There are a couple of areas in this online marketing thing that are hotly debated or sometimes misunderstood. One, though, that seems to always be shrouded in mystery is accessibility.
Fortunately, we have someone who has made it a personal crusade to learn all there is to know (and there’s a LOT!) about accessibility and clarify its requirements – and the reasons behind them.
Kim Krause Berg has long been our go-to person for any accessibility questions. Do we always like the answers she provides? That’d be a resounding “no”. Because it’s never as simple as we thought.
But she invariably provides us with the sort of guidance we need to help make a site truly accessible. She lives and breathes this stuff, because she takes it to heart. She understands the many facets of true accessibility (spoiler alert: it’s not just about vision-impaired users and their screen-readers).
Join us in our visit with Kim to discuss some aspects of accessibility with which you may not be familiar. There’s a transcript available below the video.
Transcript of DeepSEOCon’s Webinar: Website Accessibility with Kim Krause Berg
Steve 00:02: Hello, everybody, welcome to another episode of the DeepSEO Con Webinar Series. I’m Steve Gerencser and my partner up there is Doc Sheldon. This week, we have with us Kim Krause Berg, who is one of the more accomplished people in the accessibility space. She’s been doing this longer and better than anybody we know. This issue has continued to come up, and it will always continue to come up, because I think web developers don’t get it and that’s a shame. We’re at a point now where web developers not getting it is going to start costing clients money with lawsuits. So, we’re going to go ahead, take the lead and start off with where we are now and what we should be doing.
Kim 00:58: Well, before we jump in, I just want to clarify that I left consulting because people will say, can I hire you? I left consulting last May to work for Bank Mobile Technologies, which is what I wanted to do for the longest time so that it would give me a big leap forward into the backend, and development for accessibility. I think what people don’t realize is that it’s all mobile now and that includes accessibility for mobile, so I wanted to be there for that and now I’m there for that. In the past six months, I’ve learned a lot more, including the legal side, as well as the more the development side and what’s missing. Anyway, I just wanted to circle back there, before we move forward. I still have my two websites; CreativeVisionWebConsulting.com, just because it has a big fancy thing at the top saying “no longer for hire”, but I keep it there, just in case and because that’s where I’ve lived for a while. I also have TheUserIsOutThere.com, which I use as my own stockpile of resources and stuff that I refer to, and like the developers at work and stuff. The industry is and has exploded and I don’t know if that’s lawsuit-driven. That may be part of what’s happening. The other is that with the pandemic, people are home. I mean, like everybody’s at home. That includes disabled people, non-disabled people who might have had something else going on and are really happy to be working from home. Like if you have diabetes, or your eyesight is starting to go, or you’re getting older, or whatever, and you can still do your job from home, sometimes, accessibility affects that, too. Just using myself as an example, like I don’t have my super-duper glasses on, I don’t have my magnification text on and all the things that I wouldn’t want to do if I was sitting right next door, in an office with a 20-something-year-old. Accessibility, I think is misunderstood. That’s another reason why we’re always playing catch up, because we don’t even know who we’re developing for. We just saw in a discussion on Facebook, talking about manual testing versus automation, and that comes up every day, no matter where I go. Can you automate this? Or do you have to manually do this and to which, I’m going to say, manual testing, I mean, automation is the foundation and there are more and more tools for that. It just hit the news yesterday, Karl Groves, who was the inventor of Tenon and Matisse, Mortise, I’m sorry – Matisse was a horse. I had attended Mortise, our automated accessibility tools and Karl sold Tenon to Level Access. Level Access already has accessibility software tools and a really nice setup. They’ve combined resources and are probably going to see a lot more of that and that just enables more access to enterprise-level automation. Why is that important? Because we’re developing at the enterprise level now. It’s not just WordPress, it’s native apps and hybrid apps and code that I don’t understand, but that’s my world now. Can you automate that? Not always – it depends on how it’s coded in the back end.
Kim 05:45: Can you use it as a baseline, the automation or even the lighthouse? Yes, it’s an axe – I love Axe, which is an extension that can be in the browser. It does the first pass. The better tools will tell you where the error is, how many times that error appears on the page, how to fix it, and if you’re lucky, it’ll give you a link to the WCAG guideline with the example code. That’s free and easy to find. These tools, like Axe, are free, which leads me to the other thing, that everybody says, Oh, it’s hard to learn, it’s going to take me years, and it’s going to cost a lot of money. I didn’t have to pay for anything until I went for certification, and then it cost me something. But, for the first 20 years, as I was learning this, I just went online and learned it. So accessibility is great if you want to learn it, and you have the passion to learn what you need to learn. The finer points are definitely with the certification and better testing. But I just wanted to clear that up. It’s like, people will say, Oh, it’s so hard. It doesn’t have to be, just starting out.
Doc 07:13: If I could ask something again, Kim… what I have been assuming, what these tools like Axe and Wave are for, is to find issues. But I have yet to find any tool that will fix those issues. They’ll point them out to me, and they might point me to the resource that will help me fix them, but that’s going to be a manual process at that point. Is that fairly accurate?
Kim 07:39: Yes, none of those tools will fix them for you and that’s why you have to understand what the guideline is telling you and that’s not always easy, either. Perfect examples are touch targets. If you read the information about touch targets, you’ll completely lose your mind. There are a lot of examples and a lot of guidelines. Is it 44%, is it 40%, is it this, is it that? And if it’s that, then how do you make it so? What’s the focus state – you know, all that stuff. It’s like you said, it will tell you what the issue is, it will point you to the guideline and it will even give you examples for help If you look hard enough in the WCAG guidelines. But it will not fix it for you, you’ve got to do that. And that’s easier said than done, even with WordPress. And like WordPress, they try to help you. It’s easier with the web but if you get into native app development and custom code, that introduces a whole new set of things that you have to think about. I got a lot of pushback on that. Oh, you’re not a developer! That’s true, but I also have to help them and I have to guide them to where the solution might be, depending on the issue that we’re facing.
Doc 09:21: Well, I know, I ran Axe on one of our sites this morning just before this, and it did a nice job of pointing out issues and offering me the WCAG references on a number of them. But like you say, I mean, you feel like you need to go back to school when you start trying to interpret some of those guidelines.
Kim 09:42: Right. And it’s color contrast. It sounds so easy, but then somebody is going to say; Well, what level must your color contrast be tagged, is it tag A, double-A or triple-A? You won’t believe how many hours I spent just discussing what level of color contrast should be met. I strongly recommend getting that in writing and written down in requirements so that there isn’t ever any question as to what level you are coding for and testing for. That’s actually something, a hard-earned lesson. Requirements are really important to get down when you’re talking about anybody about what you are promising. The manual testing, like the manual keyboard testing, that can be automated. For the web and following the DOM with some software, but then again, if something is missed in that navigation, as it’s going through, or as you’re tabbing through, how do you fix that?
Doc 11:03: Well, something else that I have noticed, looking at different tools on the contrast issues; I’ll have one tool that will say, yes, you’re fine, and another tool that will say, no, you’re failing. For the same standard level, you’re like, I’m going for double-A, one says you’re good and one says you’re failing, and who do you believe?
Kim 11:26: We actually do compare the two. Sometimes, it’s just a really fine difference, that foreground and background color testing. Interestingly enough, I mean, I will even take the darn thing outside in the sunlight, because even if it passes the color contrast test; if Kim with her really messed up eyesight on a sunny day, can’t still read it, then we have a problem. If it’s going to affect me, it’s going to affect a lot of other people, and this leads me to my other testing tip which is to go outside and play with your toy. Whatever it is that you’re developing, I always say developers never get to play with it, whatever it is that they’re creating. They have this set of requirements which are in this little cube. They’re hunched down and they’re in the code, but they don’t get to take it out and experiment with it and use it in real-life scenarios. With accessibility, usability, all that human experience comes into play. And we don’t understand who we are developing for until we actually go out and test what we’re building and what we’re creating.
Steve 12:52: We’ve looked at a lot of this stuff at different levels. I know you’re working in enterprise-level stuff right now, but what are we supposed to be looking at for the smaller guys, the mom and pops, little brick and mortars, who really don’t have the budget to barely have a website, let alone all the testing and to make sure they’re compliant? What kind of exposure are they looking at, if they’re not?
Kim 13:18: For a really long time, that was my bread and butter; the smaller websites, and in my mind, they deserved this equal chance – people access, the same as everybody else. Then again, there are tools and websites and themes that are ready for them. There are even packages out there. Like I used to say, I would never use Wix or some of the other ones, but you know what – if that gets your foot in the door, start there. More and more, they are becoming accessible, and they’re coming out with accessible themes. My daughter is getting married, and I thought this was really cool. She found this package deal, I never even went and found out who the company is, or find out who they were but they’ll give you the website, they’ll mail out the invitations, save the date, the events, and all that stuff in one place. The website is beautiful and I didn’t even check to see if it was accessible. I should have, because you know, who I am and what I do. But I was so happy that it gave her independence and she doesn’t have any money when they were getting married, but there are places where they can at least get started. A lot of them that I worked with just put an accessibility statement at the bottom saying: I’m doing my best, here’s where I know I’m not maybe accessible. If you have a problem, let me know. Then they can seek some help. Like I said, learning about it – the information’s out there and it doesn’t cost anything. What I found was that sometimes people would say, can you point me in the right direction, and I would give them the direction to go, they would follow and it didn’t cost me anything. It didn’t really cost them anything, either.
Doc 15:36: I was in a Facebook discussion the other day. It started out talking about GDPR and the fact that the Commission in Europe has been rather forgiving, if the company was making an honest effort, they were in the process. They have not been beating people to death, because they haven’t met the latter of the law. They’re looking at efforts in march to see that you’re making an honest and productive effort. Somebody said, yes, it’s the same with accessibility. I said, no, first of all, there are two fronts to that battle; one is the enforcement and fining, but the other is the lawsuits. In my eyes and from what I’m seeing, the lawsuits are a much greater threat. They seem to be increasing exponentially as the ambulance chasers procreate. They’re going out, and they’re actually looking for the handicapped user, asking them to go to this site that the handicapped user has never heard of before, just so they can get them on the bill as one of the plaintiffs and that to me, it’s unforgivable, but it is what it is. When you’re talking about a civil suit like that, I don’t think there’s going to be any ability to depend upon honest effort getting you any kind of favor. It might be with this judge, and your next judge might just chop your legs off. Does that ring with what you are seeing?
Kim 17:10: It depends on where you are in the District Court, seeing that they’re getting smarter more and more. What’s happening as the judges are figuring out that there are specific law firms with serial filers. So it’s the same law firm, the same people, they’re filing all these lawsuits, and they’re not even disabled. They haven’t even used the website, they just ran a tool and said, Oh, they’re failing and we’re going to slap them with a lawsuit. There’s more across, at least in the US, they know who to look for and the judges are like, we’re not. Precisely, I think some states are starting to push back legally against this. Where the lawsuits are increasing or it’s with the overlays because an overlay is; it takes away the control of the user and I’m sure we’ve talked about this. There’s actually another case, it just went through and it was Western Pennsylvania, against the company using an overlay. I think why they got in some trouble too and what’s happening is the National Association for the Blind is saying, overlays are discrimination. They take away our control, and our ability to use a website for the way we have our settings set up. Therefore, you can’t believe all the hype. An overlay company will say, if you use our overlay, you’ll never be sued, that’s the learning and that’s actually one of the leading causes.
Doc 19:00: There was somebody in that discussion who is supposedly an attorney who specializes in usability, accessibility issues and lawsuits, that was saying; as long as you have that disclaimer at the bottom of your homepage that you know you’re not meeting the standards, but here are those places that were deficient, you’re covered. I mean, which school did you go to?
Kim 19:22: No, there’s no legal protection from an accessibility statement ever and I doubt there ever will be. All that does is just to show transparency and it knows that you’re making an effort, but the one thing you can never do is to say well, I promised to do such and such by such and such date because they will circle around and make sure that you did it even If you didn’t, no! It’s just that there’s nothing wrong with making an effort and showing that you care, but you have to mean it and people will know when you’re not. The other thing is that if you are facing a lawsuit, the judge is going to make you defend yourself by hiring, usually, a certified accessibility specialist and that’s going to cost you some money. So there is no reason to cut corners, and not put in the effort. I don’t think that small mom and pops are a target as much as like, Hilton has an overlay or they did have an overlay and like some of the bigger corporations where you know you’re going to make some money if you win a lawsuit. Why in the world would they ever allow a script, I don’t get it, because they can afford to pay somebody to actually do the accessibility for them.
Steve 21:00: All right, let’s take some good examples. For us, we’re currently working with a company called Duda, that does web platforms, very good company. I like the websites they build, but they also offer overlays as part of their internal; here’s an app, here’s an overlay, and boom, you’re good. What would be an approach for somebody like us to come to them and say, hey, look, that’s really neat that you’ve done this, but it’s not right. If you are going to approach them and say, how do we fix this, so we don’t need the overlays. I mean, I’m perfectly fine with firing up a conversation with them and shaking them because we all know some of the people who are there now.
Kim 21:50: Back to the lawsuits, there’s actually one, very recent, that just came out, and I have the whole case. That’s an overlay one and there’s more. There were also a couple of lawyers who specialize in it. If you want, we can back that up with factual information, not philosophy notes, and everybody is going to want more. So prove it to me that we will get sued. Well, okay, there’s a whole lot of cases and it’s growing.
Steve 22:26: I mean, we make an effort with our company to make it as successful as we can out of the box. I know we’re not always 100% successful, it’s hard, but at least we know and we try. The problem starts to happen when we start handing it off to the client and if the client doesn’t, if the tools aren’t built for the client, it’s automatic, like in WordPress, it would be so… we’ve actually started to build a plugin that forces you to add the different attributes to an image before you can save it to the website. Right now, they’re optional and it would be so easy for WordPress – Automattic – to just put in a switch that says, you can’t save this without these attributes. Then you have to make a conscious choice to fill them with garbage because you can’t not fill them. I’m saying this because most people, especially clients are not going to, when you upload an image, they’re not going to type in all the attributes and the title, [Doc: they’re not even going to remember it], they’re just going to hit save and then place it at full size instead of thumbnail and all the bad things that they do. The fact that these larger companies aren’t being more proactive with this, I mean, is it going to take somebody suing Automattic to make this happen? Because in the end, they’re the creator of the platform.
Kim 23:56: It might. I hate to say that. In my mind, that’s a hard one. I get lazy too. I mean you’re entering your old text when you put in an image in Medium. In Twitter, they’re like, put the alt text in there. When I was playing with PowerPoint, it figured out what the image was, and put it in. It actually started to figure it out and I thought, wow, that’s really cool. So yes, we can be lazy for a little while longer, but eventually, that stuff is going to happen automatically. Sometimes I will throw the SEO card out and say, well, okay, the alt text is a really good place to enter some keywords or at least, fortify your pages’ SEO and they’re like, okay, I can do that now. Sometimes you have to give them another reason other than accessibility. The other thing is that people will say, well, I’m not blind, and then that leads to a whole other discussion because accessibility isn’t just for blind people. It’s way more than that.
Steve 25:21: I remember the conversations we had in the 90s when we first started building websites, and even back then people talked about accessibility. The answer always was, how was a blind person going to use the internet? Well, now they can.
Kim 25:37: Now they can. Did you see the Netflix show, The Dark, or whatever it is, for the blind? It was really cool, and of course, I’m not going to remember the name of it right now. She’s blind, she’s an actress pretending to be a blind person, but she’s using assistive tech, with her cell phone to get around and get around some emergency situations, all kinds of really neat things. It’s another step forward in communicating to people that that tech is out there. I was just watching something that I’ve also seen but trust me, I see so much stuff every day. What we’re talking about with WordPress, and Duda on themes and all that stuff. We are so behind the eight-ball with what’s being developed out there as far as the ability to include more and more people in the digital space, with all kinds of different ways of accessing the web, things that we haven’t even dreamed of. One example that you sent me with the animation that the developer was doing, he wasn’t wrong to want to try to help. He was giving a visual example and it was really cool. For people like me who need that visual, I’m always bugging people to draw me a picture. I don’t understand what you’re trying to tell me until you show me, give me the visual. That’s how a lot of us process, and he was doing that. What he didn’t understand was that screen reader users will never see it. It had no captions and it was animated. There was a whole subset of people who would never see what he was trying to do. He was trying to help and assist, but….
Steve 27:39: Just to backfill this a little bit for some people, he was talking specifically about feature listing pages for products. If you’ve got different levels of products and using a mouseover like a tooltip, where you mouseover the feature, and not only did it instead of just giving you a little text blurb of this is what the feature is, it was actually an animated GIF, showing you the feature. It was very cool.
Kim 28:03: That was brilliant, I thought.
Doc 28:04: But it creates more accessibility issues.
Steve 28:10: It creates a whole lot of other sets of issues. I was really surprised that somebody even asked in that thread; How is this for accessibility? And every single answer just screamed wrong. All the answers were wrong for as long as you include alt text, you’re fine. But in mobile, that doesn’t work because you don’t have a hover in mobile. So It has to be a click and then that adds a whole lot of other levels of issues with accessibility because now you’ve got 80 clicks in the middle of a page. How do you tab through that, or cycle through it, as somebody who’s using a screen reader; Is that creating a nightmare on the other side? I wonder if we’re not getting to the point where we’re almost back to where we were in the early days where you’re coding for specific browsers, where you’re developing websites for specific people because of these issues, because there are so many cool things that we can do that are amazing for 85% of the people out there.
Doc 29:11: Well that brings up another question. Kim, do you remember back then when our mobile sites were m-dot, rather than being responsive. What is the feasibility of having your standard, normal perception and sight and then if you have a vision, follow this link? If you have various issues, different levels of site, is that even a legal solution or does that create more vulnerability by not making the main primary site usable for everybody?
Kim 29:52: It’s discrimination. Anytime you make somebody work harder than their neighbor that doesn’t have a disability, you’re automatically discriminating against them. That’s the basic rule of thumb and it’s a whole… it took me a long time before I really got that through all of my entire gene pool. It’s like, wait a minute, I see what’s happening there and it happens everywhere. Somebody just said; send out a reminder not to put Christmas decorations on handrails. Who else would do that? So somebody in a wheelchair, or who has trouble walking or whatever, that presents a hurdle in a bit, you know what I mean? We don’t think like that. We are always, I mean, that’s crazy. The other thing is, airports or airlines that promised to have a wheelchair and he gets there, and they’ve lost some or there isn’t anything available, or whatever. You can scream and yell, but that’s discrimination, they need to always be ready for somebody who needs the additional extra.
Steve 31:16: We just experienced, I’m sorry, we just experienced something like this today. My wife blew out her knee yesterday. She is on crutches, and can hardly move and you see the world so much differently in just that instant. Today, we went to the VA clinic, because she’s injured and she’s military. We got to the VA clinic, she’s ahead of me, because she’s doing pretty decent on the crutches, and I was getting stuff out of the car, and there’s a button on the wall to open the doors. When you push that button, those doors open, and you’re now on the wrong side of those doors because the buttons are on the other side of the door. The doors open, and you can’t get back far enough without going off the curb to get through the open doors. There’s no ramp there and she’s just standing on the other side of the door like; this makes no sense. But legally, they’ve actually covered themselves because it’s all there. It’s just set up backwards. That made me think of what we’re talking about tonight and everything else that’s going on. I would love to see that we’ll start getting more developers to get that beat into their brains that this needs to be just as important on your to-do list as the hero image, you’re going to split your big splash image at the top of the page. It’s got to be just as important as your navigation. If it’s baked in at the basic level of the website, then you don’t have to go back and fix it. You don’t have to.
Kim 32:57: Hey Doc.
Doc 32:58: Just like SEO, it’s best done at the front end, because it’s a whole lot more work to try to rework stuff.
Kim 33:03: The reason why we don’t have m-dots anymore, or any of the other weird ideas is that it’s a universal design. Universal Design is inclusive, anybody can use it. More creative people are thinking like that, like how do I solve a problem so that anybody can use it. Even those ramps on sidewalks that they built in the ones that were for handicapped people initially, well, we’re all using that stuff and we love it. There are endless examples of how something was created for somebody with a disability and we’re all using it.
Steve 33:43: That was what we stopped to talk about and the ramp is in front of the doors where it belongs. The problem is, from the parking lot, you have to walk out to the middle of the parking lot. Walk behind all of the cars, before you can get to the spot where the ramp is because that was the only ramp, there are no multiple ramps scattered throughout or whatever. It’s amazing that from an able-bodied perspective, even though when I take my glasses off, the whole screen just vanished. You don’t think about it and how it affects the people who don’t have the same level of ability as you and one of the things Doc and I decided to do with this webinar series – every single video is going to come with a full transcript.
Kim 34:28: If I promote it without having a transcript, my friends will have my head. I am going to look at that.
Steve 34:40: I’m sure it’s going cost you $10 to have somebody do a good transcript. If you can’t afford the $10 to do a good transcript. How else can you do anything else?
Kim 34:51: Isn’t that your marketing investment?
Steve 34:55: Yes, think about all the good SEO It does because now Google is going to go to your page and say nice video but look at all this beautiful text. So, again we’re back to SEO and ulterior motives and other ways we can make this palatable to clients. I think we need to start, from my perspective at least, we need to stop telling the clients, they can have the $300 website. You just can’t if you want to, and I just turned somebody to Wix yesterday. They’re like, well, we don’t have any money, we got $400 or $500 to spend on websites. Well, we can’t help you, go to Wix, go to Squarespace, go to one of these other builder websites that will handle all of that for you and DIY because we are getting to the point where you need to have a minimum budget to get in the door.
Kim 35:49: It’s more and more expensive to have a website. Even from hosting and building, It’s a different world and it’s not just for accessibility, but expenses are going up everywhere and that’s the nature of the beast.
Steve 36:12: Yes, I agree. I’m trying to look at my notes here and we’ve been through almost everything that I had on my notes. I would like to, if you’re up for it, make this a reasonably regular show that we do because it’s important. I’d like to dig a little deeper into other areas that we can all do better as developers and as marketers to be more inclusive and to make sure that we provide a better experience because if we have to give up a couple of little flashy things once in a while, I’m okay with that. I mean, Flash itself wasn’t incredibly accessible for anything, but everybody did it because it was awesome. We learned that it was only good for a couple of things and after that, it quickly lost its value.
Kim 37:07: There are workarounds for everything. I keep it because I do more mobile work now, you know, mobile apps and it’s something like a modal. SEO has its own issues with them, but and tool tips. What people don’t realize is you go through all that effort to put up a tip or a modal and screen readers don’t even know it’s there. So all that help and all information that is completely invisible to anybody who’s listening. It’s not just blind people who are listening, I’m having stuff read to me all the time so that I can multitask. The other thing people don’t think about is we’re getting better and better at the ability to do two things at once.
Steve 37:59: Well, we need to reach out to Streamyard, Doc, because even here on this platform we’re using right now for this show, with Doc having his resolution set, where he has his set and his screen at 125%. When he clicks to share his screen button, the button that actually says share is down off the bottom of the screen and there is no way to bring it in somewhere.
Doc 38:20: Yes, you can’t zoom out, if it does, it won’t change. So that modal is locked out of my vision range.
Kim 38:30: Is that the viewport? That might be a viewport setting in your header.
Doc 38:36: Yes, I haven’t looked at the code on the page, quite possibly, but if it is, it’s an accessibility issue.
Kim 38:44: The rule of thumb around that is you should be able to expand or magnify up to 200% without losing the integrity of the page. That’s the guideline. There’s a viewport that you can put in the header, up where the title and the meta and all that stuff goes. Most people either turn it off, or they say no, you’re not allowed to magnify and if you can’t magnify, then that button is going to be in your face.
Doc 39:11: It will be another violation. It comes to mind. I could imagine an instance down the road where somebody has a small business site up, they get hammered in a lawsuit and maybe they get taken for 100 grand that they can find a way but they can’t afford to lose. Now, they just paid 12 grand to some developer to build them this website and they say, I want to get at least 50,000 of this back now because I’m going to sue my developer. So at some point in time, there’s likely to become some downstream vulnerability to developers, possibly potentially even hosts that allow certain functions that obviate accessibility.
Kim 40:07: Maybe, except that WCAG is not law.
Doc 40:14: No
Kim 40:15: They’re all guidelines. So if somebody says, well, you’ve got to pay fines, and you’ve broken all these rules then we’re in a wiggle room space there. Because, as I said, the only time anything is legally binding is, depending on the country, because, like Canada and UK, they enforce it and also in a couple of others. Section 508 dot-govs and dot-eus. But your mom and pops and their web designer and developer… People have asked me that before and I said well, first of all, you’re an LLC. You’re protected but no, you’re not breaking the law, just because that button is in their face, and it’s not going away that is not a law. If somebody can’t hear something, again, you’re not breaking the law. You’re just being a pain in the ass.
Steve 41:21: I’m glad that’s not illegal.
Kim 41:31: I think what sets people apart are those who care and those who don’t. Some people are like why do you care so much about accessibility? You’re perfectly fine and to me, it was tied in with usability. It’s always has been about the user experience, and caring about that. It goes into Universal Design, and inclusive design. The part of being human is you care about what it is that you’re delivering but if you make promises that you can’t keep like some companies do, then go after him and some people are – with the overlays and stuff like that.
Steve 42:19: Okay, and again, we’re still on no overlays, or overlays are bad.
Kim 42:23: Yes. Overlays are bad and there are some plugins too and widgets. I stopped using them because they take away; the example I use, or the analogy is to imagine you walk into a store, and you have to rearrange every aisle. Everything comes down to your level, you widen the aisles, all the things that you have to do to increase the size of the text on Captain Crunch, and all that stuff, before you can even purchase anything. That’s what these widgets do. Most people have their settings, especially on mobile, iOS, and Android. Their settings are already done by them. They made it so that they can walk through the store and the moment you take away and override their settings, that’s a problem. That’s really an issue.
Steve 43:23: I see that issue because I run my phone, not quite in dark mode, but I have the light turned way down. The bright light bothers me – it gives me a headache – and I can tell when an app has taken control of that. As soon as it fires up, it’s right in your face. I’m like, no, that’s not what I want.
Doc 43:45: Okay, do you mean like how TV commercials automatically jump volume 35% above what your setting was during the commercial?
Kim 43:53: No, that’s really weird that they do that.
Doc 43:57: They have been doing that for 50 years that I know of.
Steve 44:00: I would have thought that a smart TV manufacturer would have just made a volume control that sets a max and no matter how loud the program is, it never gets above this point.
Doc 44:12: That wouldn’t be a difficult circuit.
Steve 44:15: No, it would not be difficult to do – yet, none of us seems to have done it. So well, Kim, we’re on about 45 minutes here. I want to give you a minute or two if you want to talk about anything you’ve got going on, or what’s going on with where you’re at, to share with people to know what’s going on in your world that is important.
Kim 44:40: I’m torturing everybody where I work. Yes, Bank Mobile – well, formerly known as Bank Mobile, now it’s BNTX but anyway, I’m considered the SME which is really cool. I know the accessibility and I get to work with the developers. It was really cool when it was just the web, but now that I’m working on the hybrid app, and that’s where it’s coded to work for iOS and Android. That’s a whole new world for me and it’s fun, but it’s challenging. The developers are like, what do we do? And I’m like, I don’t know, I am not a developer. It’s the people who want to learn and want to change the culture there and anywhere – that’s really, really rewarding and there’s more of that. Back in the 90s, when I was in UX, and QA testing, the thing was, we want to be like Amazon, and everybody would copy Amazon. Amazon has so many accessibility people now and it’s not even funny and they’re hiring more. They’re 20 years ahead of everybody else and I’ve listened with screen readers to see what they’re up to. They’re not perfect, but there’s a lot of stuff that we’ve got that we can still learn and how things are pronounced like the word live, is pronounced live. I mean, all kinds of stuff. So to me, the fun part is every single day, there’s another challenge with accessibility, and learning what it’s like to listen to the world, versus what it’s like to interact as a marketer and SEO and its usability and visually with everything. The other thing that I wanted to say was that the Search Engine Journal has changed my article writing for 2022. It used to be every other month. Now I’m writing about accessibility every month so if that doesn’t tell you that accessibility, marketing, SEO and usability is getting important, I don’t know what does so. I’m really happy to see that there’s more than five of us who care.
Steve 47:14: It’s where it’s going to have to be now and It’s like everything else in our industry. We are a young industry, even now. We have to grow up and the world has been growing up, whether we will or not. So if you want to continue in this industry, you at least have to have a passing knowledge of what’s going on, at all points. You can tunnel in and be specific about one thing, but you still have to have your fingers in a little bit of everything to be really good at your job.
Kim 47:46: I’m always reading everything. That’s why I startled The User Is Out There and I’m like where do I put this stuff? Because I can’t remember it all and there’s some really good information out there.
Steve 48:00: Outstanding. Okay, thank you very much, as always.
Kim 48:07: Thank you for inviting me.
Steve 48:08: We’re looking forward, maybe we could bring in a couple of your co-workers or something on the next one. If we can get more people arguing with each other, it’s always good.
Doc 48:23: It would be an interesting exercise to have a developer who has started getting his feet wet, working with these aspects, and getting to hear their point of view, because it’s easy to tell the developer, okay, this has to do that. It’s not always that easy for them to just push a button and make it happen. They may have to go through 1300 lines of code and make 72 changes to make that one thing happen. So I think some understanding on both sides of the aisle is going to be important too.
Kim 48:57: The other thing is that some accessibility people are like, it’s got to be done this way, and no other way and I’m not going to budge because I’ve never operated that way. I’m just like, okay, well, let’s find a solution and like an H1 tag – yeah, you only want one but there are instances where more than one is necessary and a lot of pages don’t even have one at all so people fight about it.
Doc 49:33: Thank you so much, Kim.
Kim 49:38: Thank you.
Steve: Okay, everybody, we’ll see you on our next show.
Kim 49:40: Bye-bye. Thanks.
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