Exploring the Need of Accessibility Education in the Software Industry: Insights from a Survey of Software Professionals in India
A UserWay study in 2021 indicates that an annual global e-commerce revenue loss of approximately $16 billion can be attributed to inaccessible websites and applications. According to the 2023 WebAIM study, only 3.7% of the world’s top one million website homepages are fully accessible. This shows that many software developers use poor coding practices that don’t adhere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This research centers on software professionals and their role in addressing accessibility. This work seeks to understand (a) who within the software development community actively practices accessibility, (b) when and how accessibility is considered in the software development lifecycle, (c) the various challenges encountered in building accessible software, and (d) the resources required by software professionals to enhance product accessibility. Our survey of 269 software professionals from India sheds light on the pressing need for accessibility education within the software industry. A substantial majority (69.9%, N=269) of respondents express the need for training materials, workshops, and bootcamps to enhance their accessibility skills. We present a list of actionable recommendations that can be implemented within the industry to promote accessibility awareness and skills. We also open-source our raw data for further research, encouraging continued exploration in this domain.