About the Topic
Thanks to Our Sponsors
AccessiCart: Website accessibility can be complex for eCommerce sites, where many functionalities involve user interactions. AccessiCart offers customized assessments, consulting, and strategy. We evaluate the eCommerce store and its processes, prepare a detailed report about its accessibility issues (an audit), and offer a prioritized gameplan for making and keeping your website more fully accessible, focusing on the most impactful and important changes first.
About the Meetup
Watch the Recording
If you missed the meetup or would like a recap, watch the video below or read the transcript. If you have questions about what was covered in this meetup please tweet us @EqualizeDigital on Twitter or join our Facebook group for WordPress Accessibility.
- WordPress Accessibility Facebook Group
- Equalize Digital Web Accessibility Resources
- Equalize Digital Focus State Newsletter
- Equalize Digital Website
- Equalize Digital on Twitter
- WordPress Plugin Accessibility Checker
- Empire Caption Solutions Website
- Empire Caption Solutions on Twitter
- AccessiCart Website
- AccessiCart on Twitter
- Overlay Fact Sheet
- Fear is a Poor Motivator for Accessibility
- The RNIB WhatsIn Store Youtube Video
- Why a Dolphin? by Lainey Feingold
- How a web button suddenly costs an additional € 55
- Coolors Contrast Checker
- Low color contrast is like a faint but lingering bad smell
- Colorblindly Chrome Extension
- Accessibility is Delicious: Food analogies for digital inclusion
- Discover issues with rendering performance on Chrome DevTools
- Anne-Mieke on Twitter
- Anne’s Presentation
Read the Transcript
>> AMBER HINES: I am going to go through announcements and introductions. Then I will hand over the floor to our speaker, Anne.
So, if you have never been before, we have a Facebook group that you can connect between meetups. If you go to Facebook and search “WordPress Accessibly,” it will come up. Otherwise, it’s Facebook dot com slash groups slash WordPress dot accessibility. That is the direct URL.
It is a good place to share what you’re working on, get feedback, ask questions, answer other people’s questions. So we’re trying to build the community around WordPress accessibility, and it’s been really great watching that grow.
Everyone always asks if this is being recorded. Yes, it is being recorded. The recordings for all of our past meetups are available on Equalize Digital dot com slash meetup. That will redirect you to the much longer URL. You can go to a section and you can see recordings for past meetups. It takes us about two weeks to get corrected. We edit the video, and then we get corrected captions and a full transcript. Once we have those available, then we will publish the video.
It is being recorded and it will be available at that website then. To get notified when the recording is available, and get notices of other upcoming meetup events, you can join our email list if you go to Equalize Digital dot com slash focus dash state.
You also should get redirected to a thank you page after the webinar, where you can subscribe, if you are not already subscribed. Then you will get reminders of upcoming events and also get links and information to the recordings and other interesting web accessibility articles from around the web.
We are still seeking some additional sponsors for the meetup in 2023. If you would be interested in helping to sponsor, please reach out. Unfortunately, the WordPress Foundation does not have funding to cover the cost of live captioning or ASL, which we have had a times, when we have sponsors for that.
So, we are always looking for people that can help us. Of course, sometimes my company covers the cost of the captioning. But if there is other people in the community that is interested in supporting that, please reach out to us.
There is also information about that on the same webpage where you can find the recordings, what the costs are. If you have any suggestions for the meetup, or you need any accommodations, or if you would be interested in speaking, we are booking speakers right now for April, I believe.
Feel free to reach out to us. You can email myself and Paola at meetup at Equalize Digital dot com. That is how you can get in touch with us. We love feedback. Of course, we are very interested in finding speakers. So please reach out to us.
Who am I? I mentioned a little bit about our website. You can find the recordings on there. My company is called Equalize Digital and my name and Amber Hines. We basically are a company that focuses in WordPress accessibility. It’s a passion of ours. That is all we do. We do accessibility audits and remediation.
We do website builds from an accessibility-first perspective. We have a plugin called Accessibility Checker, that can be used to find some accessibility issues on websites. Not all automated tools can find all issues, but they can find some.
There is a free version of it that you can try on WordPress dot org, or you can get the free one off our website.
I am going to pause here for a second. I noticed a question come into the chat, just verifying that everyone is muted and the cameras are off. Yes. That is correct. Attendees, we can’t see you, and you won’t be able to speak since we are using the Zoom Webinars platform. No one has to worry about that.
If you do have questions on that front, you will need to use the chat or the Q&A, which we will talk about in just a minute.
We have two sponsors today that I want to thank. Our live captions are sponsored by AccessiCart. AccessiCart is a company that specializes in Woocommerce accessibility. They do strategy, assessments and consulting. If you have an ecommerce store and you want someone to go through your processes and prepare a detailed report about its accessibility issues, or help you create a prioritization plan for fixing it and making it work better for everyone, they are a great company to reach out to.
You can learn more about AccessiCart at AccessiCart dot com. It’s A-C-C-E-S-S-I-C-A-R-T dot com. If you’re on Twitter, they are at AccessiCart. We always like to encourage people to tweet a thank you to our sponsors for sponsoring, so that they know that it is important and that people appreciate it. That helps to encourage them to want to sponsor again in the future.
We also have to thank Empire Caption Solutions. Empire Caption Solutions has donated their services to the meetup to do transcription, and creating our captions file that we need in order to upload to the YouTube video after it’s done, to ensure we have accurate captions and an accurate transcript.
We very much appreciate that they have done that. In addition to doing post events on prerecorded media transcription, they do it for podcasts as well. They do audio description, which we will have a talk about audio description coming up next. If you want to learn more about that, come back to a future meetup.
They do ASL interpretation. They did all of that for the WP Accessibility Day. They’re a great company. We very much appreciate them. If you want to learn more about them, you can learn more at Empire Captions dot com or they’re on Twitter, sort of. [Laughing.] They don’t use it a lot. But it doesn’t hurt to tweet them a thank you as well. It is at Empire Caption.
We have two upcoming events that I want to make sure everyone is aware of. I just mentioned that we’re going to have a talk about audio description. So Joel Snyder, who has been doing the audio description for a long time is going to be talking about what audio description is, and how to create quality audio descriptions.
The short of that, if you are not familiar, it is an alternative soundtrack that can be added to video that describes what is happening visually in the videos so that people who are not sighted, or perhaps are just listening to the video, will know what is going on. So he will be talking on Monday, January 16th at 7:00pm US Central Time.
Our next talk in this same time slot on Thursday, February 2nd at 10:00am US Central Time will be Steve Jones, who also works with me as my partner at Equalize Digital. He will be talking about the anatomy of an accessible nav, or navigation menu, on a website. That will be a little bit more of what I would consider a developer-focused topic. We will probably be talking about and looking at some codes.
If you have developers, or if you are a developer who would be interested, that is a good one to come to.
Now, I am very excited to introduce our speaker. She gave me permission just to call her Anne Bovelett. Anne-Mieke Bovelett is a passionate multilingual accessibility and possibility advocate from Germany. She was born in 1971 in the Netherlands, and in a long lineage of visual artists, sculpturers, musicians and nutty professors.
I love that there’s a great background there. Anne built her first real website in 1998 and her freelanced on the side for years. In 2008, she took the plunge as a fulltime entrepreneur. She has really worked in focusing on inclusive design and content. She likes to debunk myths such as accessible websites are more expensive, or you can’t create really great designs if it’s an accessible website.
I have had the opportunity to hear her speak at a few different places. I was super excited when she agreed to come and speak for us. I think she is going to share some really great information today.
So, welcome Anne. I am going to stop sharing my screen and I will let you take over sharing.
>> ANNE: Alright. Hello everyone! It’s really great to be here. I can’t tell you how excited I am how many people joined today. Especially like what Amber said, after the holidays. Absolutely fantastic.
I am going to share my screen now.
>> AMBER: Yeah. Let me just say real quick as you are getting that up. If you have Q&A, there is a Q&A module. I will try to watch the chat, but with this many people questions can frequently get lost in the chat. Please add them to the Q&A module in Zoom, we and will get to those in just a little bit.
>> ANNE: Okay. I have been speaking for a lot of audiences, and actually this time I chose the topic to speak to team leads and future team leads of design and development teams in several companies. It doesn’t really matter whether you are working in a small company, or a large company, or even if you are a freelancer who has to work together with others, which can be a lot of fun.
Amber already told a lot about me. I was born and raised in the Netherlands. I am smacking around with a lot of very Dutch expressions. Someone told me, “Your sayings are absolutely crazy.” I will try and explain them as much as I can.
One very important thing you need to know about me is that my parents taught me to think in possibilities. I was practically raised not without fear, but I was taught that if you want something, don’t start to think about what can go wrong or what is bad or what is dangerous. But, what do I have to do to get there?
These problems we call them “bears in the road.” My mother once said to me, “You know hon, if you see a bear in the road, you got to hog it to death.” Why is this so important? This is actually a very important trait in speaking and teaching about accessibility. For a lot of people, this is a really scary topic. I am not telling you anything new by that.
This presentation is going to be about saying “yes” and not saying “no.” A lot of people seem to think I have been in accessibility for many, many, many, many years which is not the case. I created my first website in 1998. I felt really old when I realized that again. I started for myself in 2008. But it took me until 2021 to understand that I knew virtually nothing about online accessibility.
You need to take note of that, because you are also running into designers and developers, content creators, people around you, who have no clue what it means. My knowledge stopped at – You need to have your hat in order, and you need to good alt descriptions.
So when I finally figured out that there is a lot more to it, I started to learn. If you try to learn all this at once, it’s very steep. It can be very discouraging. Again, that is what this presentation is about. To take away the discouragement, because that is what gives you counterarguments.
What you will learn today in the end is how you can motivate developers, how you can motivate designers, and how you can use that knowledge to motivate decisionmakers. I know some of you came here thinking – I am going to get all the selling arguments for customers to sell them accessible websites.
But you will have to work for that. What I’m showing you today and what we are discussing today is bringing you the ideas, the inspiration, of how you can do that.
Like I said, this is targeted at team leads and people leading to creating accessible websites, apps, shops. I’m assuming you already have a solid understanding of online accessibility and you are the one who has to take the lead. I can be very confrontational. Maybe this has to do with the fact that I’m Dutch. I am just very direct.
I say some pretty graphic things every now and then. If I say something that offends you or anything, it’s not personal. Please get back to me if there is something eating at you about it. OK?
A very important subject and part of this presentation is about psychology. Accessibility is a topic that stirs up a lot of emotion in so many regions. The examples that I’m sharing are based on my experience. My experience in the past one and a half years where I literally worked day and night to learn what I know now and I still think I don’t know the half of it.
That’s a job. Anyway, you may have other experiences that you have questions about. So at the end of the presentation, do not hesitate to ask, OK?
Also, at the end of my presentation, you get to share your arguments. Because the arguments that I run into or ran into may not be the ones that you run into. There is absolutely no remark too stupid. Feel free to bring on every argument. But again, remember this is mainly about arguments between developers and designers and their team leads.
If you profit from this by hearing things that you can take to your customers, this is great. But this is between the teams themselves. What I would like to ask you, is to make a list of a maximum of three arguments that you find really hard to counter.
I would ask of you to do that now. The reason is if you do it now, I would like to know in the end of the presentation if you have been inspired by this and know a way that you figured out by yourself, because of what I am telling you, of how you could counter it.
If you end up with arguments where you say, “Pff. Yeah, well, I can’t counter this one. They say this or they say that. What can I say? How can I motivate them?” Go ahead. You get to ask your questions. You get to present your argument.
I know that not everybody here is working as I . . . I am targeting. I am going to list a couple of things. Some of them may be stating the obvious to you. Some of them may not. But I need to get everybody on the same page here.
When you first start talking to designers and developers, like, “Okay, we have to make stuff accessible. Whatever you are doing is not accessible.” The first response of course is disbelief. They are like, “It works for me!” I don’t want to do age discrimination or anything, but I learned that it’s very often the younger people who respond like this.
This is not only because when you are young you still have all your faculties, maybe you are one of the lucky people who does not have a disability. Also, you fell into a lot of modern code, frameworks. You are not one of those dinosaurs, like I am. I am 51, who actually wrote code by hand.
Another argument you get. “Well, why do we have to bother with accessibility? We don’t have disabled visitors, users, customers.” Or people get mad. They go, “What! I have been doing this for so many years, and no one ever complained. You are actually telling me what I am doing isn’t right? Are you saying I am a bad designer? How dare you!”
Or hey, the worst guys, “You know there’s a plugin for that, right?” I’m talking about those notorious overlay plugins. I’m not going to get into those plugins right now. I am just going to say note down: overlaybacksheet.com. If you haven’t heard of those before, read that.
This is also something you can send your people out to read. Then, you get a lot of resentment because people feel they are being restricted. You start talking about, “Well, it has to be accessible. So, you cannot do this and you cannot do that and you cannot use that feature and you cannot use that tool.”
Nobody likes to be told what he can’t do. It goes against our psychology in general. There is little decap- . . . I don’t even know how to say the word. Decapacitating as no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
It is very demotivating when you really are not sure if you’re doing it right. You come to your team leader, and you say, “Look, I created this.” And the team lead goes like, “Yeah. That sucks.”
Or, “You don’t understand it,” or “why didn’t you read up, or why didn’t you . . .” It is all “no, did not, no.” Be aware when you speak to your team, and the people you work with, of your language. Are you speaking in what they cannot do? Or are you speaking in what they can do? I know I go hulk on people who keep telling me what I cannot do.
Then people start crawling back because of fear of repercussions. I know more in the US than in Europe, the legal liability is pretty strong, also in Canada. I know there are companies doing hard sales based on that. But fear is the worst enemy of creativity there is.
Have you ever created a fear design? I did. My website is an example of that. This was the safest design I could think of, because I had to whip it out in a couple of weeks. I am currently working on this new website, and you have a premier. Actually, the logo on the top left, no one in the world has seen that yet.
When you do, it is going to be very colorful. That aside, back to legal liability, people think we can get sued if it is not done right. Then you start crawling into yourself. If you are working with a team who just got the assignment, listen. “We got sued, and we need to have an accessibility website like yesterday. Everything needs to be fixed.”
People are going to start to collar between lines that are within lines. Again, they feel you cannot do this, or you cannot do that. It’s about the possibilities and it’s up to you to counter this fear and worry and this . . . I would almost call it a nonexisting word in English. I would call it dis-creativity. People are afraid to get fired if they don’t do it right.
Then there is fear of the unknown. It is overwhelming. The documentation for accessibility is drier than the Sahara in midsummer. For several reasons, even for me, I have this weird form of dyslexia. I have ADHD. Give me a pile of text, longer than 20 lines, and I’m gone.
I think a lot of people who work in creative jobs, whether it’s coding or designing, are people who tend to go into full focus of creation. Learning all of this dry stuff is like drying up the well. There’s this other thing. We always try to be perfect. So we feel like we have to know and we have to understand all of it.
I remember the day I pressed the button on my current website. I had “seven callers in my pants.” Again, a very Dutch expression. I thought people are going to come and then they’re going to shoot me down, because they are like – errors here and errors there. Probably this thing has errors because I was making this in PitchBuilder.
At some point, you have to let go. You’re doing your best. It’s for you to motivate your team into doing their best, and into acknowledging that there is stuff that they don’t know. It is okay to not know something. It is not okay to tell somebody to bugger off, because you’re trying to hide that you don’t know something.
This is where all of the counterarguments are coming from. Like I said, we’re going into a little bit of psychology. Everybody wants to be liked. Let me set that up. Everybody wants to be loved. Getting told that you are not doing it right or giving someone the feeling like they are Bambi on ice . . . I don’t know who of you has seen or heard Bambi.
Bambi was a reindeer. He tried to walk on ice. He was just swiveling all over the place. Again, some of you might wonder why is she telling this? Everybody here knows Bambi. I can tell you, not everyone knows Bambi. I know for a fact that a friend of mine who is here, his name is Lazar. Lazar is blind. I don’t know if Lazar ever experienced Bambi.
I think Lazar experienced walking on ice. This is actually quite a good example of how you as a team lead guide your people into understanding that you know what they are going through. People identify with what they do for a living. I think this goes especially for creative people. When you are creating stuff, when you are making stuff work, you are giving a part of yourself, of your soul.
If you give someone a feeling that they are not good or not good enough at what they do, that is detrimental. That is what gets them to shut down on you. Shutting down is not quiet. Shutting down is getting up front like, “Yeah, sure you can automate that,” or “Can’t they ask someone to navigate the site for them, if someone can’t use the site?”
It gets you all kinds of no. When you are giving a no, you get one out. The basis, or countering, voiced and unvoiced arguments is something a lot people would say, “Oh, you’re getting all psycho on me. You are getting so spiritual.” But the fact is, love and empathy. Everybody needs and wants love and empathy.
Whether it is you designing a site or coding a site, or you doing that with your team, or you being the one on the receiving end. I am on the receiving end a lot. I have ADHD on steroids. I can’t focus for more than five minutes, if it is a subject that doesn’t really have my biggest passion at that moment. I can’t see very well. So when text is small and grey and has bad contrast, I feel unseen. I feel there has been no empathy for me and my fellow users whatsoever from whoever designed that website.
I get to feel like – They really don’t care do they? It’s very important that you clarify to the people you work with the joy of what you can do, of what can be done, instead of what can’t be done. “Can’t” is unproductive. Now think back to all of the arguments people woof around your ears.
How many of these arguments can you already say, “Yeah. They’re worried that they are not doing it right.” Or, “Hmm. Maybe I should have clarified that.” One of the most important things I think in countering arguments . . . or maybe it is better to say not countering arguments, but to make sure people do not argue with you over certain things.
I think that is better. Making them understand the why. Your “why” is not my “why.” My “why” is not my blind friend’s “why: or my mother of 76, who tried to change banks and she could not. So, the “why.” This is why I said I am assuming you already know a lot about accessibility. If you understand accessible design and accessible coding, you could actually be a master of explaining “why” from a practical point.
Saying, “Because I say so,” is not really a great argument. Of course making things accessible, you should do because it is right thing to do. But if you work with a team of new developers, new designers, or the whole topic is new to them, it’s not as solid as you think. People are having their center of the universe in here and in here.
If you just say to someone, “It’s the right thing to do,” they still don’t know why. If they cannot relate, they don’t know why. If I tell them, “You have to make your paragraph text at least the equivalent of 18 pixels or larger, and use REM, or EM or whatever to get it into tech.” They still won’t know why it is the right thing to do.
Like I said, your “why” may differ from their “why.” This is where we get to another point. I know when you are leading design and development teams, and you have to talk to marketing, there is this whole hierarchy. There is a manager over your head, and another one, and another one. Or you are a Freelander, you can a customer who has a manager. There is always someone up there trying to call the shots and trying to get you to do what they think is right.
When they have no clue what it means to make a site accessible, or if their only motivation is for legal reasons, they are not going to get it right. You know that, but your team doesn’t know the “why” of that. Not really. The only time I believe you learn the “why” of something is if you get to relate, if you get to experience.
I think it is important that you find out what the people in your team do understand and what they do not understand. Then, project that. You may be dealing with different age groups. Very young developers and designers, to people of my age who have always been used to doing things a certain way.
Both of these groups get very insecure when you just tell them what to do and you keep telling them what they did is wrong. So, yeah. How can you prevent arguments from people? Take what they know. Make them relate. I could have got you a list of apps and tools and whatever you can use, like filters in Chrome, to show what things look like for someone who is colorblind.
You can show what something looks like when they are very sensitive to light. I could have sent you a list of links to how do you get to keyboard test something, or how do you . . . but you already know that. I am talking to you, the ones who have to deal with the arguments.
Not the ones who are still learning. Now, we have something in Dutch where we say, “Oh, this is way too far from my bed.” I don’t know the English equivalent of it, but it’s like it’s not my world. So, I don’t know. It is not important to me. Make it come close to home. I had a meeting awhile back with a team who wanted to recreate some sort of scoring system online.
The first thing I asked them is, “How many of you wear glasses or contacts?” In fact, all of them turned out to wear contacts or glasses. Well, the glasses were obvious but the contacts were not. Bam, that is where you have them. Ask people, “Can you see or read anything if you take out these contacts?” You get these arguments from the people that want to debate with you why you shouldn’t do anything to make something accessible, or want to know why it is important.
They are usually the people who do not have to deal with being disabled, being old, being so tired that everything is glaring. You know this feeling. You come home and you want to turn down the lights because everything is going [guttural sound at 34:25] Right?
This is why I keep saying, relate to something that they know. Then make it bigger. So ask them if they wear glasses. Ask them about hearing. You will be surprised. If people trust you, and they should be able to trust you. If you’re a good manager and team lead, people trust you. Right?
Ask them if they are able to have a good conversation with someone when there is a lot of noise in the background. I live in Germany. One of the things that absolutely drives me bonkers around here is if you watch something on TV, and they are not subtitled things, they are dubbing things. Then they have the original language in the background, and the German in the foreground. I have to turn off the channel because I cannot listen to it.
You will find if you ask people, “Can you have a good conversation in a discotheque?” Or, “How do you feel if five people at the same time try and talk to you, and you have to form a decision about something? How do you feel?”
I’d be really surprised if people then tell you, “Oh yeah. It is very easy. I can do it like that. No problem. I can focus like a mad man.” I never heard anyone say it. If they can relate to that, they can relate or you can make them relate to the fact that if you design a website that has a ton of moving elements, that this actually gives the same feeling as a ton of people talking through each other’s . . . I don’t know how to say this in English. I’m sorry.
When they just keep interrupting each other. It is the same. So relate, relate, relate. Fatigue or something else . . . If they keep saying, “Yeah. No. I don’t have all of these problems. I am Superman or Superwoman or Superthem.” Take the horrible plastic packaging. You know, this stuff where you want to buy a USB stick and it’s in plastic so tough that you actually need a concrete cutter to open it.
If you start talking about that, there’re like, “Yeah! I know! I bought this or I bought that.” That can relate. Relate that back to something like a website or an app that is inaccessible. I don’t have to give you those examples of inaccessibility, because you already know them.
It’s up to you to teach the others. Or the example of the shop with no labels. Just ask them. “Can you imagine going into a supermarket, and all you see is the price but the labels are white?” People would go like, “You are talking nonsense. That would never happen.”
You can explain to them, of course it happens. It happens on the web. It happens in a web shop, where you can’t read the description or where someone using assistive technology like a screenreader doesn’t get these descriptions read. This is where you start. You peak interest. You relate.
Then there is what they think they know. But you are the one who knows what can go wrong. They don’t. Make them experience that by themselves. You don’t want to counter arguments. You want to prevent them. A good thing is make people find a webshop. I prefer to take webshops for several reasons. A webshop has even more reason if you take it from a capitalistic greedy way, to be accessible than a regular site.
Every site should be accessible, but a webshop actually loses money. If you cannot navigate a webshop by keyboard, you as a site owner, you lose money. There are shops that make a lot of profit, more than usual, because they are accessible. This is just a regular market. Either what you offer is great, and your experience is great, or it is not.
A lot of people in your team who are new to accessibility, who are questioning of the “why,” they have to experience that. My challenge and my homework for you would be to find shops and sites that suck where it comes to accessibility and find those that are great.
Take half a day or a day off with your team. Tell your boss, or whoever is paying for the job, that that day off is part of the process. That day, you’re going to workshop your people like crazy. Make your team shop by keyboard. It is not fair to make them shop with a screenreader the first time, because learning how to use a screenreader . . . I am still at it.
If you want to see how people experience the world with a screenreader, if you want to show that, ask someone who uses a screenreader on a daily basis. Invest in that. Invest in it. Do not save money in the process of learning how to make a site accessible.
People will start feeling dumb right when you bring up accessibility. They start to learn that . . . how should I say that? They start to realize there is a lot of stuff that they don’t know. It’s going to make them very insecure. It can make them so insecure that they start to question everything, which isn’t right.
You work with that designer because that is a great designer. You work with that developer because that is a great developer. Make sure you keep that on top of everything. Keep them aware that you know that they are good at what they’re doing as far as they were doing it. But it is time to learn new stuff.
When you take them through this process of testing a website, take out the whole bag of tools that you have. The ones I was talking about, these simulators in Chrome. There are apps on your phone for that. Make them experience the world through the eyes and the ears of someone who has a disability.
There’s a great tool called Polliping. That tool can even show you what dyslexia looks like. Still realize that all of these tools are only showing you a little bit. It is not the real thing. But when you do this with your team, make them run into the wall. Make them shop by keyboard on a completely inaccessible website.
A developer will start inspecting the source code. I have seen developers go like, [gasping] “I do that, too! I didn’t know that!” The moment this happened, they’re not going to bitch at you, “Why should I make it like that?” They experienced it.
The same is with design. Make them see the world through the eyes of people with visual disabilities and make it clear that this also concerns their grandparents and at some point themselves. It is the same. It is something that I learned. I was blown away when I heard that. When people can’t hear the way they experience text, the way they read text, is different.
So, if you know what can go wrong with accessibility, you can cook up any kind of example to make the people you work with experience at least part of it. Then you challenge them in all their talent and all their skills, to go figure out how that could have been better.
Find great metaphors. Find stuff that people understand. This is where I warned you, this is where it gets rough. I have given examples of people who went to a restaurant and ate something bad, and suddenly they had to go to the bathroom. You know, like . . . hmm. But they couldn’t find the bathroom because they’re in this big building with a lot of halls, and the signage sucks.
Do you know what a disgrace that is? How humiliating that is, if you have to do it in your pants because someone in that building didn’t make the right signage? Now imagine it is not you having to go to the bathroom, but it’s you having to pay the tax office. In Europe, in every country, it is different.
It is a catastrophe everywhere. They are working on it, and working on it, and working on it. It is still a catastrophe. Imagine, I have to get this done. I have to tell the tax office I made this much money, or I didn’t make this much money. If I cannot file those papers, or those numbers, I’m going to get a fine.
Can you imagine the fear and the pressure? If you cannot operate that website because you cannot operate a mouse, or because your screenreader isn’t working, or simply because you are overwhelmed by all of the colors and the buttons and the whatchamacallit.
Can you imagine? That really sucks. I actually don’t have to tell you that because you know that. But this is what you should tell the people you work with, the ones who are trying to bring arguments to you against accessibility. Accessibility is not only for the disabled. Accessibility is for everybody.
It is up to you to bring that. This is how you counter arguments. Again, show them their power. Actually, the web designers and developers, they are the kings and the queens and the magicians on the web. Acknowledge that. If someone has been doing his job in the same way, using this very lousy framework that only use hoes – sorry, divs.
This developer probably doesn’t know that he is not doing something right. Especially the younger generation, they are not getting educated right. This is something that has to change. They’re still the kings, the queens and the magicians. They have the power to do better.
For example, take a form. There’s always a lot of discussions about forms. Labels are ugly. Or, I want that checkbox to have a different shape or whatever. You make them discover that with that, they make a form unusable to a lot of people. You show how them how they can make it usable.
You challenge them to do a great design and use labels and do everything great under the hood. They will feel good about themselves. I know I feel good about myself. I am not even a hardcore developer. I know just about enough about development to be really dangerous and do really stupid things.
Anyway, they have the power to change things for the better. So please make them and keep them aware of that. Show them that they can take great pride in their work, on a human level, on a creative level, on a commercial and financial level. Let’s take the rank up a little bit.
You are the design and development team lead. You have to discuss with the company CTO. For those who think what’s a CTO? Because I know we have these crazy habits to use acronyms for everything all the time. A CTO is a Chief Technical Officer.
The CTO is getting hammered from the top. “We have to do this, we have to realize this. It shouldn’t cost this much. Get it fixed. Get it done. We are getting fined, or we are getting whatever or we are not making enough turnover because our site is not accessible or whatever.”
They will want to defend their post. They are responsible for budget. They also need to get it done. Those are people you can also get arguments from. Those are difficult people to talk to because they’re like me. Most of them know just enough to be really dangerous, where it comes to code stuff, design stuff, technical stuff.
On the other hand, it’s not that hard if a CTO comes down on your head and says, “Listen, this just needs to happen. This thing has to go online and we have to make turnover with this.” You can get angry. He can go into “not, don’t, do not” and say “Okay, so who is going to tell the boss that he is losing out on turnover? You and me.”
Instead of saying that, just say, “Don’t you want to be able to tell the boss that we’re going to do a lot more turnover if we do it right from the start?” It is a whole different tone of voice. Again, show them they can take great pride in the work on a human level, on a creative level, and also on a commercial and a financial level.
Then there is translation in teamwork. Web designers and developers, they do not always speak the same language. I don’t mean it disgraceful, because I actually have a domain called Geek On Heels. I would call developers do “geek speak.”
Now, things can get very literal, especially for developers. I have been part of an open source development team where I would follow the discussions between the designers, the marketers and the developers, and they would go Babylonic on each other like that. Bam!
They were fighting. I have heard people screaming on the floor. It is very discomforting, actually. It is up to you to bring them together. If you bring them together, and you too are part of that team, you get this “we” situation. “We” can. “We” will. It takes a basic understanding of each other’s work.
Some people roll into design but they actually don’t think in grids. There’s a reason why it’s really good to think in grids because if something is in a grid design, it’s easier to code and to unify coding. You with development experience, you know that.
But a designer maybe doesn’t know that. Or the designer has been hit on by their customer who said, “I want to have these really flipped out designs. I am the one paying the money. I am paying so much money. You have to do everything I say.” This can potentially divide your team. Don’t let it.
Keep the people you work with and the teams you depend on, keep them together. I have this story that is on my website. I’m going to look the other way, because I have it there on my screen. That has a lot of meaning to me. When I try to explain it to others I call it the story of the $160 button. If you are creating stuff for the web, on one hand, a designer should be able to stick to the design and the developer should be able to stick to the development.
But if you do not have this general understanding of how the whole process works, if nobody ever shows you, you’re missing out on a lot of information. This is also very expensive. How do I say it? Small changes happen through love. Big changes happen through greed and capitalism.
This might be a strange turn but this is where I get to the turn where if you are working with people who keep countering or arguing with you over accessibility, maybe that team needs more education. Maybe there needs money to be invested in educating the team. It doesn’t matter whether you are a freelancer or if you are working for whatchamacallit big agency.
It costs money. Debates, discussions, fights, negativity. It all costs. Directly, but mostly indirectly. Semantics is the holy grail to me. Anyone developing accessible sites and apps knows that. Then there is also terminology. This is where we get to language. So the conversation I am describing there, is a marketer coming to a developer and saying, “Hey, you need to change that menu item as soon as you can. It has to be twice as big and it has to be green.”
The developer is like, “What menu item?” Well, the third one. “I don’t see a menu item.” Of course you do, you made it! “Nah, I never made menu items.” Man, I mailed you a screenshot and a detailed explanation this morning.
“Oh, that! Yeah. I studied that for a while. It was a lot of text. That is a button with a popup. That is not a menu item. That is not for me to change, just like that. You have to talk to the design department. I would have mailed you that answer this afternoon. I answer my email only twice a day.” Good for him or her.
That conversation was very expensive. At first sight, that button cost 55 euros. The developer who charges, he charges $110 per hour. Dutifully log that as out of scope. So half an hour of that time was 55 euros. But in fact, that button cost 160 euros. How? This is where it comes to translating and mutual understanding.
You have to understand or teach your people that they are part of a larger process, not just what they do. They should focus on what they do, but they have to understand that they are a part of that process. That marketer that is not even an integrated part of the team, but someone who has influence from the outside, wasted hours.
I don’t know what it costs in other countries, but I have been a recruiter for eight years and I know what it would have cost in the Netherlands. I am calculating that in salary in this article. This is how I end up thinking. This button cost $160. With that $160 or euros, you could have had half an afternoon and have someone who lives being disabled, someone who is blind or someone who is deaf or anything you want to have shown to you to see what it is like, if they operate a website or an app.
You could have invited this person over and paid him or her for that time. Because that, too, is very important when you get arguments. Teach your team who they’re working for, who they are working with. I stated here in this list, what if that button actually costs $20,000 or 20,000 euros? These days, the difference is not that big.
If that button is not working because it’s a faulty checkout, then a lot of people couldn’t order and pay for what they wanted to buy. Then a lousy button is easily $20,000 in damages or even more. I leave it up to your imagination, how big you want to make this example. Most important, you are part of a team.
If you work for a company or in a company, never forget they’re paying your bills. They are paying your salary. They are paying your fee. You would think – Okay, we have to be nice to them and say, “Yes sir, no sir, yes ma’am, no ma’am, we will do anything you want.”
You know if you are into accessibility that you carry this responsibility to help them make the right decision. That starts with your own teams. You do it together. Never forget that. I see it is 6:00 here in the evening. I have been yapping here for an hour.
I think it’s time to bring on the arguments. I will start and then I’m going to ask you and ask Amber to moderate that. If you have questions or if you have arguments that you don’t think you can answer based on what I’ve been telling you here today.
One of the meanest I get is, “I will design when I say.” “No. You can’t use that color on a light background because the contrast is lousy.” Then they go, “This is how they always used our corporate colors, or this is how we always used our corporate colors.” It can also happen to you, that you as a development team have to work with a marketing agency that goes hulk on you over what you’re saying.
How do you counter that? You do the same thing. Show them what it’s like for someone with lower vision. Show them what it is like for someone who is colorblind. Show them that green and orange look the same when people have red-green colorblindness, for example. Again, you should know all of these examples because you’re into accessibility.
You know why it’s important. If you need ways to learn how to give examples, come find me. The next one is design. “Labels are ugly!” Well, create a form for them that has no labels. Then have them run a screenreader. Using a screenreader for something as basic as a form is something you can do. Whether you do it on Windows or on a Mac, or whatever.
It is one of the simpler things of a screenreader. Operating a screenreader is a whole world in itself. But that you can do. If people say, “Labels are ugly,” and you say, “But they need to be in there,” and they finally understand they can be in there, challenge the designer to create a whole new form. Make sure they’re not afraid to bring on new designs.
Accessibility is a verb. It is not just a phrase. It is a verb. It is something you do. Then there is another one. Developers, “Yeah we will develop these features first, and then we will make it accessible afterwards.” This is where I always look at who am I dealing with here? Am I dealing with the CTO? Am I dealing with the development team itself? Is there anyone here who I can make understand that it is actually very costly what they are doing? This is what gives accessibility a bad rap, right?
They are baking cookies, and then expect they can put in the sugar and the salt after they have been baked. This is one of those arguments where I will counter with, “Okay, so wouldn’t you want to tell our boss or our client that they can make a lot more money, when they do it in an accessible way?
Also, for the client or your boss, “don’t, do not, cannot.” Don’t use fear. Use positive things. My throat is raw. I think it’s your turn.
>> AMBER: That was really great, Anne. Thank you. I saw tons of really good feedback coming in in the chat. Someone did post . . . we don’t have any questions yet. If anyone has questions for Anne, feel free to add them to the Q&A widget, and I can share them with her. Of course, she is also interested in hearing other arguments that you have come up against, especially if there’s any that you’re not sure how to respond to.
We would be happy to discuss those. One person did say, “Three arguments that I’ve heard is: the first one was blind users can visit one of our offices to get help signing the forms instead of doing it on the web.
So they have to come to an office. The second one was: We don’t have time to make this accessible now. We can do that later, which you already addressed. Three was: They just say this is a better design. It is just better. [Laughing.]
I don’t know if you have any thoughts about those. Maybe we start with the first one. Blind people can just come to the office instead of using the website.
>> ANNE: I love that one. Okay. Imagine this is your bloody tax return.
Imagine you are like me. You suck at administration and you’re always on the last brink. Especially if someone is blind, doing the administration is probably a lot harder. It’s been hard. Then you realize it’s your last day. Let’s say it is you. You are not the blind person. It’s you. You have not been able to do your administration in a timely manner for whatever reason. Then, you cannot do it on the website.
You cannot do it online. Instead, you get this message saying, “Come to our office on Monday.” You know it’s Friday and if you don’t put that in by Friday, you’re going to find something else in your inbox, saying, “You’re late. You’re fined.” Do you still think you can request that from people? Or imagine it’s like the story of the food. You have to go to the bathroom so bad, and someone says, “No. No. You can’t use this bathroom. Use the bathroom on the other side of town.”
How would that make you feel?
>> AMBER: I think, too, on that kind of argument for going into the office, we will talk about that side note on that. Josh said in chat, “They can just call in for help.” I do want to say something about going into the office that I think many people . . . it might seem easy for a typically abled wealthy person that owns a vehicle, to go to an office. You can take time off work. You can drive yourself there and you can do it during the time that the office is open.
But someone who doesn’t have their own vehicle, who doesn’t have freedom, whether or not they are an abled person or not, freedom to take time off from their job, during the hours in which the office is open, or someone who is unable to drive themself and they have to rely on someone else to drive them or public transportation, which may or may not work.
I think once you start saying those kinds of things, then they click. It is like, oh this could also be an extra cost for them. Now they have to pay an Uber, because they don’t have a family member or a friend who is willing to drive them. So now you are adding a cost. I think when you start spelling that kind of stuff out, it’s helpful to emphasize why coming in in person doesn’t really work.
>> ANNE: Yeah.
>> AMBER: Is the office even open 24 hours a day? What is someone worked the nightshift? [laughing] It would be convenient for them to come in at 1:00am. Does that work for you? Would you like to come in and serve them in your office at 1:00am?
We always talk about cutting cost, and allowing people to self-serve on the web reduces the staffing requirements. Even the number of people available to do tech support. That is why every time we have a tech support question, it is like have you read the documentation? Because before you can chat with them, or before you can submit your support ticket, because it requires man hours, which costs the business money to respond to support. Wouldn’t that be better if things just worked? You didn’t have to have a human being helping people.
>> ANNE: But this is –
>> AMBER: That sounds horrible! We don’t want to be helping people.
>> ANNE: This is what I am talking about. This is painting the big picture. This is showing people you are part of a bigger picture. I can’t help but see, Glen Work [sp?] is saying something wonderful.
He says, “If a developer finds out that the way they are coding something is preventing someone from using the website, they are typically very motivated to fix it.” Yeah. A lot of developers are –
>> AMBER: It is really about just explaining it, and making it more visible.
On the phone front, I think it’s the same scenario, right? It is the cost of people answering the phone. But also the big thing here in the US was the Dominos case. Dominos tried to be like, “They can just call to order pizza.” But they were constantly putting people on hold, or maybe they are not open all the time, and you want to order in advance.
I don’t know if Laney is still here, but I know Laney Feingold, when she spoke about laws and that kind of stuff, she said almost never is a phone considered a reasonable alternative to having an accessible website.
>> ANNE: No, it is not. Interesting about forms, like in Europe we have this thing with GDPR. One of the arguments I got was from a designer and a developer. They teamed up on me and they said, “Nah, we are not going to design a form into this. Absolutely not. People hate forms. We’re not going to do forms.”
Then I said, “Yeah, but what if someone can’t use the phone? What if someone is shy to use the phone? What about that?” And if you do that, you make people feel very unloved like they don’t care enough about us to give us a form. They just expect us to call in?
>> AMBER: Yes. I think it is about giving people multiple options. A phone is good for some people, but for other people it is not.
Laney is here. I just saw she asked a question.
>> ANNE: Cool!
>> AMBER: How useful do you think friendly competition is? Can you find the most accessible sites in the sector – maybe even their competitors – and remind the team that they want to be leaders, role-models, ahead of the pack, instead of behind. Do you think that is helpful?
>> ANNE: Very. Very helpful. Remember, do it from the positive side. In competition, of course you want to be the best. You want to be the best for your customer, not because you want to be the best company doing something. It is very easy to poo on other people’s heads.
I call it peepee marketing. [Laughing.] That absolutely is great.
>> AMBER: Someone else asked, “How can the value of accessibility be emphasized at a company with a low UX – user expense maturity – where UX is not valued and is simply viewed as “making it pretty?””
>> ANNE: That is a good one. So, are you saying a low UX doesn’t really matter, if the websites work? How should I interpret that? What kind of customers would they have? Do they expect conversion on their website?
What is conversion? This is the first thing you have to define. Someone here says, “UX is different from UI.” This is a whole other discussion. But if UI sucks, your UX sucks even bigger.
>> AMBER: Can we define UI for people who are not familiar?
ANNE:; UI is a user interface. It is how you actually navigate an app, or a site. If the navigation sucks, forget your user experience. I actually like that question about the importance of the interface or not. It is very hard to measure.
A screenreader is not a browser so you cannot measure screen readers. This is very important. Most people don’t realize it. I think it is one of first things you have to explain to your team. You can explain it in another way. It is also another example I have on my website. I think Paola can probably find it.
This is about contrast. It is like this bad smell in a store, right? You walking out of the store or jumping off a website is very often a very unconscious process. Let’s take a restaurant because I got this on the site. You can read it.
Let’s do the restaurant. You go to this restaurant, and the menu is really fancy and the chairs suck. Chances are, you are not coming back. Maybe you don’t even remember that the chair sucked. Or even worse, they have a problem with the sewer. There’s this smell. It is always there. It is not so bad that you want to run off, but you’re not going to come back. I can tell you that.
If someone proposes the same restaurant to you, you are going to go, “Nah. I will take another one.” Nine out of ten times, you won’t even remember why you are saying that. This happens to websites. So how important is conversion to you?
Joshua is saying something that I find very interesting. [Laughing.] Auto fix contrast issues. I don’t think you can automate contrast issues.
>> AMBER: Yeah. Browsers will be able to auto fix contrast issues with the new CSS update coming out. I don’t know much about this, to be honest. I would –
>> ANNE: What I know about contrast is my naivety in the beginning when I created my website. I thought, I want to do the best contrast in the world. I want to do white text on a black background. That is ten times A.
Someone said, “Man, that really sucks! It glares!”
>> AMBER: Too much contrast.
>> ANNE: Yes, too much contrast. Actually, contrast can be personal like Liz says. I am wondering if there is more arguments. People, do you have arguments that you need a good counter-argument for?
>> AMBER: If anyone has those, feel free to put them in. Deniv asked, “What is a good tool in Chrome or otherwise, to simulate various forms of colorblindness? So then they could take a screenshot and illustrate for the brand why it’s not working?”
One that I have used is Colorblindly which is a Chrome extension. It might have a Firefox version, too.
>> ANNE: Chrome has it built in, actually.
>> AMBER: Chrome has colorblindness simulation built in?
>> ANNE: Yes, but it is incredibly stinky to find. Would you like me to show you?
>> AMBER: Yes. Share your screen. Show us how to do that.
>> ANNE: Hang on. Here you go.
>> AMBER: Greg said it is buried in the Dev tools.
>> ANNE: Yes, buried! That’s the –
>> AMBER: This is why I love the meetups. I swear I learn something every time. Chrome is generally the browser that I use for work. I had no idea –
>> ANNE: Yeah. Okay, let’s first get an image here that has more color.
>> AMBER: So we have a mountain with a blue sky and a green background –
>> ANNE: Hang on. If it is an image popup, it is not good. I should be able to refresh this. This one is really nice to show. You go to your dev tools. Can you see that? Does that open for you?
>> AMBER: Yes, we can see it.
>> ANNE: Okay.
>> AMBER: Oh, wait. No. We can see that you opened. We can’t see dev tools. Do you can dev tools in a different –
>> ANNE: You don’t see dev tools? Hang on.
>> AMBER: Now we can see the dev tools.
>> ANNE: I hate to do this, because I always have to search and search and search and search to remember where it was. It is here at this terrible user interface. These three dots next to the cog wheel on the top right.
>> AMBER: OK.
>> ANNE: The you scroll down to “more tools.” Then you go down and then you go to “rendering.” Then you see in very small, unreadable font, which I have trouble enlarging. Here we go.
You can render all kinds of things. Emulate a focus page, enable automatic dark mode, media types . . . face indeficiencies, blurred vision. This is my daily life.
>> AMBER: Mine, too, if I don’t have my contacts in.
>> ANNE: OK. Colorblind.
>> AMBER: So you turned on . . . [inaudible at 1:19:24] I don’t know how to pronounce all of these. But various forms –
>> ANNE: Tritanopia.
>> AMBER: I had no idea this was here!
>> ANNE: I think it hasn’t been there very long.
>> AMBER: That is super cool.
>> ANNE: So you can –
>> AMBER: I wonder if this is in all Chromium browsers. It might be in Firefox, too, because they use the same underlying stuff.
>> ANNE: Probably. Let me check.
>> AMBER: I think. I might have just said something dumb! Firefox may not be a Chromium-based browser. Yep, someone corrected me! I said it, and I was like wait a minute, I don’t think that is right.
>> ANNE: I can’t find it that fast. That is because I have the weirdest form of dyslexia. If a screen has a certain way of ordering information, I am gone. I am out the window. I can’t.
So, would people like to see that again once more, now that I have enlarged this thing?
>> AMBER: Yeah, I think we saw it okay.
>> ANNE: OK.
>> AMBER: That worked out.
>> ANNE: All right.
>> AMBER: Thank you.
>> ANNE: More questions?
>> AMBER: Thank you. Let’s see. Joshua said, “I wish randomized IDs were more used for user entering forms like Twitter and amplied to all of the emojis slash sharing elements that surround it. When multiple tweets are shown, how do you know which one you are liking?”
I am guessing maybe in Twitter, they have ambiguous . . . I don’t know. I haven’t gone through Twitter with a screenreader. Maybe they are ambiguous. I don’t know –
>> ANNE: I think if he’s here. I cannot write in the chat for some reason. I can only write to hosts and panelists. I don’t know. Lazar, are you still here?
>> AMBER: I can look and see if Lazar is still here. Let’s see. No. He dropped out.
>> ANNE: He dropped out. Because Lazar told me he had to install a special app to use Twitter.
Okay, where are the questions? You can pick my brain. This is your chance people!
I will give you the worst metaphors in the world. [Laughing.]
>> AMBER: Do you feel like metaphors are probably one of the best ways, to sort of circle back to what you were saying, as far as creating arguments? Being able to draw parallels in that way is what works the best?
>> ANNE: Yes. That makes you able to relate. It goes in all kinds of directions. I work with quite a few blind people. Something a lot of people don’t realize about being blind actually, is that it is not so common that people don’t see anything at all. That the world is just dark.
>> AMBER: They might still be able to detect light and things like that.
>> ANNE: Yeah. Sometimes I have to explain to someone who is like . . . this is wording stuff. Let’s say someone is legally blind. Now, designers for example and developers neither realize that someone can’t see very well because he is diabetic or he has macular degeneration and he or she sees a big black spot or blotch, is going to enlarge the screen.
One of my friends enlarges to 300, almost 400%. Then suddenly on a big screen, you have the mobile view. This is something very few people realize. This is a great thing, because this is something you can show. You can actually really place something round in the middle of the screen, and make them navigate around a 200 to 400% enlarged screen.
I think once you understand that, you are becoming more conscious. This is why I always say what I am telling people is very affectus. When I go to a meeting, when I go on stage, one of the first things I say is, “You cannot unforget where I am telling you.”
>> AMBER: We do a lot of user testing for clients. We always allow them to join. We usually have them in a webinar setting, so they can’t leave.
>> ANNE: That is great.
>> AMBER: I feel like once they are able to watch a real user on their website . . . it is one thing to show them and do the metaphors and all that. I think that is all really good. That is a way to move them into being open to paying for user tech.
I feel like once they see what it is actually like for a real person, they can put a name and a face on it. The same thing for designers and developers. I know, Alex Stine and I did a workshop at Word Camp US and a bunch of people were coming up afterwards and they were just blown away. They are all web professionals at Word Camp US.
They were blown away, because they had never seen anyone with a screenreader go on a website. They were like, “Wow! Now I am thinking twice about everything I am doing, when I build my websites or my plugins or my themes or whatever that may be.”
>> ANNE: Yeah.
>> AMBER: I think it does make a difference for designers and developers. I know one thing. Having them watch, even if it is recorded talks or attending meetups or Ax Con which I know people are on the fence about. Ax Con is free and it has multiple tracks like core designers and developers and they have users who come there.
Even if you can’t have a custom user testing session for your team, having your team attend stuff like that is I think really helpful.
>> ANNE: Yeah.
>> AMBER: Just to expose them. We are at 11:32. I haven’t seen any more questions. Wait, I am lying. I minimized the thing. Let’s see what we can get through really fast in our last five minutes or so.
Richard said, “I know we asked for an accessible website, but we want it to look like this because we think it looks better.” Is that something that he hears?
>> ANNE: I’ve got one on my plate right now!
>> AMBER: You know what I do? I think this goes back to Laney’s finding other websites in their industry. A lot of times I will even find bigger brands. If you go to something like Apple dot com, you think they don’t know about conversion and optimization? There is not a million things moving all over that website.
>> ANNE: Yeah. That is a very good one because that is taking it from the positive side. The one that I have on my plate right now, I have this argument actually. I killed it because they said, “Yeah, well we have always had this design like that. It has to be that way.” But they actually had a lawsuit.
So I’m like, “OK, so do you want to be compliant or do you want to caress your designer and tell him how great he is? Because right now, what you’re saying to me is, I hate discrimination and Africans.”
>> AMBER: Yeah.
>> ANNE: That is so rude. That is incredibly rude. But that one hit home.
>> AMBER: When they heard you say that, they were like, “Wait a minute.”
>> ANNE: Yeah, that is like –
>> AMBER: Rude, yeah.
>> ANNE: This is what I mean. Sometimes there is no way to say it nicely. The methodology to get their competition and say, “Look, they are doing better.” I don’t know what it is like in the US. Here in Europe, the insurance companies, I can’t believe it. One of my friends is terminally ill. He is looking to change his insurance company and drop him last will and all of that stuff. He has a lot of money. He cannot navigate their websites.
So there has already been six insurance companies that missed out on a very lucrative customer, simply because he can’t navigate their website my keyboard.
>> AMBER: Tenika asked, “When working on web accessibility, how do you define and measure success as you complete each project?”
>> ANNE: That’s a nice one. I think that is one to chop up. When is the project at an end? Is that when you do the user testing? Is that when your tests go through, whether automated testing, that only covers like 30%? Still a lot, but only 30%. When is the end of a project? How successful was it?
Do you get to work with the SEO guys or the girls or with the team? Do they share with you, “Hey we have higher conversion on this, or this article is converting better because we have descriptive links or we suddenly see a raise in this or that.”
When do you start measuring that? The fact that it is a accessible is a success in itself.
>> AMBER: We always tell people – first of all, we are not lawyers. We never tell people that something is legally compliant. But we measure against WCAG, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. It is something we can measure against that is written out. I think you really have to define what it is.
I think we consider success to be no obvious WCAG failures on anything that we have built or assembled. Now there is content that gets imported in. [Laughing.] If we didn’t look at it, I can’t say anything about it. I think that is something you have to be careful about. I don’t know if you’re ever guaranteeing the accessibility of an entire website, if it is a very large website that you’ve imported old things with tags –
>> ANNE: Absolutely not.
>> AMBER: We like to think of success, too, for people that came to us because they are interested but they are not really sold. Knowing that we have created advocates, we have trained them so that they know how to maintain this moving forward. And what to look for, as they are building out their content. I think that is a big marker of success, too.
>> ANNE: Yeah.
>> AMBER: We have about eight more minutes So I’m going to try to get through because we got a bunch all of a sudden. This is going to be your lightning round. Someone said, “Do you have any advice for having conversations with external organizations or clients versus people on your team specifically? If the accessibly moves, you’re encouraging or in conflict with their company culture, or out of the job description of your contract there?”
>> ANNE: Ah. We could do an entire meetup on that topic. Really, it is a very good question. The advice to these external organizations for clients is you ask them, “What is your goal? What do you want to reach? Where do you want to be with your company in three or four years? Do you want to have more cut lines , more conversion, more this or that?”
Of course the answer is going to be yes. Then, you can explain to them, “Okay, but you can’t bake the cake and eat it, too.” So this is what it is going to take. Then you take the possibility route. This is why I call myself a possibility advocate, not just an accessibility advocate.
“Kill the bears on the road.” Give them the possibilities. Again, like the suggestion of compare them to the competition who is doing better or worse. I think that would be a good thing. If something is out of the job description of your contract, I think that is up to you whether you want to pursue and go higher up or talk to this person. Like, “Do you think I should talk to someone in a higher zone in that company? Do you think that is important enough?”
Then they don’t risk their job, and you just write a message or contact them and talk to them about this. No is the answer you already have.
>> AMBER: I think one thing about the job description is, one of the things we worked on doing was positioning ourself as accessibility being something we really care about. Even some of our older clients, in the beginning, we’re maintaining stuff we built for them, before we were accessibility focused.
We worked on communicating that, so they know when they come back to us, or they are like, “Okay, you have been maintaining and just doing updates, and now we want you to rebuild or add this new landing page,” that they wouldn’t be surprised when we started talking to them about accessibility. I think it is a little bit of a positioning.
You are a developer, and in the very beginning, when you are bringing on a new client, and having those contracts conversations, or it is a job and you are applying for a job, saying in the interview, “I really care about accessibility.”
So that later on down on road, you can be like, “I know this is not part of what you wanted me to do, but I noticed this, so I am flagging it for you.” They won’t be surprised, because you will have laid the foundation that I am someone who cares about accessibility.
>> ANNE: Yeah.
>> AMBER: Isaac said, “Creating accessible apps and sites are worth it. Can you share experiences on how agencies can convince clients to invest in accessibility for apps or sites, because implementing accessibility translates into man hours paid in development.” Again, another very big question in the last couple minutes –
>> ANNE: Yeah, this is a big question. It also depends on if the customer asks you to repair something that can’t be fixed. Or if they want you to start from scratch. I think there, you will have to take broader arguments.
Let’s do the scare tactics here. Not the US ones, but in Europe. In Europe, June 28th, 2025, is D Day. Do you know that? Web shops have to accessible and then people say, “Ha ha. Yeah, but not the small ones.” Yeah, the small ones, too, when they decide to add a new product to their store.
When it is going to be a fear argument at first . . . You say, “You know you’re going to have to be accessible. It is by law. People can actually fine you.” In Germany, this is happening with other stuff. This is the scare tactic. Then, take the scare tactic off the table, just like that and say, “Listen. If you do it now, if you do a relaunch of your app or of your site, and you do what we call the shift left movement – you draw in an accessibility consultant right from the start, before you even start writing your ideas on paper, you’re going to know that the cost for developing something that is accessible is not that much higher.”
In fact, if people would just learn to use semantic html, and accessible code, in a couple of years, it won’t cost anything extra because it is just part of the job.
>> AMBER: Yeah.
>> ANNE: Liz wants colorful Dutch expressions for “ugly visual noise.” [Laughing.]
>> ANNE: Just for fun. I think that can be our last question. Are there any colorful Dutch expressions for ugly visual design?
>> ANNE: Right now, there is not a Dutch one that comes to my mind. One of the funniest expressions to me ever, was a dear customer I had from the US. She said, “Oh Anne, have you seen that? That is just so fugly.”
>> AMBER: Fugly! [Laughing.]
>> ANNE: Fugly!
>> AMBER: Yes, that is a word that people in the US say.
>> ANNE: That was new to me. That was hilarious to me.
>> AMBER: Well, thank you everyone who came and hung out with us until the very end. We very much appreciate it. Thank you again, Anne. If anyone wants to reach out to you, what is the best place to follow up?
>> ANNE: If you want it to be quick, find me in a DM on Twitter. Follow me on Twitter and mention me if you can’t DM me because I am not following you. I always forget how that works.
The way not to do it is. To use LinkedIn. I suck at LinkedIn. So –
>> AMBER: Yes, if someone contacted me on LinkedIn, I would probably see it in about five months.
>> ANNE: Exactly. Same here. Shoot me an email. Shoot me a LinkedIn. My new site is going up in a couple of weeks. You can also book an introductory meeting with me through Calendly. They actually tested with keyboard, it is works. My friend Lazar says it works. If anyone has anything to say about the accessibility of Calendly, do it.
>> AMBER: Oh, yeah. I have thoughts. I think one stop is better. We don’t have time.
If we did not get to your question, please join the Facebook group. That is the best way to follow up between meetups. I will throw another link in the chat for that. We will see you back here soon.
We’re going to do a little wave and smile here at the end. Just because I need to not end the meeting until our transcript is done, in case anyone is relying on the transcript.
Thank you so much, Anne and thank you everyone.