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Re: Screen readers - usage stats?

From: David Poehlman <poehlman1@comcast.net>
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 15:00:34 -0400
Message-ID: <001601c42252$c416aea0$6601a8c0@hands>
To: "ADAM GUASCH-MELENDEZ" <ADAM.GUASCH@EEOC.GOV>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

The American Foundation for the blind:
http://www.afb.org
has a paper you might find usefull.  Although it does not provide stats on
screen readers, it does deal with your tagged pdf issue.

AS to pdf, stats are not as important as the knowledge as you say that it is
best to provide a wai ready solution.  If you are going to go to the trouble
of making sure that a tagged pdf is tagged appropriately, it is no more
difficult to provide the content that is much more widely accessible.

Speaking to the screen reader issue more specifically, the comparison of
user agents and screen readers has some problems, since part of the issue
depends on what user agent and what version of the user agent is being used
with what screen reader and version of that screen reader.  Further, the
wcag was written to take the needs of screen readers into account and those
are just as valid today as they were in 1999.  The focus has shifted some
what, but Following the guidelines provides access for a much broader
audience than does not following them and this includes a high percentage of
screeen reader users.

I'm sure you will find some stats on screen reader use out there, but those
statistics will not take all the needs into acccount and will most likely be
for a narrow market such as for instance, the us or one other country.  The
stats will also be out of date because some of this changes so rapidly.

What compelling reason could there be to have stats of this type?  I can
think of some that have nothing to do with the web but none that do.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "ADAM GUASCH-MELENDEZ" <ADAM.GUASCH@EEOC.GOV>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 1:35 PM
Subject: Screen readers - usage stats?



When writing and testing HTML, it's standard practice to test with
multiple browsers and multiple versions of those browsers. It's also
pretty standard to look at usage stats for those browsers - how many
people are still using IE 4.0 or Netscape 4.7? Such statistics are often
unreliable, but they're still worth considering, especially if pulled
from your own server logs.

What about screen readers? Is there any available information on usage
of various screen readers, and specifically on version? Obviously
statistics in this case would be difficult to compile, since you can't
simply pull the information from server logs. But it would be valuable.

As an example: for a particular upcoming project, tagged PDF files are
being considered as the primary document format. When discussing the
need, if any, for alternative versions, it would be helpful to know how
many users of screen readers would be able to read a tagged PDF file,
and how many are using software that can't handle that format.

Please note: I'm not asking for opinions on the need for alternative
versions - this is just an example of one situation in which having
statistics would be valuable.

Any pointers to any real numbers would be greatly appreciated.
Received on Wednesday, 14 April 2004 15:00:49 UTC

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