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Not all screen reader users are blind

Posted in Accessibility

There’s a common misconception that everyone who uses screen reader software is blind. That’s mostly the case, but not always.

According to the most recent WebAIM Screen Reader User Survey (from 2021), 79.5% of screen reader users are blind. The remaining 20.5% who are not blind may have low or impaired vision, but some may have perfect vision. Let me explain…

According to the British Dyslexia Association:

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which primarily affects reading and writing skills … Dyslexia is actually about information processing

I know a lot of dyslexic people (around 1 in 10 people is dyslexic) and many of them use:

  • simple text-to-speech software like NaturalReader or
  • more hardcore screen reader software, such as VoiceOver

This is because listening to content can make it much easier to digest than reading it on the screen; from

Those with dyslexia often find that text-to-speech software provides significant support if they struggle with reading or digesting text on the computer screen.

So there you have it! Some screen reader users can see the screen perfectly well; instead of using the software to access content, they use it to process and understand.

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