The profession that dare not speak its name

I took it! And so should you. The Web Design Survey, 2007.

Question: If web design makes the new information age possible—if it creates new markets and new products, generates significant global cash flow, changes the way companies and non-profits interact with the public, and employs untold legions of specialists—why, until now, hasn’t anybody tried to find out more about it as an industry?

Hypothesis: No one has tried to measure web design because web design has been a hidden profession.

The hypothesis is neither far-fetched nor particularly insightful. If you think about it, it’s obvious. Web design has been hidden because its workers have, for the most part, been masked by old business and old media categories. Call it death by org chart:

  • A producer, designer, and developer collaborate daily on their non-profit’s rather unwieldy website. The producer’s business card claims she is an Associate Communications Coordinator. The designer’s title is Art Director. The developer is called an Assistant Director of IT. All three are really web professionals—but nobody calls them that, and nobody at the organization solicits their opinions except on small, technical matters. This, even though the website handles nearly all public communication and fund-raising, and these three are the only people in the organization who know about usability and design.
  • On paper, a large law firm employs only one web employee despite having a vast public website and an even bigger intranet site. Her title is webmaster, although she is really a graphic designer with HTML, CSS, PHP, and usability expertise. On the corporate org chart, she reports to one of the partners, who is charged with supervising the website in his free time. He knows nothing about websites, so she handles everything. Once a month they have lunch; once a year she gets a nice raise. Because she reports to an attorney, she is part of Legal.
  • On paper, a daily news magazine employs just one “web” employee. His title is webmaster, although he is really a developer, and he is slowly being squeezed out. The actual web development work—and there is a ton of it, every day—is performed by two IT staffers. A half dozen other folks work on page templates and site image production; on paper, they are graphic designers. The site is directed by a committee representing the editorial, advertising, and marketing departments. But regardless of their placement on the org chart, they are really web people, making web content and web layout decisions that are then executed by the “graphic designers” and “IT guys.” In all, nearly fifteen workers toil over the magazine’s website each day, yet the magazine’s web “staff” consists of one guy who’s about to take an early retirement.

There are many self-proclaimed freelance web designers and developers, and many staff people with those (and related) titles, but there are also hundreds of thousands of “hidden” web designers and developers, and this partly accounts for the business world’s indifference to us.

But the hidden workers are coming out of the shadows. Over 12,000 people filled out The Web Design Survey during its first 24 hours online. Average completion time was 8 minutes, 45 seconds. Not a bad start. Keep spreading the word.

[tags]webdesign, survey, web design survey, ala, alistapart, design, development[/tags]

49 thoughts on “The profession that dare not speak its name”

  1. It’s clear that web design & development positions are becoming more structured and standardized, and like medicine or engineering, specialized. However, there is no standardization in the job titles, positions or responsibilities, or salary ranges I would gather. Furthermore, it’s clear that there is very, very little “standardized” Web education at the post-secondary level beyond technical/vocational schools or self-instruction, if you go to a lot of end-of-year shows at graphic design schools where the ‘web site’ requirement is usually to do a flakey Flash portfolio.

    The questions raised by this are:
    • do we need to define core ‘trades’ in web design and specify a minimum body of knowledge for the practice of each;
    • having defined that, do we work with schools to define a core curriculum, for basic post-secondary, and then bachelor’s and master’s programs in web design and/or development?
    • do we want to have a governing / licensing / certifying body or bodies, as exist for medicine and engineering, and/or like AIGA, advise and work with industry to help promote understanding of the roles, salary ranges, etc?

  2. You bring up some good points here. While working with some larger corporations in the past, many times we met with the Marketing staff to discuss how the project would manifest, determine what type of direction the web project would take. Yet when development started, we were dismissed by the marketing staff and had to deal with the IT department. In reality, there wasn’t an IT department, it was just a title given to some of the software developers or engineers from some other department that had limited experience with the web. This whole process lead to longer lead times in development. I would much rather deal with someone at a company that really is what their title says, not someone who’s been shuffled into an unfamiliar position.

    The Web Design Survey is a great step in trying to get more exposure for the kind of work we do as web professionals. The traditional business world needs to be educated on what job candidates can do, how their skill-set can benefit the organization, and start finding the correct people for the position or project.

  3. I wonder why no one thought of this before.

    This, like many other efforts Mr. Zeldman has spearheaded, makes me slap my forehead and say, “I wish I had thought of that.”

  4. I’m actually really excited for what could come out of this. Anything that raises the profile of web professionals will help.

    As long as it’s a hidden profession people won’t take it seriously. At my last company, the people in charge just saw that they had completed a portfolio site, they didn’t see that the portfolio was awful. The HR department didn’t know what to expect, so they couldn’t hire effectively. In addition, the schools don’t teach what’s really needed so the HR department didn’t have much to choose from.

    Even at my current job, my supervisor just lumps all designers and developers together. SQL tasks get assigned to our JavaScript guy, our SQL guy is trying to design UIs, and in general a lack of knowledge about web design and development is making our lives a pain.

  5. sadly, mr. zeldman — you’ve hit it on the nail. i’ve experienced most of those scenarios throughout my career. web is the unwanted stepchild child that nobody wants to deal with. we’re relgated to second-class status (even though the growth of the web outpaces traditional media); our content is treated as inferior to that of traditional media: photo, graphics, copy, video; and worse than being treated as inferior — we’re often ignored. thanks for taking a step to make a difference. i’ve filled out the survey — so should all of you.

  6. I can not agree with you more!

    Let’s get out of the IT dungeon and Marketing kitchen and stand up for who we are and what we do and do not do!

    My title is UI Designer – it should be Web UI Designer, but it is the closest title I have ever had to what I actually do – so I am not complaining. When I started doing web stuff, over 10 years ago, my title was Communication Specialist. Of course back then, the term Intranet hadn’t even been coined yet and Org chart titles change at about the pace of continental drifts – so I couldn’t really expect to have a title that described what I did.

    But today? We should have proper titles – it really isn’t too much to ask. Especially since, with larger companies, proper titles come with proper job descriptions; and with proper job descriptions come with appropriate expectation of skill set and duties. Which can not happen soon enough for me.

    And if one more person in my company asks me to do a pre-press graphic design task – I just might scream. Of course once said screaming is done, I smile and do my best – like I always do. Color separation – what is that?

  7. Hey, I think it’s great that you’re attempting to do this survey, but it needs a lot of work. A lot. Not sure who created this for you, but it’s way too skewed towards the employed, and you’re missing important data by doing so. And many of the questions of themselves are dead-ends. At the very least, you should include a comments field for those types of questions that are not strictly in the ‘yes-no’ category to get better information. Not sure I’ll bother to read the ‘results’ of this survey because it was frankly very poorly designed, and I know from taking it (as well as the comments on ALA) that it’s not going to be accurate info.

    Still, I’m glad to see someone approaching this. I just hope to see it tweaked better in the future.

  8. It’s obvious that we developers need our own acronym — besides IT, that is. :)

    As Rachel noted, I did find many of the survey questions didn’t really fit my situation (as a freelancer). It might have been a little better to make it branching: Ask a few initial questions to determine the path of questions asked, then ask more related questions thereafter. Then again, though, it’d be more difficult to extrapolate the data afterwards.

  9. aj said: Furthermore, it’s clear that there is very, very little “standardized” Web education at the post-secondary level beyond technical/vocational schools or self-instruction…

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I would be in favor of a “core curriculum” recommendation list. This would great benefit administrators and deans seeking to build a holistic web design/development degree program.

  10. I wish there had been more freelancer-type questions, too. I had to give some bogus answers to continue. I take alot of surveys and wish all survey designers would remember to include an “other” or “none of the above” in the answer set so I don’t have to make up a lie. I used to do product research for P&G and it kills me to give bad info on a survey.

  11. It’s absolutely true – in many of my inhouse roles, I was stuck somewhere on the border of IT and marketing and having either the ancient title of webmaster or something even less obvious.

    That’s part of why I started Designers Inhouse, as a way of finding other people like me, who are not as visible in the web world.

  12. But, ‘web design’ isn’t a discipline. It requires cross-disciplinary expertise, and each professional in his or her own niche needs more training and experience than they can get just by working on web sites. There’s a rare occasion that someone who is a professional who develops web sites can do all of the things necessary to develop a great site. Sure, there is the rare individual here and there, but there are few people who can do excellent graphics design, and excellent information architecture, and excellent XHTML and CSS, and excellent project management, and excellent writing, and on and on. So we need multiple people who, one hopes, have education and expertise in their general areas.

    Web development (as I call it — I can’t design my way out of a paper bag) is a confluence of many disciplines, and none of them has its origins on the web. The study of color and typography and other visual design elements requires a deep understanding of design qua design, whether it be print, web, or anything else. Similarly, to be able to manage a project, it’s not enough to know how to manage a ‘web’ project — that’s like being a builder who can only use one kind of hammer. It’s important, as a professional in any discipline, to understand the discipline wholly, not just your niche in it.

    Treating web development (or most jobs one might precede with ‘web’) as a single and exclusive discipline is, in my opinion, misguided. A web project manager has to first learn how to be a project manager, and could likely manage non-web projects quite well. A writer, one hopes, can write anything, not just web content.

    It’s not that we’re masked by old disciplines. But many of us who are working in the profession consider ourselves ‘programmers’, not the more career-limiting ‘web programmers’. Or ‘designers’, not just ‘web designers’. Web-specific specialties are simply sub-species of larger skill sets, and as in any profession it’s the larger skill sets that are professionally important, and have professional credibility. Subspecialties are great, and sometimes necessary when the rubber meets the road, but the larger specialty is *always* necessary, and is what lends credence to one’s professional reputation. Without it, the niche cred is meaningless.

  13. It’s also true that these professions are publicised or represented by HR professionals and business leaders who cleary don’t understand either development or design. Being the forefront of a company, their misrepresentation is common. Recently I spent over 2 weeks explaining to the HR of a company exactly what the position of a Creative Director entails – mostly because my experience is not only with XHTML/HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, etc, but also because I am a print designer who started as a production artist with a background in web and can build Unix/Linux servers running LDAP, Postfix, Cyrus, Jabber, Apache, you name it. This is greek to many of the people that have to sign or define our paychecks – good for you to help define it.

    As I noted in my comments for the survey, I even think http://www.designersalaries.com/ is slightly off in it’s descriptions and generalized categories.

  14. I’ll be interested in reading the results of this!

    As people have said, the questions didn’t really fit for many people, myself included. I love coding websites, i love cracking open photoshop and playing with designs. I love working on the web, but I’m not a freelancer, nor do I work as an IT person. Instead, i work in construction office.

    However, because of my web-work, I’ve been appointed to re-create the company website. My boss has also, in the past, asked me to create promotional material / Business cards / Logos and adverts for magazines.

    Purely because i’ve mentioned that i like desiging websites, i’ve been told to do the website. On top of that, im expected to do my normal work too!

    The fact is, that my boss doesn’t (like many others) understand web development. They don’t realise how long it takes. They think it’s like putting together a word document.

    Still, never-mind…

  15. I’ve working for a number of large companies where the hidden factor is a problem. It also creates resistance. But after six years of pushing web standards I’m used to that.

    A great thing what you guys are doing with the survey. I hope it gets some media attention.

  16. Rachel said:

    [I]t’s way too skewed towards the employed, and you’re missing important data by doing so.

    Mike said:

    I did find many of the survey questions didn’t really fit my situation (as a freelancer). It might have been a little better to make it branching: Ask a few initial questions to determine the path of questions asked, then ask more related questions thereafter.

    Mike and Rachel, the survey does branch. It is in two tracks, employee and freelance. The freelance track is shorter.

    If you indicate that you work as an employee, you are asked a series of questions about your employment benefits, promotions, and so on. If you indicate that you are a freelancer, you are spared those questions.

    We are collecting the same data on everyone, except where the data is irrelevant, i.e. a freelancer doesn’t give him or herself a pay raise, so we don’t ask freelancers when they had their last pay raise.

    Now, could we have asked freelancers unique follow-up questions not shown to the employed? We could have. Maybe we should have. Questions like, “Where do you get your clients?” and “Do you have health insurance?” would have been useful. Next year.

  17. So true! Whenever the topic of a professional organization for web design comes up there are some people who pipe up and say that web design isn’t a real profession, or it isn’t “mature” enough yet, or it’s really programming/graphic design/whatever else. And then there are the people who are web designers but don’t want to call themselves that because of the teenager-in-basement/anyone-can-do-web-design stigma.

    So thanks for trying to bring some legitimacy to this profession! As for me, my official job title is “Co-ordinator, web communications and learning”. I get a lot of blank looks when I tell people that. Then I tell them that it’s just a fancy way of saying “web designer.”

  18. I am very interested in the outcome of this survey.
    Maybe next year you could add two more questions.
    1. What is your job title?
    2. If you could choose your own job title, what would it be?

  19. “Web design has been hidden because its workers have, for the most part, been masked by old business and old media categories.”

    Bingo.

    Having worked extensively inside two storied “old media” companies now, that statement rings so true it sends a shiver down my spine. My anecdotal experience is that things are getting better–on an evolutionary time scale–but there’s still a long lingering perception that “designers is designers is designers,” resulting in some pretty hilarious catch-all job titles or outright mislabeling of roles.

    The animal is still a new species to them, and they still don’t know what to call it or even what it eats.

  20. Following up on Rachel’s post and Zeldman’s response. The tricky thing I ran into was that I have two ‘main’ jobs: one freelance and one in an office. Both web. Taking the survey, I sort of danced between the two, and it probably mucked up the data a bit. Eh. But it’s a keen idea and cheers – here’s thanks.

  21. Following up on Rachel’s post and Zeldman’s response. The tricky thing I ran into was that I have two ‘main’ jobs: one freelance and one in an office. Both web. Taking the survey, I sort of danced between the two,

    Very common situation—spent most of my career that way. I doubt your answers mucked up the data! You probably listed your full-time job title under job title, and combined your salary, bonuses, and freelance income when estimating your income.

    The frustrating part would be if you do one kind of web work at your job, and another kind of web work freelance. Then it would be hard to know how to answer some of the questions.

    We should restructure the questions next year to take that kind of case into account.

    Thanks for this valuable feedback! And thanks for taking the survey!

  22. I work at a large organization with a dedicated web team. There’s 8 of us and we know our roles and would probably identify with web development on some level. We also have a community of content contributors who post using our CMS. What do we consider these people?

    Many of them only use the WYSIWYG and never code a line. Some of them are desperately in need of a course on writing for the web. Others have taken courses or taught themselves HTML and could probably freelance if they thought about it. These people are certainly hidden but how many of them can be considered part time web developers? I doubt any of them think of themselves that way but they’re an integral part of our website.

    As for the survey, it’s a great idea and I’m glad to see it happening :) I ran into the same dilemma as Cheryl because I reported I was employed to start off with. Only one question asked me to take into account my freelance work after that and that was income but the hours I reported are just my day job hours so the survey doesn’t have an accurate picture of my salary. I almost felt like taking it twice, once in my employee hat and once in my freelance hat.

  23. Jeffrey, call me a clunkhead, but how can you lump all self-employed people into one category as freelancers… along with people who really are freelancers?

    I’m not brick and mortar, but I definitely do not promote myself as a ‘freelancer’ for a number of very important reasons. And I know of a lot of people who run virtual agencies in the same manner. There’s nothing wrong with being a freelancer of course, and I hire many of them to work with us on projects. I prefer not to promote myself as one, because that’s truly not how my business works. It’s very much a team approach. And all of that is viewed very differently by clients. Many of my clients get a lot of comfort in knowing there is more than one noggin on any given problem. (And frankly, so am I – phew!)

    I really don’t think I’m splitting hairs here, but that you are not considering a very important segment of the web design world. Given that the goal of your survey is to bring everyone out from behind the green curtain, I would think you’d want to take this into account.

    But hey, you’re Zeldman, you get to make the rules, I guess… ;P

    Anyway, thanks again for at least attempting this survey. I’ll look forward to its evolution.

  24. Jeffery, I think that where the respondent information comes from deserves some weight. Would be interesting to see a Google map mashup of what area of the worldthis data comes from. It is not one world.

  25. Stephanie said:

    We also have a community of content contributors who post using our CMS. What do we consider these people? Many of them only use the WYSIWYG and never code a line. Some of them are desperately in need of a course on writing for the web. … These people are certainly hidden but how many of them can be considered part time web developers?

    These are great questions. It seems to me that these are web workers and that they should take the survey. Especially the less web-savvy ones. If the survey is taken only by people who roll their own markup and understand best practices in writing for the web, it will not give a true picture of who contributes to the making of websites.

    the hours I reported are just my day job hours … I almost felt like taking it twice, once in my employee hat and once in my freelance hat.

    Next year’s survey, I think, needs to do a better job handling freelance, self-employment, and work-for-others issues.

    Rachel said:

    but how can you lump all self-employed people into one category as freelancers… along with people who really are freelancers? I’m not brick and mortar, but I definitely do not promote myself as a ‘freelancer’ for a number of very important reasons. And I know of a lot of people who run virtual agencies in the same manner.

    Agreed. To the world and your clients, you are the principal consultant or lead designer or founder or XXX of a virtual agency. Absolutely.

    But if your virtual agency is an Inc. or LLC (or other non-US formulation) owned entirely by you, then, technically you are a freelancer.

    At tax time, you report yourself as a freelancer (for that is what you are). And for the purposes of this year’s survey, that is the category that fits best as well.

    It’s not ideal, I agree.

    For the true purposes of our survey, it would have been much better to have one or more categories allowing folks to report themselves as head of their own small company, head of a virtual company, founder of a single-entity company, and so on.

    At one point the survey had a couple of data entry points like that, but we removed them for reasons that seemed to make sense at the time. :D Next year’s survey will do better with the whole freelance, self-employment, head of virtual agency issue.

    But hey, you’re Zeldman, you get to make the rules, I guess

    Is that nice? We expected to get some things wrong, and we asked the community to tell us how to do better next year.

    Don said:

    Jeffery [sic], I think that where the respondent information comes from deserves some weight. Would be interesting to see a Google map mashup of what area of the worldthis data comes from. It is not one world.

    Did you miss the geographic question, or are you saying (as others have said) that the geographic question is poorly worked out in your opinion? I think you mean categories like “EU” or “Middle East” are less useful than entries such as “Holland” and “Egypt.”

  26. I’m not a web designer or developer in real life (just for “fun” when I’m not being a proofreader… I know, exciting stuff), but I used to work in the non-profit arts. My title was, at different times Intern, Administrative Assistant, Community Outreach Coordinator, and Visual Arts Coordinator. One of my responsibilities (just above “other duties as assigned” and getting lunch for my boss unless I somehow snuck out for lunch without her seeing me), was… drum roll please… the web site! So, what you said about the hidden profession really speaks to my experience.

  27. I have been called everything else BUT a web Artist/web standards evangelist/web professional.

    Mainly, I’ve been called the, “IT Guy”…

    Yes, we need a voice!

    Martin Espericueta

  28. Furthermore, it’s clear that there is very, very little “standardized” Web education at the post-secondary level beyond technical/vocational schools or self-instruction, if you go to a lot of end-of-year shows at graphic design schools where the ‘web site’ requirement is usually to do a flakey Flash portfolio.

    I would love to see more of this integrated into the curriculum in secondary schools.

    Good HTML requires good knowledge of the structure of an article. This is a language skill as much as a web skill. Why not teach it alongside poetry and prose?

    Web design is a graphic art skill. It has its limitations, like chalks and watercolours do. Some pupils will warm to it and others shy away. Make it a module in the curriculum.

    However, we have a problem in that only the IT teacher will have a clue about any of this, probably for a generation to come.

  29. Thanks for this. I’m the only web professional in the company (book publisher, 50-some employees). I design, develop, write copy, create e-newsletters, build and manage our intranet and do tons of other web-related chores for the company. But I’m also the first guy to call if someone’s PC doesn’t work. I sit downstairs with the book designers (Macs), but when I go upstairs to the sales/finance/admin people (PCs), I’m known as the ‘IT guy’. I just opened my new contract and found that my job title is officially ‘Sales Support/IT Designer’! I think it’s up to me to do a little self-promotion and educating around here. Thanks again for the wake-up call.

  30. (Does anyone read this far down? Oh well…I have to chime in.)

    I was hired as a web designer for a 200 person firm by their IT director. There’s only ever been one ‘web person’ and though I had written many a perl and javascript and can code xhtml/css in my sleep and was quite happy doing GUI design, I found out that I was woefully unqualified for what the job really was. Intranet maintenance and design turned out to be fixing and expanding custom built web & desktop applications built in flash, .net, asp and some really bad vbscript (client-side!). One of my first projects as the ‘web designer’ was to collect survey data via web form and port it into the back-end of their accounting software. (I didn’t even know what Enterprise Manager was! Ha!)

    A few thousand pages of SQL, database design ASP and .NET tutorials later I had the HR assistant reorder my business cards, changing the title from ‘Webmaster’ to ‘Web Developer’. Not that I feel fully qualified yet, but at least it reflect the level of what I do every day.

    The point is – despite several interviews, including all the IT staff, no one knew the difference between a web designer and a programmer, much less and info architect. It’s taken some work, but I think I’m slowly educating staff, including my managers, and to their credit, they’re compensating me nicely and letting me take whatever training I want.

    p.s. The dark days have passed, now that I’ve proven my skills they’re letting me develop on Apache (as long as I setup and admin my own servers!). Learning ROR this fall :o)

  31. @mahalie: I do.

    It’s difficult when we ourselves cannot decide on who we are. Is the person who designs purely in Photoshop or Fireworks a web designer? What about the person who takes that composition and turns it into CSS?

    What’s a developer? Someone who only deals with (X)HTML and CSS? Or someone who is good with web server management, Object-oriented systems and design in PHP, ASP, .Net, Java, JavaFX, XUL, XAML, C++, XSLT, XSL-FO, XPATH, WSDL, SOAP, XLink, Xpointer, XQuery, RDF, RSS, WAP, XML Schema, Perl, Python, JSP, JavaScript, Coldfusion, Ruby on Rails, HTTP, (X)HTML, Accessibility, business technologies and strategies, workflow, collaboration etc (have I made my point yet ;) )? I think the reality of it though as we are still fracturing: it is no longer to be jack of all trades of various web programming languages and be good at all of them. As individuals, we need to pick a specialisation and accept that. That’s not to say we can’t pick up other skills or change our specialisation at a later date.

    This challenge can be overcome by standing tall together. This is now happening in Australia with the formation of WIPA and AWIA. I have great hopes that one day they will start to define what a web professional is (in an inclusive way) and the role and skill sets of various sub-classifications (designers, developers, information architects, etc).

    This is something that they could distribute to HR staff who need to recruit but don’t understand the field. It could be handy for educational institutions who want to equip their graduates with the important skills, and for ourselves in our pay scales (that is one part of the discussion that seems to be missing).

  32. The company that I work for has always insisted on classifying me as a marketing person. Not only is this undermining the role I actually do, but it also puts me on a considerably lower pay-scale considering the skills necessary for the job.

  33. I couldn’t agree more with the piece above. I’ve been working for my company for 8 years now and about 5 years ago I was approached by a member of staff to work on an online project because i enjoyed ‘playing around with websites’ In the five years since i’ve won 5 major national online learning content awards, yet because the main web designer of the company doesn’t want competition, im not aloud to have a title that might even suggest that i worked on the web.

  34. Very true, I am a Marketing and Communication Assistant in a University Marketing Department and I am currently redesigning the University’s website (by myself). But I don’t get credit because I am not part of the official web team which is composed of only back end developers (no interface / front end designers or even graphic designers).

    When I give presentations on the new design and related Usability tests which I solely plannned and organized, I have been instructed by my director to credit the web team as the ones driving these projects. In this case it’s just to coverup a bad situatiion. Because the web team is absolutely clueless, they still code tables (asthey don’t know how to code excluisvely using CSS) and depend on WYSIWYG applications and are unaware about usabiity, webstandards and accessbility issues.

    As one of the other posters mentioned this is a “cross-disciplinary expertise”. I am a better front end designer, because of my Marketing and Communications background. I am able apply user centered design practices and adhere to experience design tenets as well as plan usability tests because I understand the communications channels and brand identity and developing M&C strategy.

    Instead of identifying our selves as web specialists may be we need to adopt hybrid titles (so we can be readiliuy identified), because to be a web specialist you must understand more than coding. And the organizations that employ these hidden workers need to credit them and create hybrid offices with blended teams which produced help the organization rather than separate departments which are just ineffective.

  35. “But hey, you’re Zeldman, you get to make the rules, I guess
    Is that nice? We expected to get some things wrong, and we asked the community to tell us how to do better next year.”

    Hey, Jeffrey, I wouldn’t have commented back to this except that I read the survey that came out recently, and it made me think of this exchange. I don’t think I ever saw the comment you made above about ‘being nice’, so I was a bit surprised when I came back to this today.

    For the record, no offense was meant. The thing is, you are ‘making the rules’ by choosing which information is surveyed, there is no way to get around that. However, my attempt at a little humor thrown in with the criticism wasn’t intended to sound unappreciative of the work that went into this, that is for sure.

    I don’t care for surveys much, given how flawed the information gleaned often is, and when I take one, I get frustrated when I can see from a distance how its construction [or lack thereof] is going to impact the results. I know you said that it did in fact branch, but for myself, it felt like I didn’t really get to participate. And then I thought about all the other people I know who run their businesses the same way, some of whom probably took your survey, and hence my frustration and comment.

    I wouldn’t have taken your survey if I didn’t think it was important to do so. I think it is very important for the web world [and those who care about it] to know who is doing what… and if possible, why.

    But do web professionals care who is filing which tax return? I’m going to wager not, and that in making the choice to leave out the info mentioned above, you definitely took a wrong turn in your survey. I think we care a lot more about how we are each running our businesses, in addition to all the other info. But I really did not come back to beat a dead horse. You seem to agree in your reply/comment, so I hope we’ll see that breakdown of info in future surveys. I’m sure you all learned quite a bit in this first edition.

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