On Tuesday — and I fully acknowledge the fact that it’s taken me until now to blog this is emblematic — A List Apart published the results of the fifth annual A List Apart Survey for People Who Make Websites. This includes anonymized data sets for the bulk of the survey, as well as standalone data sets for postcodes and a few of the answer sets for questions that allowed “Other” as an option. (Note that these last were shuffled-then-sorted, and were not filtered for potentially objectionable content. They are what they are.)
If you really want the TL;DR version, the results are largely the same as they’ve been in the past. The gender ratio, for example, is still in the vicinity of 5-to-1 male-to-female, with half a percent answering Other (a new option in the 2011 survey). Most respondents are in the age range 19-44 and live in the United States. And so on. That might sound like I’m bored by the results, but their very consistency even as the number of respondents has dropped over five years fascinates me.
It did take quite a while to publish the results. I feel personally very bad about the delay, because I run the numbers and it just took me a long time to get them run. Partly, I admit, I put it off because some of the numbers in previous years were a royal pain to generate, thanks in part to the way the data is formatted and in part because of the fine slicing that was done. This was finally addressed through various means, and now the report is done. I can’t thank Sara Wachter-Boettcher enough for her keen editing eye and firm strategic oversight, not to mention writing all the commentary text to accompany the charts. If not for her, the report might still not be done. And of course without the unwavering support and dedication of Jeffrey Zeldman, the survey might not have existed at all.
So we’ve done this five times, and the results are consistent. What now? There is much to discuss, and the answers aren’t yet clear; but I do know that this project brings me more professional pride than almost anything I’ve ever done. It tells us a lot about ourselves — and in a profession that is often characterized by single-person “web teams” and distributed offices, one which may never have a certification process or other form of registry, that’s something valuable. Thank you for helping us see ourselves a little bit more clearly.