WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

Survey of Web Accessibility Practitioners #3 Results


In January 2021, WebAIM conducted a survey of web accessibility practitioners. We received 758 valid responses to this survey. This was a follow-up survey to previous surveys conducted April 2014 and April 2018. Some disclaimers and notices:

  • Totals may not equal 100% due to rounding.
  • Total responses (n) for each question may not equal 758 due to respondents not answering that 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.


Respondent Region
Region# of Respondents% of Respondents
North America47662.8%
Australia and Oceania455.9%
South America141.8%
Africa/Middle East7.19%


Respondent Age
Age# of Respondents% of Respondents

When compared to age demographics from surveys conducted in the broader web design and development field, respondents to this survey were notably older. The 2020 Stack Overflow survey of nearly 65,000 developers, for example, had only 8.9% of respondents over age 45, compared to 37.3% of web accessibility practitioners aged over 45. Similarly, the Stack Overflow survey reported over half of respondents below age 30 compared to only 13.1% of web accessibility practitioners.


Respondent Gender
Gender# of Respondents% of Respondents
Non-binary, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming202.7%

The prevalence of women in the web accessibility field in our sample (40%) is 5 times that reported in the broader web development field, where women comprise 8%.

75% of the non-binary, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming respondents reported having a disability compared to 27% of those indicating they are male or female. The overall proportion (2.7%) of non-binary, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming respondents is over double that reported in the Stack Overflow survey.

Disability Reported

Do you consider yourself to have a disability?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

It is not surprising that the web accessibility field would include a higher percentage of users with disabilities - almost 15 times higher than the 2% reported in the broader development field. The percentage of respondents with disabilities increased to 29.1% in this survey from 26.4% in 2018 and 21.8% in 2014, suggesting that the disability diversity in the field is increasing over time. 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
Grade/primary school20.3%
High/secondary school304.0%
Some college or university8511.3%
College diploma, associate's, bachelor's, or equivalent degree39752.7%
Master's degree21628.6%

Compared to others in the development field, our sample of those in web accessibility were more educated. While 76.5% of respondents to the 2020 Stack Overflow survey had earned at least a college degree, 84.4% of web accessibility practitioners in our sample had college degrees.

Operating Systems

Operating System
OS# of Respondents% of Respondents

Operating system data was detected from the system used to complete the survey. Usage of Windows was down to 34.7% from 46.5% in 2018 and 58.9% in 2014, while Apple usage increased to 37.2% now making it the most used OS. iOS usage increased to 15.4% from 9.7% in 2014, and Android increased to 10.8% from 5.4% over the same time period. Respondents with disabilities were more likely to use Windows (43.8%) than those without disabilities (31.4%).


Respondent Browser
Browser# of Respondents% of Respondents
All mobile browsers11415.0%
Internet Explorer6.8%

Browser data was detected from the system used to complete the survey. Chrome usage increased to 62.9% from 52.5% in 2018, Firefox usage decreased to 15.4% from 20.7% in 2018, and Internet Explorer usage decreased to .8% from 7.5% in 2018.

Previous practitioner surveys showed significantly higher usage of Chrome among those without disabilities than those with disabilities, but this year's survey showed very little difference in browser usage based on disability.

Only 1 of the 758 respondents had JavaScript disabled in their browser.

Organization Type

For what type of organization do you work?
Organization Type# of Respondents% of Respondents
Corporation or industry45761.1%
Educational institution8911.9%
Governmental entity8511.4%
Non-profit or foundation344.5%
Volunteer or volunteer organization2.3%

The number of respondents from corporations or industry increased to 61.1% from 50.8% in 2018 and 38.4% in 2014.

Male respondents are more likely to indicate working for a corporation or industry, whereas women were more likely to work in education than men.

Organization Longevity

How long has your organization been established or in business?
Organization Longevity# of Respondents% of Respondents
Less than 1 year121.6%
Between 1 and 3 years324.3%
Between 3 and 5 years364.9%
Between 5 and 10 years7610.2%
Between 10 and 20 years15520.9%
More than 20 years43158.1%

Respondents come predominantly from well-established organizations. Nearly 90% of respondent organizations have been in business 5 or more years.

Accessible Organization Products

Are your organization's web products highly accessible?
Response% of Respondents

Respondents were much less positive about the accessibility of their own organization's web products than in previous years. 52.6% of respondents indicated that their organization's products were accessible in 2021, a worrisome decline from 63.1% in 2018. It's likely this shift can be partially attributed to more respondents from corporations and industry, where web sites per the WebAIM Million analysis tend to have more accessibility issues. Only 49.4% of those from corporations/industry thought their web sites were highly accessible—a notable decrease from 55.9% in 2018. The positive sentiment of those from education institutions also decreased sharply to 42% from 66.7% in 2018.

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/lead35947.5%
Project manager or administrator385.0%
Quality assurance/testing324.2%
Content specialist/strategist304.0%
Usability or information architect233.0%

Web accessibility practitioners hold many varying roles. The number of experts/consultants/leads increased to 47.5% from 42.8% in 2018 and 38% in 2014. This likely indicates that there are simply more of such positions available. Male respondents were nearly twice as likely to be developers than female respondents. Respondents with disabilities were more likely to be web accessibility experts/consultants/leads than those without disabilities.

Web Accessibility Role/Assignments

Which of the following best describes your web accessibility role/assignments?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Official role or significant assignment49566.1%
Small part of role/assignment16421.9%

Weekly Web Accessibility Time

How much time each week do you spend in web accessibility efforts?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
0-9 hours17924.1%
10-19 hours12817.3%
20-29 hours10414.0%
30-39 hours10517.4%
40+ hours20227.2%

While 66.1% indicated that web accessibility was their official role or a significant part of their job assignment, only 44.6% spent 30 hours or more per week in this area. It may be that many 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 when 29.3% of survey respondents indicated they spent 30 or more hours a week on web accessibility.

Web Accessibility Experience

For how many years have you actively been implementing web accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
0-2 years18124%
3-5 years21528.6%
6-8 years11515.3%
9-11 years739.7%
12+ years16922.4%

42.4% of respondents with disabilities reported 9 or more years of experience compared to only 27.5% of respondents without disabilities.


What is your current annual (gross) salary (in US dollars)?
Salary# of Respondents% of Respondents

Salaries of web accessibility practitioners are quite diverse with a median salary range of $60,000-$80,000 with an average salary of at least $73,000.

Reported salaries have significantly increased over time—74.3% of respondents reported earning over $60,000 in 2021 compared to 67.6% in 2018 and 56.5% in 2014. The proportion of respondents earning over $120,000 doubled from 2018. Web accessibility practitioners have notably higher average salaries on average than those reported on the 2020 Stack Overflow developer survey.

Not surprisingly, respondents who are older, have more education, and have more experience earned considerably more than other respondents. Those working in corporations/industry made at least $80,800 on average, those in education made at least $70,000 on average, those in government made at least $62,500 on average, and freelancers/self-employed made at least $44,300 on average.

Project manager or administrator was the highest paid role (at least $83,800), followed by web accessibility expert/consultant/lead ($76,300), usability or information architect ($73,900), developer ($72,800), designers ($67,300), content specialist/strategist ($58,400), and quality assurance/testing ($50,300). Because only salary ranges were reported, these are minimal, average salary amounts.

47.8% of North American respondents reported making $100,000 or more. This was significantly higher than the 20.6% of respondents from Australia, 9.6% of respondents from Asia, and 9.3% of respondents from Europe.

Gender wage gap

Reported salary averages were at least $75,700 for male respondents, at least $69,600 for female respondents, and at least $71,500 for non-binary, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming respondents. Female respondents earn an average of at least $6,100 less than their male counterparts, a notably increased gap from $2,100 reported in 2018. Much of this disparity can likely be attributed to the fact that females are more likely to report working in education and government where pay is notably less than the corporate sector where males predominantly work. The gender pay gap is larger in education than in corporations or industry.

84.3% of female respondents reported working full time, compared to 81.8% of male respondents. For full-time workers, male respondents make an average of at least $7,900 more than female respondents. In other words, the gender pay gap cannot be explained by how much the respondent works—the gap actually increases in the full-time workforce.

While this survey was not intended to be an exploration into gender wage disparities, 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 $1,800 less than respondents without disabilities. This gap has narrowed considerably from $4,200 in 2018 and $12,400 in 2014.

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, some disparities still exist. 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 proficient39952.6%
Somewhat proficient32042.2%
Not very proficient375.1%
Not at all proficient20.3%

Respondents that spend more time in accessibility efforts, that have worked in the field longer, or that have disabilities 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 accessible34156.9
Web content accessibility has not changed29940.6%
Web content has become less accessible9613.0%

Respondents were much less optimistic about change over time than in previous surveys. Only 46.3% of respondents indicated that accessibility had improved compared to 56.9% in 2018. Respondents with disabilities were even less optimistic with only 41.1% indicating that things had improved. Those with more web accessibility experience were also more pessimistic about progress than those new to the field.

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 sites66589.1%
Better assistive technology and browsers8110.9%

Respondents have, over time, placed additional responsibility on web sites than on assistive technologies. In 2018 83.1% responded that better web sites would have a bigger impact on accessibility compared to 89.1% in 2021.

Web Accessibility Learning

Which of the following are predominant ways in which you have learned about web accessibility?
Response% of Respondents
Formal schooling12.5%
Training or workshops74.8%
Collaboration with peers or colleagues81.1%
Professional conferences59.2%
Meet-ups, camps, unconferences, or other less formal conferences48.7%
On-the-job training or experiences83.4%
Social media48.4%
Online resources—Stack Overflow, WebAIM.org, etc.91.3%

Every category of learning saw increases compared to 2018, suggesting that learning opportunities are increasing. Only 5.5% of respondents in 2018 learned about web accessibility from formal schooling compared to 12.5% in 2021.

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
Don't know15721.4%

20.7% of respondents from corporations/industry reported receiving a lawsuit, threat of lawsuit, or OCR complaint compared to 38.8% of respondents (nearly double) from educational institutions.

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%

While familiarity with WCAG is very high, respondents report no more familiarity than was reported in 2018.

ARIA Familiarity

How familiar are you with the ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) specification?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very familiar35046.2%
Somewhat familiar32943.6%
Not very familiar597.8%
Not at all familiar162.1%

Familiarity with ARIA has increased steadily 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 accessible52475.8%
ARIA has had no or minimal impact on web accessibility10014.5%
ARIA has made the web less accessible679.7%

Sentiment toward ARIA notably decreased from 2018 when only 3.7% of respondents indicated it made the web less accessible. Respondents with disabilities were three times more likely to indicate that ARIA has made the web less accessible than non-disabled respondents. Similarly, those with more experience were much more likely to indicate that ARIA has made things less accessible.

Primary Screen Reader

Which of the following is your primary screen reader for testing?
Screen Reader# of Respondents% of Respondents
Don't use a screen reader476.3%

JAWS was the most common primary screen reader for testing in 2014 with 37.3% of respondents, but it dropped to 26.6% in 2018 to only 16.0% in 2021. Usage of both NVDA and VoiceOver have increased.

JAWS usage among those with disabilities decreased sharply to 20.7% (only slightly higher than among those without disabilities) from 40.8% in 2018 and 57.1% in 2014. 20.7% usage by respondents with disabilities is only around half the 40.1% reported in WebAIM's latest screen reader user survey.

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 73.4% in 2021. 37.8% of respondents with disabilities reported being very proficient using a screen reader compared to only 13.2% of those without disabilities.

Testing Tools

Which of the following tools do you commonly use for testing web accessibility?
Tool% of Respondents
aXe or aXe Plugins64.0%
Browser DevTools/Inspector63.9%
WAVE Chrome or Firefox extensions53.0%
Accessibility bookmarklets or user scripts40.1%
Google Lighthouse34.6%
Online contrast checkers27.2%
WAVE online evaluation tool21.4%
Accessibility Insights21.2%
ARC (Accessibility Resource Center)10.7%
AATT (Automated Accessibility Testing Tool)8.7%
JAWS Inspect7.3%
Accessibility Management Platform (AMP), Access Continuum, or other Level Access tools4.4%
Accessibility Viewer (aViewer)4.2%
Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)2.5%
Compliance Sheriff1.5%
Pope Tech1.1%
Cynthia Says0.3%

Nearly all respondents indicated using multiple tools. 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.

Percentage of Detectable Issues

In your experience what percentage of total accessibility issues can be detected by automated testing?
Percent Detectable% of Respondents
Less than 10%2.1%

Only 17.6% of respondents indicate that 50% or more of accessibility issues can be detected by automated testing.

Mobile Testing

Do you commonly perform mobile accessibility testing?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

Document (Word, PowerPoint, PDF, Excel, etc.) Testing

Do you commonly perform document (Word, PowerPoint, PDF, Excel, etc.) accessibility testing?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents

Overlay, Plugin, Widget Effectiveness

How would you rate the effectiveness of web accessibility overlays, plugins, or widgets that automate accessibility changes in web pages?
Effectiveness# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very effective223.3%
Somewhat effective18827.8%
Not very effective21632.0%
Not at all effective25037.0%

A strong majority (67%) of respondents rate these tools as not at all or not very effective. Respondents with disabilities were even less favorable with 72% rating them not at all or not very effective, and only 2.4% rating them as very effective.

Organizational Support

How supportive is your organization to your accessibility efforts?
Organizational Support# of Respondents% of Respondents
Very supportive37250.2%
Somewhat supportive29339.5%
Not very supportive699.3%
Not at all supportive7.9%

The level of support varied greatly by organization type. 81.8% of respondents from non-profits indicated their organizations were very supportive compared to 50.2% of respondents from corporations/industry, 39.8% from education, and 34.1% from government entities.

Organizational Motivation

Which of the following best describes your organization's motivation for implementing accessibility?
Response# of Respondents% of Respondents
Moral motivation (it's the right thing to do)18325.3%
Legal, contractual, or structured negotiation requirements17123.6%
Compliance with guidelines and/or best practices16622.9%
Business/competitive advantage10314.2%
Fear of a lawsuit or complaint8011.0%
My organization does not yet implement accessibility212.9%

Responses to this question have been largely unchanged since 2014. Respondents who indicated that their organization's site is already highly accessible were twice as 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.

There were large differences in motivations based on organization type. Only 12% of respondents in government indicated that their organization was primarily motivated by morals, compared to 64% for non-profits or foundations and 57% of freelancers/self-employed.

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 practices608.0%
Moral motivation (it's the right thing to do)64786.0%
Legal, contractual, or structured negotiation requirements81.1%
Business/competitive advantage344.5%
Fear of a lawsuit or complaint2.3%
I do not yet implement accessibility1.1%

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 notable23332.3%
Somewhat notable36350.3%
Not very notable11115.4%
Not at all notable141.9%

It's encouraging to see that respondents feel they are making a difference. 90% of web accessibility experts/consultants/leads indicated making a very or somewhat notable difference, compared to 74.3% of project managers, 74.3% of QA/testers, 73.1% of developers, and 71.8% of designers. Respondents who indicated that their organization's web products are highly accessible reported higher levels of impact (89.1% indicating very or somewhat notable differences) than those whose organizations are not yet accessible (75.7%). Those with higher levels of proficiency reported significantly higher levels of impact.