Almost half of all people with a mobile phone use accessibility features. Much more than you would expect, right? In our survey of millions of iOS and Android users in the Netherlands, we looked at which accessibility features are enabled.
Almost half of the Dutch iOS users surveyed have one or more accessibility settings activated on their phone.
What is more, a large group even uses two or more accessibility features on iOS.
More than half of the Dutch Android users surveyed have one or more accessibility settings activated on their phone.
Also on Android, a large group even uses two or more accessibility features.
The study shows that visual settings are changed most frequently in mobile applications. Note: these support functions are not only used by people with a visual impairment. For example, it can be useful to increase the contrast of the screen in full sunlight. Also, if you are looking at your screen for an extended period of time, turning on dark mode makes it a lot easier on the eyes.
have turned on dark mode on iOS.
Many people make their fonts larger on iOS.
use zoom on iOS.
The metric for display size is not available on iOS.
turn on bold text on iOS.
select an increased colour contrast on iOS.
have turned off the transparency setting on iOS.
The metric for colour blind mode is not available on iOS at the moment.
invert colours on iOS.
have turned on dark mode on Android.
Many people make their font-size larger on Android.
The metric for magnification on Android will soon become available.
increase display size on Android.
The metric for bold text on Android will soon become available.
The metric for high contrast text on Android will soon become available.
The setting to turn off transparency is not available on Android.
use colour blind mode on Android.
The metric for invert colours on Android will soon become available.
Closed captions and other audio settings are indispensable for people who are deaf or have difficulty hearing. But closed captions are also handy when watching a video in a noisy environment, or if Dutch is not your first language.
turn on mono audio on iOS.
have closed captions on by default on iOS.
The metric for mono audio on Android will soon become available.
have closed captions on by default on Android.
If you are unable to look at your screen for whatever reason, speech settings help you absorb the information in another way. But the read-aloud feature can also be helpful if you have difficulty reading written text.
use speak selection on iOS.
use the speak screen feature on iOS.
use voiceover on iOS.
The metric for Voice Control on iOS will soon become available.
use select to speak on Android.
The speak screen feature is not available on Android.
use Talkback on Android.
use Voice Access on Android.
Other striking results
In addition to the findings set out above, we also discovered some that are not also easily categorised. These findings emphasise the importance of paying sufficient attention to accessibility. For example, many Dutch people have activated settings that make their phones somewhat less sensitive. They may do this because they have a medical condition and are unable to keep their hands still, or when they are in a rattling, overcrowded bus.
have turned off shake to undo on iOS.
The metric for disabling the automatic screen rotation is not available on iOS.
use Switch Control on iOS.
The setting to turn off shake to undo is not available on Android.
have their screen in landscape mode per default on Android.
use Switch Access on Android.
Accountability and more info
This data is collected anonymously via an open source library of digital product studio Q42. This library (a small piece of software) has been added to various apps in consultation with clients to check which accessibility options users have activated. The survey is now conducted among more than two million users.
No personal data is collected or processed. The data collected are generic properties and settings of mobile devices. In the processing no data is collected or generated that can be traced back to a person.
Want to collect your own data on the use of accessibility features in your app? In the article Gather your own accessibility data, we explain how to do this.
You can also incorporate all these numbers into your own story or presentation. Download the most recent numbers in a format of your choice.
If you have any questions or want to know more about this, please contact Johan Huijkman of Q42: firstname.lastname@example.org.