Study: Vision Loss and Assistive Technologies Vary Widely

Magnify ThisLow Vision Survey Results

Guest article by Jared Smith

Results of WebAIM’s recent survey for those with low vision are now available at http://webaim.org/projects/lowvisionsurvey/. A few highlights are found below. The results of our motor disabilities survey will be available soon.

This data underscores that users with low vision are very diverse. The range of vision loss varies greatly, as do the assistive technologies used. The vast majority of respondents use multiple assistive technologies, ranging from screen readers to simply changing text sizes in browsers. There is very high keyboard use in this population, strengthening arguments for ensuring keyboard accessibility.

For respondents that use a screen reader, ZoomText was the most popular, followed by JAWS and VoiceOver. Few respondents use System Access, Window-Eyes, or MAGic, and no respondents reported using ChromeVox.

Respondents report significant usage of mobile devices, with 13% of respondents using a mobile device as their primary device for navigating the web. iOS devices dominate in the mobile area, with 43% of respondents using these devices, and iOS users were more likely to use the accessibility settings of their mobile device.

Internet Explorer usage among respondents is notably higher than the overall population, perhaps suggesting lack of keyboard accessibility or assistive technology support in other browsers.

99.5% of respondents had JavaScript enabled when completing the survey.

Read the full low vision survey results at http://webaim.org/projects/lowvisionsurvey/.

Jared SmithAbout the Author

Jared Smith is the Associate Director of WebAIM. He is a highly demanded presenter and trainer and has provided web accessibility training to thousands of developers throughout the world. With a degree in Marketing/Business Education, a Masters Degree in Instructional Technology, and over 13 years experience working in the web design, development, and accessibility field, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that is used to help others create and maintain highly accessible web content. Much of his written work, including a broad range of tutorials, articles, and other materials, is featured on the WebAIM site. Jared is active on twitter at @jared_w_smith.