4.1 SME Survey Response
The response to the questionnaire was very positive. Thirty eligible respondents completed the online forms which exceeded the minimum target of twenty replies. The results were entered into a spreadsheet and the statistics were extrapolated.
The full tabulations of the results are included as Appendices V-VIII.
4.2 Designer Survey Response
The response to the designer survey was also very encouraging. Of the six designers asked to answer the questions, four obliged and the other two cited work reasons, but one expressed an interest in proof-reading the document and linking to it from the Web Standards Project website. The designers who replied were:
- Ian Lloyd
- Gez Lemon
- John Oxton
- Bruce Lawson
Their short biographies (to demonstrate their involvement with accessibility to date) and full responses are included as Appendices III and IX-XII respectively.
4.3 SME Questionnaire Error Compensation
Four businesses claimed they had some experience of web design through their work. Although web designers are not excluded from the study as they operate as SMEs under the same laws, to assume that 13.4% of small businesses in the UK are web design firms would be erroneous, and their choice to partake may have been due to their high interest in the subject. Therefore for the sake of comparison, the statistics affected are displayed twice, with all statistics including these four respondents indicated in square parenthesis e.g. . With a relatively small sample it can mean a number of percentage points difference. Any values quoted outside of the methodology are calculated with these four businesses omitted as it assumed that professional web design firms are more aware of their own industry than SMEs in other fields.
Some basic statistics are listed here to give an idea of the classification of the responses.
- There were 30 respondents.
- The ages of the businesses ranged from six months to fifty years old. The mean age of the businesses was 8.1 [7.4] years old.
- The size of the businesses ranged from sole traders, to an organisation with 240 employees. The average business employed 22.3 [19.8] staff.
- 100%  of the businesses were located in England . The remaining business was based in Wales . There were no respondents from Scotland or Northern Ireland .
4.5 Quantitative Data Summary
Here is a list of some of the critical figures. More comprehensive information is located in Appendices V-VIII.
- 88%  of the businesses already have a website (see Figure 4.1)
- Of those who have a website already, 38%  are administered entirely by an external company, 17%  are administered by an ‘in house’ department and the remaining 46%  are administered by a single person within the firm (see Figure 4.2).
Figure 4.1, Businesses With A Website
Figure 4.2, Website Management
- Of all the respondents 11.5% [16.7] correctly identified what the W3C did, with a total of 19%  saying they had heard of it.
- 27%  were not aware of the DDA at all (see Figure 4.3).
- 38%  said they were aware of the term “Website Accessibility”, 38%  said they were not aware, and the remaining 24%  replied that they were unsure. (see Figure 4.4).
Figure 4.3, Aware of the DDA
Figure 4.4, Aware of “Website Accessibility”
- 15%  said that there is legislation governing UK business websites, but only 11.5%  were able to say what it was and 3.8%  of them were incorrect in their assumptions.
The businesses were asked if they had heard of a number of different international and UK accessibility initiatives, guidelines and standards (see Figure 4.5)
Figure 4.5, SME awareness of accessibility initiatives and organisations
The respondents’ attitudes of accessibility were recorded. They were given six (exclusive) choices (see Table 4.1)
|23%||Accessibility is expensive and/or a waste of time as the small number of our customers affected will either not be bothered or will contact us in another way.|
|27%||We have no need for extra accessibility. Our customers/visitors are able enough to cope, but we will provide support to them if they ask.|
|4%||We actively promote our website accessibility and ensure we provide measures to attract people with access needs, even if we have to pay more to do this.|
|27%||We would like to think we are accessible to as many people as possible, but we probably won't be going out of our way or spending more just to attract a handful of customers.|
|4%||We meet any suggested standards because we have heard of legal actions against companies that don't conform.|
The respondents were asked if they felt this if the prior legal cases were a concern to them as a small business. 50% said they were concerned, 27%  said they were not concerned and 23%  said they were unsure (see figure 4.6).
The respondents were asked who should be legally accountable for the access provisions of websites. 35%  said they believed it was solely the responsibility of the business and 36%  believed it to be the designers’ task to know the law and be fully accountable. The remaining 27%  believed in joint accountability (see figure 4.7).
Figure 4.6, Concerned by legal action
Figure 4.7, Legal responsibility
Table 4.2 shows how the respondents said they would react if accessibility of websites was legislated for§ .
|%||Action To Be Taken|
|8%||Hire A Consultant|
|81%||Ask The Designer|
|23%||Order A Redesign|
|0%||Close The Site - These laws shouldn't apply to SMEs|
|12%||Close The Site - It wouldn't affect our trade|
§ Note that it was not implied that this is already the law. This was done in order not lead respondents who were unawares of the law from changing their natural responses; however it would not affect the response of people who already knew this.