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Out of considerations for usability adjustments for website visitors with disabilities, I'm wondering what percentage of visitors is, that are unable to use mouse, and use only keyboard for navigation through elements on a website?

I have never seen or met anyone that can use keyboard, but cannot use mouse / or other pointing device like touchpad or touchscreen. So I'm also curious why they can't.

I am especially interested in the size of this group active in the IT-sector. But other stats will help too.

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    Are you asking for a world view or a particular country? I appreciate your website has a world-wide audience, but garnering stats from some countries is very difficult. Apr 29, 2015 at 14:44
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    Why does it matter, as long as you know there are people who can't use a mouse? If the figure was 5% of population would you then decide "I don't care about 5% so I won't make my site compatible with them?" What about if it was 20%? 50%? Also, don't forget that besides people with permanent / long-term issues there are also those with temporary ailments - broken arms, eye infections, left their spectacles on the bus, mouse has run out of battery...
    – JonW
    Apr 29, 2015 at 14:50
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    In an ideal world it wouldn't matter, sadly everything has to be paid for. We have to justify development level to stakeholders as it costs money. Blanket accessibility would be nice, the pot isn't endless. Apr 29, 2015 at 15:08
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    @JonW It matters for decision making while determining priorities on how far and how fast we would want to implement accessibility features and how much we should invest. Although I would like all of our clients to have a great experience, our accessibility efforts may be quite useless if for example the proportion of people with disabilities are lets say one in ten thousand and those few are completely unable to use our services and thus do not need to visit our commercial website that sells it. Then maybe a better decision would be to increase the experience of regular users.
    – Slava
    Apr 29, 2015 at 15:15
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    Making a site keyboard accessible isn't an additional overhead though. That is just how you're supposed to build websites - using standards. If you're cutting corners and not following standards then you'll end up with a shoddy product, not just an inaccessible one.
    – JonW
    Apr 29, 2015 at 15:16

2 Answers 2

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Accessibility is more than accommodating people that can't use a mouse. It's also about people that prefer not to use a mouse.

To give you a quick idea of these types of people:

  • anyone with fine motor control restrictions. Parkinsons, severe arthritis, etc.
  • Those with disabled hands/arms (war vets, accidents, etc.)
  • anyone with large motor control issues (MS, etc)
  • those that prefer to use a keyboard for most navigation (software developers, typists, etc.)
  • those that don't have a mouse (Macbooks, iPads, iPhones, etc.)

Bottom line, percentages don't matter much here. There's enough people out there to make it matter. Making a web site keyboard friendly is trivial (in fact, it's usually keyboard friendly by default...you actually have to go out of the way to make it harder to use with a keyboard).

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I would like to add one very common condition: repetitive strain injury due to mouse. The prevalence is estimated to be 5-10% of adults, in some occupations up to 40% (https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/repetitive-strain-injury). It makes using the mouse very painful and the tendons of the whole forearm may become inflamed.

Vision problems are another reason to prefer keyboard. You remember the keys and you can feel them, even if you can't see properly where to move your mouse cursor.

Both conditions become more common with age.

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  • There's also a bit of physical and mental re-focussing that happens whenever you switch from keyboard to mouse. This is a small amount of time, but it adds up. If my goal was absolute efficiency (if I were being paid for data entry), then I'd want to stick to the keyboard exclusively. Oct 3, 2018 at 20:04
  • The prevalence listed by your source is "how many adults experienced this for at least 1 month in the past", not "how many currently experience it". These two quantities could differ by a factor of 100 or more. Please clarify your answer. Dec 2, 2023 at 1:10
  • Can you link to a specific abstract? Your source link gives a list of several articles. I found 4% and 30% figures that might be related to what you're quoting, but no source for the 40% number. Dec 2, 2023 at 1:11

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