Survey of Web Accessibility Practitioners Results

Introduction

In July 2014, WebAIM conducted a survey of web accessibility practitioners. We received 900 valid responses to this survey. A few disclaimers and notices:

  • Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.
  • Total responses (n) for each question may not equal 900 due to respondents not answering that particular question.
  • The sample was not controlled and may not represent all web accessibility practitioners.
  • We hope to conduct additional surveys of this nature again in the future. If you have recommendations or questions you would like us to ask, please contact us.

Region

Pie chart showing respondents region

Region of Respondents
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
North and Central America52058.0%
Europe25128.0%
Australia and Oceania829.1%
Asia323.6%
South America111.2%
Africa/Middle East1.1%

Operating Systems

Pie chart showing respondent operating systems

Operating System
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Windows53058.9%
Apple21023.3%
iOS879.7%
Android495.4%
Linux182.0%
Others60.7%

Operating system data was detected from the system used to complete the survey.

Browsers

Chart showing browser usage

Browsers
Browser# of Respondents% of Respondents
Chrome32035.6%
Firefox25728.6%
Internet Explorer16117.9%
All Mobile Browsers9810.9%
Safari556.1%
Others91.0%

Browser data was detected from the system used to complete the survey. Internet Explorer usage (17.9%) is significantly lower than from the January 2014 screen reader user survey (58.7%). IE versions were 33.5% IE11, 15.5% IE10, 29.8% IE9, and 21.1% IE 8 or older.

41.5% of respondents without disabilities use Chrome compared to only 16.6% of those with disabilities. Internet Explorer usage is notably higher for respondents with disabilities and those from government.

JavaScript Enabled

Pie chart showing respondents with JavaScript enabled

Respondents with JavaScript Enabled
JavaScript Enabled% of Respondents
Yes99.5%
No0.5%

As with other WebAIM surveys, nearly all respondents have JavaScript enabled.

Age

Pie chart showing respondents age

Age of Respondents
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
18 and under30.3%
19-2913515.2%
30-4444149.5%
45-6429733.3%
65+151.7%

When compared to age demographics from surveys conducted in the broader web design and development field, those in web accessibility tend to be notably older. The 2011 A List Apart Survey for People Who Make Websites, for example, had 45.4% of respondents under age 29, compared to only 15.5% for web accessibility practitioners.

Gender

Pie chart showing respondents gender

Gender of Respondents
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Female34238.6%
Male54361.4%

The prevalence of women in the web accessibility field is over double that reported in the broader web design/development field. Is accessibility's focus on equality more inviting and welcoming to women than other technology fields?

Disability Reported

Pie chart showing reported disability

Do you consider yourself to have a disability?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
No69178.2%
Yes19321.8%

It is not surprising that the web accessibility field would include a high percentage of users with disabilities. Notable differences in survey responses between respondents with and without disabilities are noted throughout this report.

Education Level

Pie Chart of Respondent Education Level

Education level of respondents
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Grade/Primary School1.1%
High/Secondary School384.2%
Some College or University10411.6%
College diploma, associate's, bachelor's, or equivalent degree40945.6%
Master's degree29432.8%
Doctorate515.7%

Compared to others in the design/development field, those in web accessibility are notably more educated. 73.1% of respondents to The A List Apart survey had earned a college, master's, or doctorate degree, compared to 84.1% of web accessibility practitioners.

Organization Type

Pie Chart of Respondent Organization Type

For what type of organization do you work?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Corporation or industry33838.4%
Educational institution18621.1%
Non-profit or foundation718.1%
Governmental entity16518.7%
Freelancer/Self-employed9510.8%
Volunteer or volunteer organization40.5%
Other222.5%

43% of male respondents work for a corporation or industry compared to 31.1% of women. Women were more likely to work in education - 27.8% compared to 16.8% of men - and government - 22.2% compared to 16.6% of men.

Accessible Organization Web Site

Pie chart showing accessibility of organization's web site

Is your organization's web site highly accessible?
Response% of Respondents
Yes63.8%
No36.2%

57% of respondents from both corporations/industry and education thought their web sites were highly accessible compared to 66.2% of those from government, 82.6% of those from non-profits/foundations, and 86.6% of freelancers/self-employed.

Primary Job Title/Role

Which of the following is the closest match to your primary role or job title?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Web accessibility expert/consultant/lead33938.0%
Developer19922.3%
Project manager or administrator758.4%
Usability or information architect525.8%
Designer475.3%
Content specialist/strategist434.8%
Educator353.9%
Quality assurance/testing343.8%
Student80.9%
Marketer40.4%
Volunteer40.4%
Administrative assistant or secretary30.3%
Other495.5%

Web Accessibility Role/Assignments

Pie Chart of Web Accessibility Role/Assignments

Which of the following best describes your web accessibility role/assignments?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Official role or significant part of job assignment45351.3%
A small part of my role or assignments27431.0%
Self-directed/volunteer15617.7%

Weekly Web Accessibility Time

Pie Chart of weekly web accessibility time

How much time each week do you spend in web accessibility efforts?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
0-9 hours38243.9%
10-19 hours13916.0%
20-29 hours9410.8%
30-39 hours9811.3%
40+ hours15718.0%

The majority of those implementing accessibility do so part-time. While 51.3% indicate that web accessibility is their official role or a significant part of their job assignment, only 29.3% spend more than 30 hours per week in this area.

Web Accessibility Experience

Pie Chart of web accessibility experience

For how many years have you actively been implementing web accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
0-2 years22625.7%
3-5 years20723.5%
6-8 years17920.3%
9-11 years12814.5%
12+ years14116.0%

Salary

Pie Chart of Salaries

What is your current salary?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Less than $20,000668.5%
$20,000-$40,00011214.4%
$40,000-$60,00016120.6%
$60,000-$80,00017322.2%
$80,000-$100,00013116.8%
$100,000-$120,0008310.6%
More than $120,000546.9%

Salaries of web accessibility practitioners are quite diverse with a median salary range of $60,000-$80,000. Respondents have significantly higher salaries than those reported on the ALA salary survey of 2011 for web designers and developers and a 2012 Coders' Survey, and higher average salaries than most design or development roles on this 2014 survey. 56.5% of respondents reported earning over $60,000 compared to only 37.1% of respondents to the 2011 ALA Survey for People Who Make Websites.

As would be expected, those with more education and more experience earn significantly more than their peers. Web accessibility experts/consultants/leads were the best paid with 64.2% earning over $60,000 compared to 55.3% of project managers/administrators, 51.1% of developers, and 39.6% of designers. Those from corporations or industries earned the most - at least $2500 more than those in government, $14,000 more than those in education, and $22,000 more than freelancers/self-employed.

Gender wage gap

Female respondents earn an average of at least $8,200 less than their male counterparts. However, much of this disparity can be attributed to women working predominantly in education and government, which both pay notably less than the corporate sector where men predominantly reported working. When comparing salaries within individual fields, women make slightly more than men in the corporate sector - significantly different than the notable gender pay gap in other corporate technology fields. However, in education women make a minimum of almost $10,000 less than men, almost $14,000 less than men in government, and over $20,000 less than men in the freelancer/self-employed sector. While this survey was not intended to be an exploration into gender wage gaps, we do find this data of interest.

Disability wage gap

A significant disparity also exists for those with disabilities - they earn an average of at least $12,400 less than those without disabilities despite having very similar education level and years of experience. Unlike with gender, the work sectors for those with disabilities were not a factor in this disparity. In fact, people with disabilities were slightly more likely to work in sectors with higher pay than those without disabilities, thus making this disparity in pay even more notable.

While the survey data show that web accessibility is perhaps the most diverse web technology field, notable disparities exist in pay. Of note is that the survey did not ask regarding part-time work, which may account for some of the gender and/or disability wage gap. Also, no known data are available to accurately determine how the pay disparity in the web accessibility field compares to other technology fields.

Web Accessibility Proficiency

Pie Chart of Web Accessibility Proficiency

How proficient do you feel you are in web accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very proficient35039.4%
Somewhat proficient45250.9%
Not very proficient697.8%
Not at all proficient171.9%

Respondents reported a high level of web accessibility proficiency. As would be expected, those that spend more time in accessibility efforts each week and that have worked in the field longer report high proficiency.

Web Accessibility Progress

Chart showing web accessibility progress

Which of the following best describes your feelings regarding the accessibility of web content over the previous year?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Web content has become more accessible46253.8%
Web content accessibility has not changed30936%
Web content has become less accessible8810.2%

Respondents are generally optimistic about change over time. When compared to other recent WebAIM surveys, more web accessibility practitioners indicated that accessibility has improved (53.8%) than screen reader users (36.7%), users with low vision (28.6%), and users with motor disabilities (23.3%). While these differences are notable, for this survey, web accessibility practitioners with disabilities were only slightly less optimistic (49.7% of respondents with disabilities thought accessibility had improved) than those without disabilities (54.7% saw improvements). In short, those with disabilities that actually implement accessibility are much more positive about progress than other users with disabilities.

Impacts on Accessibility

Chart showing impacts on accessibility

Which of the following do you think would have a bigger impact on improvements to web accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Better (more accessible) web sites70679.5%
Better assistive technology18220.5%

These responses are very similar to responses of screen reader users.

Primary Effort

Chart showing primary effort

Where does your web accessibility effort primarily go?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Evaluating web site accessibility26029.7%
Building/designing web sites22926.1%
Training or educating on web accessibility18020.5%
Remediating/fixing web sites15517.7%
Document (PDF, Word, etc.) or multimedia accessibility525.9%

Those with more web accessibility proficiency spend more effort evaluating and training/educating than those with less proficiency. Those with disabilities are twice as likely to primarily evaluate and half as likely to build/design web sites than those without disabilities.

Accessibility Certification

Pie Chart of likelihood to pursue professional accessibility certification

If made available to you, how likely would you be to pursue professional accessibility certification?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very likely33338.0%
Somewhat likely33638.3%
Not very likely15617.8%
Not at all likely525.9%

The vast majority of respondents indicate a likelihood to pursue professional certification. Those with more web accessibility proficiency are more likely to pursue this, however, 43% of those with 0-5 years of web accessibility experience are very likely to pursue certification compared to 32% of those with 9+ years suggesting that those with more experience find less value in the certification. Those with more education are also less likely to pursue certification.

IAAP Membership

Pie Chart of IAAP affiliation

What is your affiliation with IAAP (International Association of Accessibility Professionals)?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
I am or my organization is a member16418.6%
Considering membership11613.2%
Not considering membership12614.3%
I was not aware of IAAP47553.9%

WCAG Familiarity

Pie Chart of WCAG Familiarity

How familiar are you with WCAG 2.0?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very familiar52258.8%
Somewhat familiar29232.9%
Not very familiar445.0%
Not at all familiar303.4%

ARIA Familiarity

Pie Chart of ARIA Familiarity

How familiar are you with the ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) specification?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very familiar23626.5%
Somewhat familiar42647.8%
Not very familiar16518.5%
Not at all familiar657.3%

Primary Screen Reader

Primary Screen Reader

Which of the following is your primary screen reader for testing?
Screen Reader# of Respondents% of Respondents
JAWS32937.3%
NVDA24327.6%
VoiceOver12914.6%
ChromeVox364.1%
Window-Eyes111.2%
ZoomText30.3%
System Access or System Access To Go00%
Other232.6%
I don't use a screen reader10712.1%

There is some disparity between the primary screen reader of those implementing accessibility and those who use screen readers due to a disability. JAWS usage among those with disabilities is significantly higher (57.1%) than those without disabilities (32%) whereas NVDA (24.3% vs 28.3%), VoiceOver (10.6% vs. 15.7%), and ChromeVox (1.1% vs. 5%) usage is lower among those with disabilities.

JAWS usage was more prevalent among those with higher accessibility proficiency. JAWS was also more prevalent in governmental and education entities whereas NVDA and VoiceOver were popular more in corporations/industry and by freelancers. As an example, from governmental entities, only 4.3% reported using VoiceOver compared to 18.5% of respondents from corporations/industry and 22.1% of respondents that are freelancers or self-employed.

Perhaps most surprising is that not a single respondent indicated that System Access or System Access To Go is their primary screen reader whereas 7.7% of respondents to the January 2014 Screen Reader User survey indicated this.

Regional differences are of note. JAWS was the most popular primary screen reader is North and Central America whereas NVDA was the most popular in Europe and Australia/Oceania.

Tested Using a Screen Reader

Pie chart showing those who have tested with a screen reader

Have you ever personally tested a web page using a screen reader?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Yes78588.4%
No10311.6%

Screen Reader Proficiency

Pie Chart of screen reader proficiency

How proficient are you at using screen readers?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very proficient17019.1%
Somewhat proficient31435.3%
Not very proficient29132.7%
Not at all proficient11412.8%

54.2% of those with disabilities report being very proficient using a screen reader compared to only 9.1% of those without disabilities.

Reasons for Inaccessibility

Chart showing reasons for inaccessibility

Which of the following do you think is the primary reason that many sites/applications are not made to be accessible?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Lack of awareness of web accessibility31536.2%
Lack of web accessibility skills or knowledge31836.6%
Fear that accessibility will hinder the look, feel, or functionality11513.2%
Lack of budget or resources to make it accessible12113.9%

Many respondents indicated in the survey comments that they desired an "All of the above" option. This question was primarily asked to compare responses to those provided on a screen reader user survey. While a large number of respondents of both surveys chose lack of awareness, practitioners attribute inaccessibility to lack of skills/knowledge and budget/resources more than screen reader users do. Screen reader users were almost twice as likely to indicate that impact on look, feel, or functionality contributes to inaccessibility than practitioners who are more likely to deal with the design and functionality implications of accessibility.

Organizational Factors

Chart showing critical factors for accessibility

Within an organization, which of the following is the most critical to ensuring a successful web accessibility effort?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Management support32436.7%
Staff that are proficient in accessibility21924.8%
A clearly defined policy and/or guidelines19722.3%
Sufficient budget or time support7713.9%
Legal mandates and requirements508.7%
Other161.8%

Organizational Motivation

Chart showing organization's motivation for accessibility

Which of the following best describes your organization's motivation for implementing accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Compliance with guidelines and/or best practices26731.4%
Moral motivation (it's the right thing to do)21925.7%
Legal, contractual, or structured negotiation requirements21825.6%
Fear of a lawsuit or complaint9310.9%
My organization does not yet implement accessibility546.3%

Respondents who indicated that their organization's site is already highly accessible were over 3 times more likely to indicate that morals (it's the right thing to do) were their motivation than those whose web site is not yet accessible. Legal and contractual motivations and fear of lawsuit are higher motivators for those that have not yet achieved accessibility.

There were significant differences in motivations based on organization type. Only 4.4% of respondents in government indicate that their organization is primarily motivated by morals compared to 57.5% of freelancers/self-employed.

Personal Motivation

Chart showing personal motivation for accessibility

Which of the following best describes your own personal motivation for implementing accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Compliance with guidelines and/or best practices13014.8%
Moral motivation (it's the right thing to do)72082.1%
Legal, contractual, or structured negotiation requirements141.6%
Fear of a lawsuit or complaint50.6%
I do not yet implement accessibility80.9%

When compared to the organizational motivations above, this indicates a VERY significant disparity between what motivates web accessibility practitioners and what motivates their organizations. Those with higher web accessibility proficiency are more likely to be motivated by morals than those with lower proficiency (who tended to be motivated more by guidelines and best practices).

This all suggests that intrinsic, moral motivations likely results in better actual accessibility than requirements and fear. See WebAIM’s Hierarchy for Motivating Accessibility Change.

Extra Effort

Chart showing estimated extra effort for accessibility

How much extra effort do you estimate it takes for you to implement accessibility into a site/application design and development vs. an inaccessible site/application?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
0-10% more time39546.5%
11-30%34240.3%
31-50%738.6%
Over 50% more time394.6%

Many respondents commented that there are many factors that impact additional accessibility effort (such as education level, tools used, etc.). Those with higher web accessibility proficiency and experience indicate that it takes less extra effort than those with lower proficiency and experience. Respondents from industry and government indicated that more effort is required than freelancers and respondents from education. Respondents with sites that are already accessible also indicated that less effort is required than those with sites not yet accessible.