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RE: Screen readers - usage stats?

From: Jim Tobias <tobias@inclusive.com>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 08:40:14 -0400
To: "'ADAM GUASCH-MELENDEZ'" <ADAM.GUASCH@EEOC.GOV>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <01b201c422e6$ce798770$c8fea8c0@24gig>

Hi Adam et al,

The only rigorous study of screen reader usage that I know of was performed
by the (US) Natl. Center for Health Statistics back in 1994-5.  It showed
roughly 50K users; this figure may have included screen magnifier users.
People thought this was too low a number back then, and it would certainly
be higher now.  But probably not even as much as 3 times higher.  This rough
estimate comes from a study we performed for Microsoft a few years ago on AT
vendors.  If it's 100K users (meaning people who actually use them every
day, not people who've ever had an AT evaluation), the usage rate for screen
readers would be about 10% of the *potential* users, which is sadly about
the usual rate for AT.

As far as market share, current estimates of JAWS range from 75% to 95% of
the market.

Jim Tobias
Inclusive Technologies
732.441.0831 v/tty

> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of ADAM GUASCH-MELENDEZ
> Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 1:35 PM
> To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> 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 Thursday, 15 April 2004 08:44:17 UTC

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