What Frustrates Screen Reader Users on the Web: A Study of 100 Blind Users
In previous research, the computer frustrations of student and workplace users have been documented. However, the challenges faced by blind users on the Web have not been previously examined.
In this study, 100 blind users, using time diaries, recorded their frustrations using the Web. The top causes of frustration reported were (a) page layout causing confusing screen reader feedback; (b) conflict between screen reader and application; (c) poorly designed/unlabeled forms; (d) no alt text for pictures; and (e) 3-way tie between misleading links, inaccessible PDF, and a screen reader crash.
Most of the causes of frustration, such as inappropriate form and graphic labels and confusing page layout, are relatively simple to solve if Webmasters and Web designers focus on this effort.
In addition, the more technically challenging frustrations, such as screen reader crashes and conflicts, need to be addressed by the screen reader developers.
Blind users in this study were likely to repeatedly attempt to solve a frustration, not give up, and not reboot the computer. In this study, the blind
users reported losing, on average, 30.4% of time due to these frustrating situations. Implications for Web developers, screen reader developers, and screen reader users are discussed in this article.