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WebAIM Screen Reader survey

WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) have released their second Screen Reader User Survey to help Web Professionals learn more about how to design for universal access.

It’s well worth keeping an eye on as it asks questions on how to write alt text to images that convey mood, questions about ARIA, Flash and the accessibility of some high-profile sites.

Last year’s survey provided the revelatory information that 12% of respondents use a screenreader on a mobile phone. (I had no idea such things existed!)

If you know any screenreader users, please pass it on.

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4 Responses to “ WebAIM Screen Reader survey ”

Comment by Jared Smith

Thanks for announcing the new survey.

It’s still VERY preliminary data and is likely to go down a bit as the survey reaches a broader audience, but of 150 respondents thus far, just over half report using a screen reader on a mobile phone or mobile handheld device. This is just one of many very interesting data that I’m seeing thus far. Another is the number of VoiceOver users… but you’ll have to wait for that.

Comment by Henny

Hi Jared – thanks for sharing those early results about mobile. I’ve been wondering how the uptake of mobile would change this year.

Mobile in itself is such a wide topic and one I’d love to see explored more such as what content do users look at on mobile, whether they use widgets/apps, what mobile browser they use, platform and text-to-speech software. This, I’m sure, could be a survey in itself.

I’m also really curious to see how many people use VoiceOver and free screen readers such as NVDA in comparison to last year. Will you be breaking the numbers down to see how many of these users are actual users and how many are developers etc? I’d also be interested to see what browsers the VoiceOver users are using (obviously!).

It’s also great to see WAI-ARIA included to some extent. I’ve been discussing with a number of people at conferences recently (Techshare, Accessibility 2.0) and over Twitter what extent users understand pages with ARIA and if we need to do work around explaining how to use it. Strikes me that there is a paradigm shift in how you browse with ARIA, much as there was when Flash became more accessible, and we need to make sure the end user is comfortable with it.

Thanks for running this survey again – it’s going to be really good to see how things have shifted in the screen reader space – especially with NVDA snapping at the heels of Jaws and WindowEyes doing such a great job with ARIA.

Cheers, Henny

Comment by Jared Smith


Yes, we’ll certainly explore mobile in more depth in a future survey. And we’ll certainly be breaking down the data as much as we can, particularly comparing responses of sighted evaluators against those that use screen readers due to a disability. We’ll also be looking into browser and screen reader use comparisons.

It’s already clear from the survey that screen reader users need more education on what ARIA is and how it helps them. A large share of respondents don’t know that landmark functionality exists.

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