Survey of Web Accessibility Practitioners #2 Results

Introduction

In April 2018, WebAIM conducted a survey of web accessibility practitioners. We received 724 valid responses to this survey. This was a follow-up survey to a previous survey conducted April 2014. Some disclaimers and notices:

  • Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.
  • Total responses (n) for each question may not equal 724 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

Respondent Region
Region# of Respondents% of Respondents
North America48366.7%
Europe/UK16122.2%
Australia and Oceania405.5%
Asia304.1%
South America91.2%
Africa/Middle East1.1%

Age

Respondent Age
Age# of Respondents% of Respondents
18-2910514.7%
30-4434748.7%
45-6425035.1%
65+101.4%

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 2018 Stack Overflow survey of over 100,000 developers, for example, had only 6.9% of respondents over age 45, compared to 35% of web accessibility practitioners aged over 45.

Gender

Respondent Gender
Gender# of Respondents% of Respondents
Male41859.0%
Female28039.5%
Other101.4%

The prevalence of women in the web accessibility field in our sample (39.5%) is over 5.5 times that reported in the broader web development field, where women comprise 6.9%. In our sample, 50.7% of male respondents indicated they are very proficient in web accessibility, compared to 43.6% of women.

Disability Reported

Do you consider yourself to have a disability?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
No52273.6%
Yes18726.4%

It is not surprising that the web accessibility field would include a higher percentage of users with disabilities - much higher than reported in the broader development field. The percentage of respondents with disabilities increased to 26.4% in this survey from 21.8% in 2014. Notable differences in survey responses between respondents with and without disabilities are included throughout this report.

Education Level

What is your education level?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
High/Secondary school212.9%
Some college or university8411.7%
College diploma, associate's, bachelor's, or equivalent degree36650.8%
Master's degree21830.3%
Doctorate304.2%

Compared to others in the development field, our sample of those in web accessibility were more educated. While 72.5% of respondents to the 2018 Stack Overflow survey had earned at least a college degree,84.1% of web accessibility practitioners in our sample had college degrees.

Operating Systems

Operating System
OS# of Respondents% of Respondents
Windows33746.5%
Apple21830.1%
iOS9413.0%
Android577.9%
Linux172.3%
Chrome OS1.1%

Operating system data was detected from the system used to complete the survey. Usage of Windows was down from 58.9% in 2014 to 46.5% in 2018, while Apple increased from 23.3% to 30.1%, iOS increased from 9.7% to 13%, and Android increased from 5.4% to 7.9% over the same time period. Respondents under age 45 were much more likely to be using Apple computers than those over age 45. Respondents with disabilities were much more likely to use Windows than those without disabilities.

Browsers

Respondent Browser
Browser# of Respondents% of Respondents
Chrome38052.5%
Firefox15020.7%
All mobile browsers9112.6%
Internet Explorer547.5%
Safari324.4%
Others172.3%

Browser data was detected from the system used to complete the survey. Chrome usage has increased from 35.6% in 2014 to 52.5% in 2018 while Firefox has decreased from 28.6% to 20.7% in that same time period. Edge was used by only 1.1% of respondents.

57.5% of respondents without disabilities used Chrome compared to only 38% of those with disabilities. Internet Explorer usage was notably higher for respondents with disabilities and those from government. JavaScript was enabled in the browsers of 100% of respondents.

Organization Type

For what type of organization do you work?
Organization Type# of Respondents% of Respondents
Corporation or industry36350.8%
Educational institution15922.2%
Governmental entity9313.0%
Freelancer/Self-employed466.4%
Non-profit or foundation324.5%
Volunteer or volunteer organization1.1%
Other212.9%

55.2% of male respondents indicated working for a corporation or industry compared to 43.1% of women. Women were more likely to work in education - 30.8% compared to 16.7% of men

The number of respondents from corporations or industry increased to 50.8% from 38.4% in 2014. Respondents from government, non-profits, and freelancers/self-employed decreased over that same time period.

Accessible Organization Web Site

Is your organization's web site highly accessible?
Response% of Respondents
Yes63.1%
No36.9%

Responses to this question are generally unchanged from 2014. 55.9% of respondents from corporations/industry thought their web sites were highly accessible compared to 66.7% of those from education, 71% of those from non-profits/foundations, 73% of those from government, and 78.9% 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/lead30842.8%
Developer18726.0%
Quality assurance/testing496.8%
Project manager or administrator476.5%
Designer456.3%
Usability or information architect233.2%
Content specialist/strategist182.5%
Educator111.5%
Marketer30.4%
Administrative assistant or secretary20.3%
Volunteer10.1%
Other263.6%

Web accessibility practitioners hold many varying roles. The number of experts/consultants/leads increased to 42.8% from 38% in 2014. Male respondents were more likely to be developers whereas female respondents were more likely to be project managers or designers.

Web Accessibility Role/Assignments

Which of the following best describes your web accessibility role/assignments?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Official role or significant assignment46264.7%
Small part of role/assignment15521.7%
Self-directed/volunteer9713.6%

Respondents indicating that web accessibility is their official role or a significant part of their job assignment increased from 51.3% in 2014 to 64.7% in 2018. This may indicate more dedication of roles to web accessibility in recent years. Respondents from educational institutions were least likely to have web accessibility as an official or significant role.

Weekly Web Accessibility Time

How much time each week do you spend in web accessibility efforts?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
0-9 hours22131.1%
10-19 hours12417.4%
20-29 hours7911.1%
30-39 hours10514.8%
40+ hours18225.6%

The majority of respondents reported that they implement accessibility part-time. While 64.7% indicated that web accessibility was their official role or a significant part of their job assignment, only 40.4% spent more than 30 hours per week in this area. It may be that accessibility practitioners see the accessibility component of design or development to represent a smaller fraction of their overall work. No matter the interpretation of this question, the responses represent a notable increase from 2014 where 29.3% of survey respondents indicated they spent over 30 hours a week on web accessibility. Respondents from corporations or industry in our sample spent significantly more time in web accessibility efforts than respondents from education or government.

Web Accessibility Experience

For how many years have you actively been implementing web accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
0-2 years18625.9%
3-5 years19026.5%
6-8 years11716.3%
9-11 years7610.6%
12+ years14920.8%

41.2% of respondents with disabilities reported 9 or more years of experience compared to only 28% of respondents without disabilities.

Salary

What is your current annual (gross) salary (in US dollars)?
Salary# of Respondents% of Respondents
<$20,000324.9%
$20,000-$40,000659.9%
$40,000-$60,00011417.4%
$60,000-$80,00016425.1%
$80,000-$100,00013420.5%
$100,000-$120,0008012.2%
>$120,000659.9%

Salaries of web accessibility practitioners are quite diverse with a median salary range of $60,000-$80,000. Respondents reported significantly higher average salaries than those reported on the 2018 Stack Overflow survey of over 100,000 developers. Reported salaries increased since 2014 - 67.6% of respondents in 2018 indicated they made over $60,000 compared to 56.5% in 2014.

Not surprisingly, respondents who are older, have more education, and have more experience earned considerably more than other respondents. Those working in corporations/industry were the best paid - making at least $71,000 on average, with those in government making $65,000, those in education making $55,000, and freelancers/self-employed making $48,000. Usability and information architect was the highest paid role (at least $72,000), followed by project manager or administrator ($70,000), web accessibility expert/consultant/lead and designer ($67,000), quality assurance/testing and educators ($50,000), and content specialist/strategist ($48,000). Because only salary ranges were reported, these are minimal, average salary amounts.

Gender wage gap

Female respondents reported earning an average of at least $2,100 less than their male counterparts. This was notably lower than the $8,200 gender pay gap that was reported in 2014. This disparity can primarily be attributed to the fact that women work predominantly in education and government, which both pay notably less than the corporate sector where men predominantly work. While women from corporations/industry reported making around $1600 more than their male counterparts (and over 50% of respondents were from corporations/industry) there were notable salary gaps in other sectors - in education women reported making a minimum of $5,000 less than men, in government the disparity was almost $6,000, and for freelancers/self-employed, women made over $10,000 less than men. While this survey was not intended to be an exploration into gender wage gaps, we do find these data of interest.

Disability wage gap

A salary disparity also exists for those with disabilities - they earned an average of at least $4,200 less than those without disabilities despite having very similar education levels and more reported years of experience. This gap, however, is much lower than the $12,400 gap reported in 2014. Unlike with gender, the work sectors or roles for those with disabilities were not a factor in this disparity. In fact, people with disabilities were slightly more likely to work in sectors and roles 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, and while pay disparities appear to be decreasing over time, notable disparities exist. It is worth mentioning 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

How proficient do you feel you are in web accessibility?
Proficiency# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very proficient34747.9%
Somewhat proficient34147.1%
Not very proficient324.4%
Not at all proficient40.6%

Respondents reported a high level of web accessibility proficiency, and higher levels of proficiency than reported in 2014. 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

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 accessible39756.9
Web content accessibility has not changed25236.1%
Web content has become less accessible497.0%

Respondents were generally optimistic about change over time with increased optimism since 2014. More web accessibility practitioners indicated that accessibility has improved (53.8%) than did respondents in our 2018 survey of screen reader users (40.8%). Web accessibility practitioners with disabilities were slightly less optimistic (53.5% of respondents with disabilities thought accessibility had improved) than those without disabilities (58.2% saw improvements). In short, those with disabilities that implement accessibility were much more positive about progress than other users with disabilities.

Impacts on Accessibility

Which of the following do you think would have a bigger impact on improvements to web accessibility?
Proficiency# of Respondents% of Respondents
Better (more accessible) web sites59383.2%
Better assistive technology and browsers12016.8%

These responses were very similar to responses of screen reader users. Across all WebAIM surveys, responses to this question have increasingly placed the burden on site authors over time.

IAAP Affiliation

Do you have an affiliation with IAAP (International Association of Accessibility Professionals)?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Yes - I am or my organization is a member10614.7%
No - but membership is being considered10915.1%
No29641.1%
I was not aware of IAAP20929.0%

Those who were not aware of IAAP dropped from 53.9% in 2014 to 29% in 2018. However, those reporting they are members of IAAP also dropped from 18.6% in 2014 to 14.7% in this survey. This may suggest that most respondents who have become aware of IAAP had chosen not to consider membership at the time of the survey.

Web Accessibility Learning

Did you learn anything substantive about web accessibility as part of your formal schooling (high school, higher education, etc.)?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
No66692.8%
Yes527.2%

The vast majority of respondents received no formal schooling on web accessibility. Those with less experience in the field were more likely to have received formal schooling on this topic, suggesting that newcomers to the field or those more recently engaged in formal schooling are more likely to have received this.

Which of the following are predominant ways in which you have learned about web accessibility?
Response% of Respondents
Formal schooling5.5%
Training or workshops65.1%
Collaboration with peers or colleagues79%
Professional Conferences56.6%
Meet-ups, camps, unconferences, or other less formal conferences37%
On-the-job training or experiences78.9%
Social media42.7%
Books39.4%
Online resources - StackOverflow, WebAIM.org, etc.90.5%
Other9.3%

OCR Complaints or Lawsuits

Has your organization received a formal Office of Civil Rights complaint, been sued, or received a threat of a lawsuit regarding web accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Yes14620.9%
No41559.5%
Don't know13719.6%

43% of respondents from educational institutions reported receiving a lawsuit, threat of lawsuit, or OCR complaint compared to only 14.9% of respondents from corporations/industry.

WCAG Familiarity

How familiar are you with WCAG 2.0?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very familiar51671.8%
Somewhat familiar18525.7%
Not very familiar131.8%
Not at all familiar50.7%

The number of respondents who were very familiar with WCAG (71.8%) was much higher than reported in 2014 (58.8%).

WCAG Usefulness

How useful to you is WCAG 2.0?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very useful48768.6%
Somewhat useful21229.9%
Not very useful91.3%
Not at all useful20.3%

Respondents with higher levels of familiarity with WCAG 2.0 reported it as being more useful to them.

WCAG Understandability

How understandable to you is WCAG 2.0?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very understandable26237.0%
Somewhat understandable37152.3%
Not very understandable7410.4%
Not at all understandable20.3%

Reported levels of WCAG 2.0 understandability were significantly lower than reported levels of usefulness and familiarity.

WCAG 2.1 Familiarity

How familiar are you with the new proposed WCAG 2.1 success criteria?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very familiar11215.8%
Somewhat familiar32746%
Not very familiar19928%
Not at all familiar7310.3%

ARIA Familiarity

How familiar are you with the ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) specification?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very familiar26236.7%
Somewhat familiar35349.5%
Not very familiar7410.4%
Not at all familiar243.4%

Familiarity with ARIA has increased since 2014 when 26.5% of respondents indicated being very familiar with it.

ARIA Impact

How would you characterize the overall impacts of ARIA on web accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
ARIA has made the web more accessible52882.4%
ARIA has had no or minimal impact on web accessibility8913.9%
ARIA has made the web less accessible243.7%

Respondents with disabilities were less favorable regarding the impacts of ARIA than respondents without disabilities - 7.3% of respondents with disabilities thought ARIA had made the web less accessible compared to 2.2% of those without disabilities.

Primary Screen Reader

Which of the following is your primary screen reader for testing?
Screen Reader# of Respondents% of Respondents
NVDA24434.4%
VoiceOver20428.7%
JAWS18926.6%
ChromeVox182.5%
Narrator40.6%
Other101.4%
Don't use a screen reader415.8%

JAWS was the most commonly used primary screen reader for testing in 2014 with 37.3% of respondents, but dropped to 26.6% in 2018 with both NVDA (34.4%) and VoiceOver (28.7%) surpassing it. JAWS usage among those with disabilities was 40.8% (a decrease from 57.1% in 2014) and was notably higher than the 21.3% JAWS usage among respondents without disabilities. VoiceOver usage was only 19% by respondents with disabilities compared to 32.3% of respondents without disabilities.

JAWS usage was more prevalent among those with higher accessibility proficiency. NVDA and VoiceOver usage were higher in corporations/industry than in government or education.

Regional differences are of note. NVDA and VoiceOver were more likely to be used in Europe than in North America.

Screen Reader Proficiency

How proficient are you at using screen readers?
Proficiency# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very proficient17023.9%
Somewhat proficient35249.4%
Not very proficient14520.4%
Not at all proficient456.3%

In 2014 only 54.4% of respondents indicated being very or somewhat proficient with screen readers, compared to 73.3% in 2018. 50.8% of respondents with disabilities reported being very proficient using a screen reader compared to only 14.2% of those without disabilities.

Testing Tools

Which of the following tools do you commonly use for testing web accessibility?
Tool% of Respondents
WAVE Chrome or Firefox extensions58.0%
aXe or aXe Plugins49.2%
Google Accessibility Developer Tools45.2%
Online contrast checkers45.2%
Accessibility bookmarklets or user scripts41.3%
WAVE online evaluation tool32.2%
Siteimprove14.6%
AChecker11.0%
Tenon10.1%
Accessibility Viewer (aViewer)8.7%
Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)6.9%
Accessibility Management Platform (AMP)6.8%
SortSite4.6%
WorldSpace4.4%
Compliance Sheriff2.9%
Cynthia Says2.2%
OzART1.0%
Other36.2%

Nearly all respondents indicated using multiple tools, with 3.8 different tools being used on average. Respondents from education and government were more likely to use the WAVE extensions than respondents from corporations/industry who were more likely to use aXe. Respondents from education were the most likely to use commercial tools such as Sortsite and AMP.

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 accessibility27438.1%
Lack of web accessibility skills or knowledge29440.9%
Fear that accessibility will hinder the look, feel, or functionality598.2%
Lack of budget or resources to make it accessible9212.8%

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 in a screen reader user survey. While many 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 as practitioners to choose impact on look, feel, or functionality, even though practitioners are more likely to deal with the design and functionality implications of accessibility.

Organizational Motivation

Which of the following best describes your organization's motivation for implementing accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Compliance with guidelines and/or best practices18426.2%
Moral motivation (it's the right thing to do)17825.4%
Legal, contractual, or structured negotiation requirements16323.2%
Business/competitive advantage7811.1%
Fear of a lawsuit or complaint649.1%
My organization does not yet implement accessibility355.0%

Responses to this question were largely unchanged from 2014. Respondents who indicated that their organization's site is already highly accessible were nearly 3 times more likely to indicate that morals (it's the right thing to do) were the motivation for their organization than those whose organization's web site is not yet accessible. Legal and contractual motivations and fear of lawsuit were much higher motivators for entities that have not yet achieved accessibility. Respondents from Asia and Europe were more likely to indicate that their organizations were motivated by morals than respondents from Australia/Oceania or North and Central America.

There were very large differences in motivations based on organization type. Only 13% of respondents in government indicated that their organization was primarily motivated by morals, compared to 68.8% of non-profits or foundations and 47.6% of freelancers/self-employed. Governmental entities (47.6%) and corporations/industry (24.8%) were primarily motivated by legal or contractual requirements, whereas educational institutions were most motivated by compliance with guidelines and/or best practices (40.8%). Not surprisingly, those who have received OCR complaints or lawsuits were more motivated by these legal requirements than were others.

Personal Motivation

Which of the following best describes your own personal motivation for implementing accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Compliance with guidelines and/or best practices8011.2%
Moral motivation (it's the right thing to do)58281.6%
Legal, contractual, or structured negotiation requirements81.1%
Business/competitive advantage365.0%
Fear of a lawsuit or complaint3.4%
I do not yet implement accessibility4.6%

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

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

Impact of Accessibility

In your accessibility work, how notable is the difference you are making in the lives of people with disabilities?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very notable21932.4%
Somewhat notable32447.9%
Not very notable10816.0%
Not at all notable243.7%

It's encouraging to see that respondents feel they are making a difference. Those with higher levels of proficiency reported higher levels of impact. 88.2% of web accessibility experts/consultants/leads indicated making a very or somewhat notable difference, compared to 83.3% of project managers, 72.1% of programmers, and 59.5% of designers. Respondents who indicated that their organization's web site is highly accessible reported higher levels of impact (85.9% indicating very or somewhat notable differences) than those whose organizations are not yet accessible (71.1%). Respondents with disabilities also reported higher levels of impact than those without disabilities (87.6% vs. 77.9%).