple

141

7.9%

Android

55

3.1%

Linux

25

1.4%

Other

13

.7%

table end

 

Operating system data above was detected from the system used to complete the survey. Respondents using iOS and Android nearly tripled since 2015. Respondents

without disabilities were almost 4 times more likely to use Apple than respondents with disabilities, whereas users with disabilities were more likely

to respond using iOS devices.

 

Braille Output

YesNo33.3%66.7%

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

516

33.3%

No

1,034

66.7%

table end

 

No

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Do you use braille output with your screen reader?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

516

33.3%

No

1,034

66.7%

table end

 

Because it would not generally be expected that users without disabilities would use Braille, they have been omitted from these data. Braille usage at

33.3% was up slightly from 27.7% in May 2012. 48.7% of VoiceOver users used Braille compared to a much lower 35.1% of JAWS users and 29.9% of NVDA users.

 

Mobile Screen Readers

Mobile Screen Reader Usage

YesNo12%88%

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

1,557

88.0%

No

213

12.0%

table end

 

No

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Do you use a screen reader on a mobile phone, mobile handheld device, or tablet?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Yes

1,557

88.0%

No

213

12.0%

table end

 

Chart of mobile screen reader adoption over time showing continual increases, with a small decrease in 2015.

 

The percentage of respondents using a mobile screen reader was notably up from 69.2% in July 2015, when the survey had broader distribution to a more diverse

and less technically proficient user base. 90.9% of respondents with disabilities indicate using a mobile screen reader, compared to only 65.3% of respondents

without disabilities. 94.3% of users with advanced screen reader proficiency indicate using a mobile screen reader compared to just 50.5% of those with

beginner proficiency.

 

Mobile Platforms

Apple iPhone, iPad, oriPod touchAndroidOther22%75.6%

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

1,146

75.6%

Android

334

22.0%

Other

35

2.3%

table end

 

Other

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Which of the following is your primary mobile/tablet platform?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

1,146

75.6%

Android

334

22.0%

Other

35

2.3%

table end

 

iOS devices continue to dominate the mobile screen reader market. Android usage increased slightly, though at a slower pace than previous years. Usage

of other platforms (Windows Phone, Chrome OS, Nokia, etc.) combined represent only 2.3% of usage.

 

Chart of mobile platform usage.

 

iOS device usage among screen reader users was notably higher than for the standard population, whereas Android usage was much, much lower. Those with

more advanced screen reader and internet proficiency were much more likely to use iOS over Android.

 

Mobile Screen Readers Used

Mobile Screen Readers Commonly Used (% of respondents)VoiceOverTalkBackVoice AssistantMobile AccessibilityNuance TalksMobileSpeakOther0%25%50%75%100%

 

table with 2 columns and 8 rows

Response

% of Respondents

VoiceOver

69

TalkBack

29.5

Voice Assistant

5.2

Mobile Accessibility

1.9

Nuance Talks

1.8

MobileSpeak

1.5

Other

3.2

table end

 

Mobile Screen Readers Commonly Used (% of respondents)

 

table with 2 columns and 8 rows

Which of the following mobile screen readers do you commonly use? (Choose all that apply)

Mobile Screen Reader

% of Respondents

VoiceOver

69.0%

TalkBack for Android

29.5%

Voice Assistant

5.2%

Mobile Accessibility for Android

1.9%

Nuance Talks

1.8%

MobileSpeak

1.5%

Other

3.2%

table end

 

Since July 2015, VoiceOver usage increased to 69% from 56.7%. TalkBack increased to 29.5% from 17.8% over the same 2.5 year period. All other mobile screen

readers saw decreased usage over that period. 20.9% of respondents commonly use multiple mobile screen readers.

 

Mobile vs. Desktop/Laptop Usage

Which do you use most often with a screen reader?Desktop/LaptopAbout the sameMobile/Tablet34.6%11.4%54%

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Desktop/Laptop

528

34.6%

About the same

825

54.0%

Mobile/Tablet

174

11.4%

table end

 

Mobile/Tablet

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Do you use a screen reader most often on a desktop/laptop computer or a mobile/tablet device?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Desktop/Laptop

528

34.6%

I use mobile/tablet and desktop/laptop screen readers about the same

825

54.0%

Mobile/Tablet device

174

11.4%

table end

 

54% of respondents use both devices about the same amount. Users are more likely to predominantly use desktop/laptop screen readers than they are mobile/tablet

screen readers. Respondents with disabilities are more likely to use a mobile screen reader than respondents without disabilities.

 

Mobile App vs Web Site Usage

Mobile AppWeb site46%54%

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Mobile App

779

46%

Web site

916

54%

table end

 

Web site

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

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

Mobile App

779

46%

Web site

916

54%

table end

 

Respondents with disabilities are more likely to use the mobile app than respondents that do not have disabilities. Those with advanced screen reader proficiency

were much more likely to use the mobile app than those with beginner proficiency.

 

Mobile Keyboard Usage

AlwaysOftenSometimesSeldomNever12%26.1%38.2%21.2%

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Always

39

3.9%

Often

181

11.8%

Sometimes

394

25.7%

Seldom

320

20.9%

Never

577

37.7%

table end

 

Never

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

When using a mobile screen reader how often do you use an external keyboard?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Always

39

3.9%

Often

181

11.8%

Sometimes

394

25.7%

Seldom

320

20.9%

Never

577

37.7%

table end

 

Mobile devices are often considered to be touch-only interfaces, yet many screen reader users use a keyboard when using their mobile devices.

 

Web Accessibility Progress

More AccessibleNo ChangeLess Accessible40.8%18.8%40.4%

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

More Accessible

711

40.8

No Change

703

40.4%

Less Accessible

327

18.8%

table end

 

Less Accessible

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

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 accessible

711

40.8%

Web content accessibility has not changed

703

40.4%

Web content has become less accessible

327

18.8%

table end

 

Respondents have a slightly more positive perception of the state of web accessibility now than they did in 2015. Respondents without disabilities tend

to be more positive about recent progress (51.7% thought it has become more accessible) than those with disabilities (39.6% thought it has become more

accessible).

 

Impacts on Accessibility

Which would have a bigger impact on accessibility?Better (more accessible)web sitesBetter assistivetechnology14.7%85.3%

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Better (more accessible) web sites

1,490

85.3

Better assistive technology

257

14.7%

table end

 

technology

 

table with 3 columns and 3 rows

Which of the following do you think would have a bigger impact on improvements to web accessibility?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Better (more accessible) web sites

1490

85.3%

Better assistive technology

257

14.7%

table end

 

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, and now 85.3% on this survey. This change perhaps reflects improvements to assistive technology. It certainly indicates that users expect site authors

to address accessibility issues.

 

Social Media Accessibility

Very AccessibleSomewhat AccessibleSomewhat InaccessibleVery InaccessibleI Don’t Know14.9%11.3%14.5%54.3%

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Very Accessible

253

14.9%

Somewhat Accessible

921

54.3%

Somewhat Inaccessible

246

14.5%

Very Inaccessible

83

4.9%

I Don’t Know

192

11.3%

table end

 

I Don’t Know

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

In general, how accessible are social media web sites to you?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Very Accessible

253

14.9%

Somewhat Accessible

921

54.3%

Somewhat Inaccessible

246

14.5%

Very Inaccessible

83

4.9%

I Don’t Know

192

11.3%

table end

 

Compared to responses from previous surveys, respondents are increasingly positive about the accessibility of social media sites – 69.2% find them very

or somewhat accessible compared to 55.2% in 2012 and 60.3% in 2015. 73.1% of respondents with advanced screen reader proficiency rate social media sites

as very or somewhat accessible, compared to only 62.8% of respondents with beginner proficiency.

 

Landmarks/Regions

Whenever they’reavailableOftenSometimesSeldomNever18%12.5%19.4%21.3%28.8%

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Whenever they’re available

307

18.0%

Often

213

12.5%

Sometimes

491

28.8%

Seldom

364

21.3%

Never

332

19.4%

table end

 

Never

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

How often do you navigate by landmarks/regions in your screen reader?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Whenever they’re available

307

18.0%

Often

213

12.5%

Sometimes

491

28.8%

Seldom

364

21.3%

Never

332

19.4%

table end

 

The frequent use of landmarks and regions has continually decreased from 43.8% in January 2014, to 38.6% in July 2015, to 30.5% on this survey. It’s difficult

to know the reasons for this. It could be due to infrequent or improper usage of landmarks/regions in pages. Or perhaps because other mechanisms are continually

better. 45.4% of JAWS users reported always or often using landmarks in July 2015 compared to only 28.5% now just 2.5 years later.

 

Finding Information

Pie chart of methods for finding information on a lengthy web pageNavigate HeadingsUse “Find”Navigate LinksNavigate Landmarks/RegionsRead the page14.4%67.5%

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Navigate Headings

1,180

67.5%

Use “Find”

252

14.4%

Navigate Links

118

6.8%

Navigate Landmarks/Regions

69

3.9%

Read the page

128

7.3%

table end

 

Read the page

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

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 page

1180

67.5%

Use the “Find” feature

252

14.4%

Navigate through the links of the page

118

6.8%

Navigate through the landmarks/regions of the page

69

3.9%

Read through the page

128

7.3%

table end

 

While reliance on headings as the predominant mechanism for finding page information had notably increased between 2008 and 2014, responses to this question

are largely unchanged since

2014.

While 30.5% of respondents indicate that they always or often use landmarks when they are present, only 3.9% use this method for finding information on

a lengthy web page. Those with advanced screen reader proficiency are much more likely to use headings (73% use headings) than those with beginner proficiency

(42% use headings) who are more likely to read through the page.

 

Heading Structures

Heading structure preferencesSite name in <h1>Document title in <h1>Two <h1>s33.3%60%

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Site name in <h1>

95

6.6%

Document title in <h1>

858

60.0%

Two <h1>s

476

33.3%

table end

 

Two <h1>s

 

table with 3 columns and 4 rows

Which of the following page heading structures is easiest for you?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

One first level heading that contains the site name

95

6.6%

One first level heading that contains the document title

858

60.0%

Two first level headings, one for the site name and one for the document title

476

33.3%

table end

 

Preference for a single <h1> that presents the document title has significantly increased from 37.1% in 2010 to 60% in 2017. A single <h1> for the site

name was by far the least desired.

 

“Skip” Links

Skip link usageWhenever they’reavailableOftenSometimesSeldomNever15.8%16.4%18.4%21.6%27.8%

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Whenever they’re available

273

15.8%

Often

283

16.4%

Sometimes

480

27.8%

Seldom

374

21.6%

Never

319

18.4%

table end

 

Never

 

table with 3 columns and 6 rows

When a “skip to main content” or “skip navigation” link is available on a page, how often do you use it?

Response

# of Respondents

% of Respondents

Whenever they’re available

273

15.8%

Often

283

16.4%

Sometimes

480

27.8%

Seldom

374

21.6%

Never

319

18.4%

table end

 

When compared to July 2015, the frequent usage of “skip” links has decreased from 37.8% to 30.2%. 54.9% of respondents without disabilities always or often

use “skip” links compared to only 29.6% of respondents with disabilities. This represents a very significant disparity in usage.

 

It is important to note that while usage has decreased among screen reader users, “skip” links still provide notable benefit for other keyboard users.

 

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.

 

Most Problematic ItemsCAPTCHAUnexpected screen changesAmbiguous links/buttonsFlash contentLack of keyboard accessibilityComplex/difficult formsMissing/improper

alt textMissing/improper headingsToo many linksComplex data tablesInaccessible/missing searchMissing “skip” link

 

table with 2 columns and 13 rows

Response

Ranking

CAPTCHA

2,633

Unexpected screen changes

1,516

Ambiguous links/buttons

1,401

Flash content

1,287

Lack of keyboard accessibility

1,076

Complex/difficult forms

623

Missing/improper alt text

585

Missing/improper headings

448

Too many links

358

Complex data tables

228

Inaccessible/missing search

156

Missing “skip” link

105

table end

 

Most Problematic Items

 

In order, the most problematic items are:

 

list of 12 items

  1. CAPTCHA – images presenting text used to verify that you are a human user
  2. Screens or parts of screens that change unexpectedly
  3. Links or buttons that do not make sense
  4. The presence of inaccessible Flash content
  5. Lack of keyboard accessibility
  6. Complex or difficult forms
  7. Images with missing or improper descriptions (alt text)
  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

list end

 

CAPTCHA remains the most (by a notable margin) problematic item indicated by respondents. The order and indicated difficulty for the items in this list are largely unchanged over the last 8 years, with one notable exception—”Screens or parts of screens that change unexpectedly”. This item has moved from 7th most problematic in 2009 to 5th most problematic in 2012 to 2nd most problematic in 2017. This is likely a result of more complex and dynamic web applications.

 

Respondents with disabilities were nearly twice as likely to rank CAPTCHA and unexpected screen changes as problematic items than respondents without disabilities, who generally indicated that keyboard and forms accessibility were much more problematic than their peers with disabilities. 10.9% of respondents with disabilities rated keyboard accessibility as their single most problematic item, compared to 39.6% of respondents without disabilities. This suggests some notable disparities in perception of difficulties between these two groups.

article end

 

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