One of the more frustrating things about the web industry is the fact that it is comparatively new and, as such, there is an overwhelming lack of data about the industry and its professionals.
There is ALA's Survey for People Who Make Websites, which is in its second year and focuses a fair amount on the HR aspects of the industry, including salaries, benefits, job titles, responsibilities, etc.
Then there is Opera's MAMA research, which focuses more on web sites and page structures, including what markup, CSS and scripts are used, as well as whether a site validates.
Slightly Different Focus
The State of the Web 2008 survey has a few things in common with ALA's survey, but the focus is less on the professionals themselves and more on the technologies the professionals use:
- Browsers for testing sites
- Use of
<table>for layout (I laughed at that one, considering my recent rant)
This is a very minor point and one that is more a problem with the industry itself than this survey, but as D. Keith Robinson noted: "Markup/CSS/AJAX (etc.) != design."
The survey focuses far more on the technologies used by developers than designers … that is if you define "designers" as the professionals who create the visual interface in an application like Photoshop or Fireworks, and "developers" as those who transform the design on the front-end and back-end.
But the definition of professional titles in this industry is nebulous at best. My job title is Web Designer and I do create static interfaces in FW and PS, but I'm best at front-end development (XHTML and CSS). Most of the time, I don't really know what to call myself professionally.
Yet that is a discussion for another day, though. Just something to keep in mind if you consider yourself a designer: the survey may not speak directly to you as a professional.
Take the Survey
Nonetheless, you should be a part of the solution and take the survey.
The more information we have about our industry, the more it helps us as professionals. And I know I'm dying to know the statistics on use of
<table> for layout.
Oh yeah! There is free stuff.
Survey participants will have an opportunity to get free stuff, such as event passes to future Web Directions, including the upcoming Web Directions North.
You have until December 20, 2008, but why wait? Take the survey now.