29 Jul 2008 5 am eastern

The Survey for People Who Make Websites

It’s back, it’s improved, and it’s hungry for your data. It’s A List Apart’s second annual survey for people who make websites.

I took it! And so should you. The Survey for People Who Make Websites.

Last year nearly 33,000 of you took the survey, enabling us to begin figuring out what kinds of job titles, salaries, and work situations are common in our field.

This year’s survey corrects many of last year’s mistakes, with more detailed and numerous questions for freelance contractors and owners of (or partners in) small web businesses. There are also better international categories, and many other improvements recommended by those who took the survey last year.

Please take the survey and encourage your friends and colleagues who make websites to do likewise.

[Comments off. Pings on.]

[tags]survey, web design survey, webdesign, webdevelopment, professional, alistapart[/tags]

Filed under: A List Apart, Accessibility, Applications, architecture, art direction, business, Career, client services, Community, content, Design, development, Diversity, experience, Happy Cog™, Ideas, industry, Standards, Survey, User Experience, UX, Web Design, work, Working, writing

Comments off.

25 Jun 2008 9 am eastern

So long, Boston. We’ll be back.

An Event Apart Boston 2008 is over but the memories and photos linger on.

Eric and I started An Event Apart because we saw the need for a live, concentrated, learning and sharing experience about best practices and inspiration for the standards-based web design community. Thanks to brilliant speakers, phenomenally dedicated and supremely competent staff, and an extraordinary and growing attendee base of passionate practitioners, the show is steadily becoming the thing of which we dreamed.

And the food was pretty good, too.

Thank you for the ideas, jokes, and kick-ass Keynote graphics, Luke, Jeff, Jared, Ethan, ppk, Chris, Andy, Kim, Jason, and Doug.

Thanks also to our wonderful sponsors, Adobe (who gave away six copies of Creative Suite 3), GoodBarry (who packed goodies for everyone), and (mt) Media Temple (who threw a party so good, many people who attended don’t remember having been there).

Most of all, our deep thanks to all who came. Without you, Eric and I would be two lonely crackpots with a theory that web design matters. It will sound insincere because I have a vested interested for saying and thinking this, but you are truly the smartest and coolest “audience” going, and I put audience in quotes because you are so much more than that. So, you know, thanks.

Thank you, Boston. We’ll be back in 2009. (And now, on to San Francisco and Chicago.)

Watch this space for AEA Boston session notes and download links, coming momentarily.

[tags]aneventapart, design, webdesign, conference, aeaboston08[/tags]

Filed under: An Event Apart, Design, Diversity, eric meyer, events, experience, Happy Cog™, industry, Jason Santa Maria, links, Standards, Travel, Web Design, work, Zeldman

Comments off.

15 May 2007 10 am eastern

Web Design Survey closes soon

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

As it turns out, the profession that dare not speak its name has a lot to say for itself. Over 30,000 people have taken a few minutes to help create the first (soon-to-be) publicly available data about people who make websites. And you?

If you haven’t yet filled out The Web Design Survey, now is the time: the survey closes on 22 May. Our thanks to all who have already participated.

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

Filed under: A List Apart, An Event Apart, Community, Design, development, Diversity, industry, work

Comments off.

19 Apr 2007 1 pm eastern

Women in web design: just the stats

The underrepresentation of women and minorities in the information technology workforce is like the weather: everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything.

In February 2007, Jason Kottke called our community on its inertia by publishing information showing the low percentage of female speakers at conferences about design, technology, and the web. One conference he cited was An Event Apart, which I founded with Eric Meyer.

How can conference organizers, employers and educators help our field better reflect the world we live in? One problem in deciding what to do about the issue is that, as is so often the case with matters of equality and justice, surprisingly little is known about the phenomenon or its causes. Feelings and anecdotes are plentiful, facts are scarce.

So An Event Apart commissioned a fact-finding mission. We hired researchers at The New York Public Library to find out everything that is actually known about the percentage of women in our field, and their positions relative to their male colleagues. Because such research could go on indefinitely, we assigned the project a budget and time-frame; researchers worked within those constraints.

The data they mined concerned women and minorities in the information technology (IT) workforce. IT was as close as we could come to our specific field. There is no data on web design and web designers. Web design is twelve years old, employs hundreds of thousands (if not millions), and generates billions, so you’d think there would be some basic research data available on it, but there ain’t. (Maybe A List Apart will gather such data one day, perhaps in collaboration with a logical partner like Boxes and Arrows.)

So the first disclaimer is that our research covers IT, not just web design. The second is that we’re still sifting the data we received. This is nothing like a final report. If a final report emerges, it will come from An Event Apart.

All that out of the way, the picture that emerges is disturbing:

  • Men outnumber women in this workforce by over three to one.
  • The percentage of women employed in the field is declining instead of growing.
  • Women who participate in the field may not be promoted as often or as high as their male colleagues.

Here, briefly cited, is a small portion of “Untapped Talent: Diversity, Competition, and America’s High Tech Future,” a 21 June 2007 special report by the Information Technology Association of America:

This study by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) finds that women and most racial minorities remain significantly underrepresented in today’s U.S information technology (IT) workforce. By examining data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Current Population Surveys, this report, like previous ITA diversity studies conducted in 1998 and 2003, documents the percentages of women and minorities in BLS occupational classifications that comprise the IT workforce in 2004 and compares them to previous years to determine the progression and regression of diversity. The data presentation is followed by a discussion of possible barriers to entry for underrepresented groups and solutions to overcoming those barriers. The report also highlights successful public- and private-sector groups that encourage more diversity and support women and minorities in IT.

The news here is not good: The percentage of women in the IT workforce has declined by 18.5% since 1996, from a high of 41% in 1996 to 32.4% in 2004. This is true even while the percentage of women in the overall workforce remained relatively unchanged. Women are also far less likely to return to the IT workforce….

The declining representation of women is due largely to the fact that one out of every three women in the IT workforce fall into administrative job categories that have experienced significant overall declines in recent years. When those categories are excluded from the analysis, the percentage of women in IT drops from 32.4% to 24.9%. The figures represent no progress in the numbers of women in the professional or management ranks from the relatively low 25.4% mark achieved in 2002. At best, the data suggest that the number of all women in the IT industry is dropping substantially; at worst, these statistics illustrate a situation in which women are failing to advance in the managerial and professional ranks and the IT industry is failing to draw on a critical talent base.

Clearly, there is much to be done. Stay tuned.

[tags]diversity, IT, design, webdesign, women, workforce[/tags]

Filed under: An Event Apart, Design, Diversity, events, industry, Women's Studies

Comments off.

18 Apr 2007 11 am eastern

Where are the Women? Where are the Links?

Nothing delights web designers more than a friendly discussion on women in design and technology. One version of this perennial crowd-pleaser runs, “Where are all the women?” AKA “Why don’t more women participate in design/technology?” The discussion may then fault men for making design or technology seem “hard” or “unattractive”—as if women avoid doing things that are hard, a proposition that’s as ludicrous as it is sexist.

A more accurate variation on this theme acknowledges that there are truckloads of busy, competent women in design (or technology), and asks why women’s achievements in these fields go grotesquely under-reported and under-recognized. That is a fair and important question but we are not here to answer it. Nor are we here to address the creepy predatory behavior to which prominent women in our field are often subjected.

We are here because a postcard from the Art Directors Club alerted me to “The Woman Vanguard,” an ADC [Art Directors Club] Young Guns Live workshop and presentation moderated by the wonderful Debbie Millman, sponsored by Adobe, and apparently featuring the work and thoughts of some leading young female art directors.

That sounded good to me and might to some of you, too, so I decided to learn more by visiting the Art Directors Club’s website and potentially sharing what I learned. And there, hope shattered.

I would link to a page about this event if I could find one on the site. But there are, as near as I can determine, no “pages” on the site. It’s all Flash text (pixellated 1997 style) in squat little iframes. You are always, essentially, on the home page. If you’re lucky enough to stumble onto what you came looking for, you won’t be able to bookmark it or share it. I could spend an hour discussing what’s wrong with this site, but so could anyone reading this. You all know this. Why don’t the site’s creators?

The Art Directors Club’s site was designed by R/GA, an agency run and founded by visionaries. I respect them immensely as art directors and filmmakers. Respect doesn’t cover it. I am in awe of their founder and of their years of achievement in their realms of expertise. But they have no business designing websites, if this is the best they can do on behalf of a leading organization whose purpose is to recognize and promote visual culture.

Information architecture. Usability. Accessibility. Web standards. If you don’t know about these things, stop designing websites until you have learned. Competence in graphic design is merely a baseline; it does not qualify you to create user experiences for the web.

Every time I think I can stop talking about these obvious, simple truths, some crazy bad 90s style train wreck hits me headlong and makes me weep anew.

[tags]ux, ia, webdesign, design, userexperience, usability, adc, artdirectorsclub[/tags]

Filed under: Accessibility, Design, Diversity, Standards

Comments off.

25 Feb 2007 8 am eastern

Gender and ethnic imbalance in web design

Gender and ethnic imbalance in web design speaker conference lineups reflects a wider such imbalance in the industry as a whole. This imbalance bothers me as much as it bothers Kottke. I am glad Kottke raised the issue in his recent post, although I think it is a mistake to hold conferences accountable for deeper problems in the industry they serve. But that doesn’t for a minute get conference planners off the hook.

The problem is visible at the top because it exists at the bottom. There are barriers to entering the field and barriers to doing well in it. Some of these barriers are economic: not everyone has access to needed tools and training. We are interested in systematic and permanent change in the field, not merely the appearance of change as represented in a conference speaker lineup. Soon we will announce real steps to put these concerns into action.

Filed under: An Event Apart, Design, Diversity, industry, people, war, peace, and justice

Comments off.