Web Accessibility Survey, Learning from Communities with Disabilities

The accessibility experts at Americaneagle.com, active participants within disabled communities, recently sponsored a Web Accessibility Survey to learn more from the people they serve.

Woman sitting at a computer using headphones and other input devices for web accessibility


Why Another Survey?

The accessibility team at Americaneagle.com helps clients with their inclusive digital practices. They have, for many years, been very active participants and advocates within the communities they serve. Their career focus is also a personal passion.

Periodic surveys, like those led by WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind), have been consistently valuable in assessing and progressing efforts to optimize inclusive practices across digital environments. These surveys amplify the voices of disabled communities.

In 2010, one of our colleagues established an online Reddit forum for the blind, r/blind. It has grown into the world’s largest online forum of its kind. It currently has 23,500+ subscribers. Surveys have been a regular topic of conversation at r/blind. In years past, the online forum has shared that their collective experiences, assistive technology use, and primary applications were not always aligning with what they were seeing in published surveys.

It was the perceived disconnect between the r/blind community and prominent survey results that led to the creation of the new Web Accessibility Survey. As the team began to consider the creation of this new survey, interest grew. They reached out to recognized accessibility experts for their input. WebAIM relationships, like the leadership experience of Web AIM Executive Director, Jared Smith, provided valuable insights relating to their survey experiences. Other Reddit forums were engaged as well, welcoming participation from engaged communities for cerebral palsy, autism, Parkinson’s Disease, and several others.

The Web Accessibility Survey took shape from the collective contributions of many. Ultimately, the goal of this survey is to gain actionable data that will continually improve digital accessibility for all people.

What Questions are Asked in the Web Accessibility Survey?

In addition to helpful demographics information about each survey participant, there are several key areas of focus for the Web Accessibility Survey.

Screen Readers

Screen readers are essential technology tools used by people with visual impairments or other disabilities that challenge on-screen reading. The Web Accessibility Survey includes a series of questions related to screen readers. From those questions about screen readers, we are learning more about the most commonly-used screen readers for desktop computers and mobile devices. From those who use screen readers, we are also learning more about their primary digital input devices, whether or not they continue to use a mouse, and how they most effectively navigate websites and computer applications.

Screen Magnification

The Web Accessibility Survey is also providing more information regarding screen magnification. We are identifying the most commonly-used methods that users magnify their screens, as well as preferred magnification percentages. Some users are sharing how they use multiple layers of magnification.

Style Adjustments

Respondents to the Web Accessibility Survey are also sharing more information relating to style adjustments and preferences. Methods of color adjustments, use of high-contrast modes, dark mode preferences, and other custom styling success via extensions, such as Stylish, are also being identified.

Input Devices

Questions relating to adaptive keyboards and other input devices are included in the Web Accessibility Survey as well. We are learning more about preferred methods of navigating websites, applications, and digital resources. We are learning more about navigating with eye tracking, voice dictation and other input devices that empower digital navigation.

Lessons Learned 

Over 1,200 responses were collected by the Web Accessibility Survey. We are now able to share some valuable insights.

One such insight was around feedback on accessibility overlays. Overlays have been a significant focus of well-intended accessibility tools that are not performing well. Accessibility overlays are software solutions designed to improve the accessibility of websites for people with disabilities. These tools work by adding a layer of accessibility features on top of existing website content without requiring significant changes to the website's underlying code.

With 0 being the poorest experience and 5 being the highest, 30% of survey responses categorize their experience with overlays as 0. Only 5% feel their experience is a 5, or excellent. Some users have reported that overlays interfere with assistive technologies like screen readers and lead to unexpected behavior that hinders accessibility.

Another pain point determined by the responses is that the popular web application intended to verify human (not robot or AI) interaction, called CAPTCHA, has surfaced as a challenge to people with disabilities. 44% of survey responses indicate they fail CAPTCHA security requests “often – every day” or “sometimes – a few times a week.”

Interested in learning more about the results? Visit the Web Accessibility Survey results web page!   

Do You Need Help Improving Digital Accessibility?

Americaneagle.com, as web accessibility experts and partner to some of the world’s most recognized brands, provides your brand the confidence that your digital solutions are consistently accessible. Our experienced accessibility team is well-versed in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), and considerations for accessibility laws throughout the world.

Our team members solving accessibility compliance challenges with our clients include Certified Professionals in Web Accessibility (CPWAs) and Certified Professionals in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACCs). Inclusive design and development are a proactive priority in every digital solution at Americaneagle.com.

We welcome the opportunity to learn more about you and your business. Please connect with us in any way you prefer to learn more about our website accessibility services for WCAG compliance:

About Author

Rex Paisley Americaneagle.com Blog Author
Rex Paisley is a Senior Marketing Specialist with Americaneagle.com. With contributions consistently centered around website and digital marketing solutions, he is a career creative professional who has authored, designed, and developed marketing assets across a wide range of industries. A competitive spirit, he enjoys unpacking the success factors behind the many business wins with clients of Americaneagle.com.

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