Results of The Web Design Survey, 2010

Published 12 years, 10 months past

Now available: the results from the A List Apart Survey for People Who Make Web Sites, 2010.  This is the fourth industry snapshot we’ve compiled, and the story that’s emerged over that time is proving to be pretty consistent.  You can get a high-level view from the Introduction, and then dive deeper into the results in the following chapters.  And, as is traditional, the Addendum contains links to the full (anonymized) data set in three formats for your own analytical investigations.  We’d love to see what you come up with!

Something that surprised me quite a bit was that in 2010 we got about half the number of respondents we’ve gotten in past years — not quite seventeen thousand participated in 2010 instead of just over thirty thousand as we saw in previous years.  I’m not quite sure what to make of that.  Is the industry shrinking?  Did we not get the word out as effectively?  Was it a bad time of year to run a survey?  Are people getting tired of taking the survey?  There’s no real way to know.

At least there weren’t any wild swings in the results, which might have indicated we’d lost some subgroups in disproportionate numbers.  Whatever caused the drop in participation, it appears to have done so in an evenly-distributed fashion.

Regardless, I’d like to see higher participation next year, so if anyone has good suggestions regarding how to make that happen, please do let me know in the comments.

We plan to run the 2011 survey in the next couple of months (and I’ll post a bit more about that soon) but for now, I hope you find the 2010 results an interesting and useful look at who we are.

Comments (11)

  1. Personally, I was tired of the survey. The results were very consistent over the past 3 years and I didn’t feel like wasting my time on it again.

    One suggestion for future years….put the results out closer to when people take the survey. Getting the results for last year a couple weeks before taking the next survey seems weird.

    Personally, I think you could do this maybe once every 5 years to get a high level view of the industry and be fine.

  2. A data-driven hunch from just reading the intro: the age of respondents, age of their blogs, and time in the field has been steadily increasing. It’s possible that this reflects actual changes in the field, but it seems just as likely to me that the survey isn’t reaching newer web professionals. Something to look at in your communication efforts, perhaps.

    And summer does seem like a bad time of year to catch people.

  3. Make a survey on the survey! (not kidding).
    For me it was the fact that I already filled this survey in the past (multiple times).
    I think that in past years the survey was more visible.
    i wonder if other yearly surveys suffer from the same effect (webby awards for example)

  4. Although I filled out the survey, I felt similarly to Jeff L – tired of the survey. The first couple of times I felt like I was helping the industry, this time I felt like I was on a treadmill.

    An obvious way to get people a bit more interested in the survey would be to offer a prize. Give away a ticket to an An Event Apart event. Or, get it sponsored by a 3rd party who provides prizes. Prizes will likely skew the demographics younger, something that might be helpful based on the assumption that those are the people not being reached.

  5. Maybe spread parts of it throughout the year. Beats having to fill out a long survey.

  6. I used to fill it out, but declined this year. I work in the enterprise application space. Your survey really isn’t applicable to that work environment. Your survey focus is on small shop web design and freelance work and not really on IT services firms that do web-based application development for internal use. Our technical specs have more to do with data handling and business process than with UI or neat cutting-edge visual effects. We tend to be older, with degrees in something other than web dev or graphic design, we work in pretty strictly structured and managed departments, though many (like myself) have a background in web start-ups, and we usually are integrating web apps with massive, legacy backends.

    Just a different sector of web development, that’s all.

  7. Ways to get more folks to take the survey:
    1. Get results out MUCH faster.
    2. Include more specific geographic data choices.
    3. Hit more communication channels to get a fresh perspective. Try new campaigns to promote the survey. Try a QR code campaign when the survey is out… I took it [_].
    4. Who doesn’t like prizes – A Book Apart is a treasure trove
    5. Revisit the questions; are they specific enough?
    6. I like the poll idea above – ask folks what they want to know about the industry.

  8. It’s the problem of every survey : it takes too much time. And don’t do it in summer, we get even more lazy at this time :)

  9. The data is great and should be enough (to justify the effort vs reward) , but unfortunately it may not be perceived that way for survey participants. “Slicing” up the survey throughout the year might help – but could fragment the results. The content is a little boring – maybe introduce some questions that provide more value – things that reveal best practices or technique trends. Poll the participants and ask what they want to know, etc.

  10. It’s just a thought, but I was kind of astounded by the statistics on Cederholm’s “mobile first” link on his site where it says that mobile usage has gone up 5000 percent in the past three years? It’s my feeling that probably a new generation of developers has arisen who don’t really follow the old train of design sites, yourself, zeldman, davis, et al. (My favorites btw) Perhaps if you tried popularizing it on more android or ios centered blogs/sites you might reach these people? I might be wrong.

  11. It’s a tricky one.

    I’d definitely say I’m more likely to fill in a survey on a cold winter evening rather than a warm summer evening, that’s for sure.

    Also – what are the top 3 benefits of this survey to industry professionals ?

    If you treat the Survey itself as a Sales issue, identify the USP(‘s) and make participants aware, then maybe there will be more takers next year.

    Many Thanks,

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