Hello All:

I am working with a market research firm in Chicago that wants to make the
case to on-line e-commerce sites such as on-line grocery shopping services
that it makes good business sense to make their sites accessible to people
who are blind or visually impaired that use screen reading and screen
magnifying software. There is a lot of potential for this work which may
include developing something to put onto various on-line sites or that
someone could get which would cause an on-line site to detect that you are
using a screen reader or magnifier and present a different view of the site
for you.

Right now, this company is looking to find out some demographic data about
people who are blind or visually impaired. I have been on the phone to AFB
and I've got the 10 million number of people who are blind in the United
States. At this point, this company wants to focus on the United States.
There is some other information they want such as:
1. How many people who are blind or visually impaired use computers and the
2. What is the spending power of people who are blind or visually impaired?
In other words, how much disposable income do they have?
3. How often do those using computers and the internet do business at
on-line shopping sites? Would they spend more time and money shopping
on-line if sites were more accessible?
4. Is lack of accessibility to on-line shopping sites the primary reason
they do not do more shopping on-line? What other reasons, if any, do they
not shop on-line?

What I'm wondering is, has anyone done research to gather this kind of
information? If so, how recently was that done and are there any reports of
any findings that I can get ahold of?

We are also pursuing other avenues. For example, we're contacting the
various screen reader and screen magnifier vendors to find out how many
active licenses they have throughout the United States. This will help us
get a rough idea of how many people are using computers out there. I've
been told by Jay Leventhal at AFB that the vendors are pretty secretive with
this information.

Anyway, if anyone knows of recent research findings in this area, I'd
appreciate learning of them. You can contact me at work by phone or e-mail.
Call 888-825-0080 or e-mail ray.campbell@chicagolighthouse.org.


Ray Campbell