Advotalk: Friendlier, Useable, More Accessible Websites

What does it mean to make your website accessible? Compliant? Just plain easier to use?
This AdvoTalk will break down easy-to-implement practices that will make your site friendlier for everyone and help you look like a star at your nonprofit.

This conversation with Sarah Durham and Amanda Luker took place on Wednesday, October 16 at 3pm ET, 12pm PT and was invitation only for Advomatic clients.



Sarah Durham: Amanda, just to ground us in a little bit of context in your background here, I’d love you to just start by telling us a little bit about how you got interested in this topic and how it caught your attention.

Amanda Luker: Well, when I first started working at Advomatic, I had a coworker named Aaron Winborn who was sort of a mentor to me and to a lot of us developers. And he ended up getting ALS and he slowly kind of declined, his health declined. He lost the ability to…a lot of times type really proficiently. So, there were times that he would use a headset and he would talk to code and I got to see him do that and I thought it was really interesting and it made me really think about the ways that we interact with websites, especially if you don’t have certain capabilities, like being able to use a keyboard. He passed away a few years ago, but his legacy…he actually has like a…there’s an award that’s given out every year in the Drupal community for community service in his name.

Amanda Luker: So that was probably the first exposure I had. And then a few years ago I went to a really great event in Minneapolis where a company called WeCo set up little stations around an office and users with different abilities would kind of show an audience how they interact with websites. So I got to see people who were using braille readers, people who were using styluses to tap web pages. I saw a blind user trying to get through a carousel and they just couldn’t get through it and it was really frustrating. So it showed like a real variety of different needs that people have and how it’s…yeah, it’s such a…wide array of problems that have to be solved. So that’s what…those are two things that kind of woke me up to the issue.

Sarah Durham: Yeah. And as you and I have been talking about this, and I think in those examples too, it sort of highlights that the word accessibility has become shorthand for a very big tent. It’s a word that’s used in a lot of different contexts. So how do we really define accessibility? What does that really mean for all the people who are calling in today who work in nonprofits?

Amanda Luker: Sure, yeah. So for me, accessibility is about giving people a variety of ways to experience content. And similarly, it’s also about having kind of like a seamless experience on a website so it’s not necessarily about having a physical disability. It’s about making the experience good for not just people with disabilities, but for everyone who’s using it. You only notice when something’s broken and you can’t get through it. You don’t notice when it’s a good, clean, easy experience. You could call that universal design a way to incorporate accessibility from the very beginning of your project. You’re thinking about user experience and you’re thinking about not introducing things that are going to make it harder for people with or without disabilities to use.

Sarah Durham: And when you and I had our first conversation about this, one of the things you said to me was something like: accessibility can also be- how easy is it to fill out a form on your phone? Or, how easy is it if you’re working in a cafe and you’re trying to watch a video to get the content that you need from that video without having to listen to something loud that might be disruptive? So it’s not only I think about the unique abilities or disabilities that particular users might have, it’s also about thinking about the variety of contexts and unique ways that people want to interact with your content, right? But not everybody is going to be sitting in front of a desktop with the sound up and high degree of comfort interacting with your content in whatever way I want them to.

Amanda Luker: Yeah. I was just thinking about this today when I was trying to get a flu shot and I had to go onto my health insurance website to get my insurance number and all this stuff. I was just thinking about how frustrating it was for me to go through that experience and how-

Sarah Durham: As a developer.

Amanda Luker: Exactly. So all those things kind of feed into the universal design experience that you build from the beginning of the project.

Sarah Durham: So in its formal application, when we talk about accessibility though, there are levels and I’d like you to tell us a little bit about what those levels mean. Like for an organization that is committed to making a site that is really accessible, how do they know if the site is accessible? What does that, what does that look like?

Amanda Luker: Sure. So everybody’s probably heard of the ADA, the Disabilities Act and the nonprofit- or I’m sorry- the government equivalent is like the Section 508 part of it, which is the law that regulates website accessibility. The guidelines for that are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. You’ll probably see this acronym if you research it: WCAG. Within the WCAG there’s three levels of accessibility: A, AA, and AAA. At Advomatic our baseline is AA. That’s kind of like the solid, like this is what your website should be. And in fact, I think that’s…if you’re making for it, for example, a government website, it has to be AA. That’s part of Section 508. So that’s something that we ensure with every website that we build. AAA gets a little bit more rigorous about things like color contrast and also about video and audio content and making sure all of those are transcribed and captioned. That’s what makes it a little bit more stringent than AA. You may have noticed that there have been some lawsuits of late. There’s…I think it was last year … there were a bunch of art galleries that had been challenged for not having accessible websites. And then also a few weeks ago, the Domino’s Supreme Court Case said that people could sue them, sue businesses for not having accessible websites. So that’s another reason that people should be paying attention to this and ensuring that it’s up to the ADA standards.

Sarah Durham: So there’s a piece about this that is about it just being the right thing to do. And then there’s also a piece about this that’s about true compliance. Compliance with the law and then setting a site on a level that you think is appropriate and striving for that. So, when I came into Advomatic, one of the things that- I was surprised was that this idea of getting to AA compliance on every site that we build or support is just kind of baked in to all the work. But I think it’s a really good question for those of you who are on this call who don’t work with Advomatic, it’s an important question for you to ask. The people that you do work with on your website is- are they aware of these different levels? Is your site compliant with those levels? And, and if it’s not, how can you move your site to be very clear and deliberate about the level of accessibility that your community deserves and how you’re gonna how you’re gonna move to it.

Amanda Luker: I was just going to say, I recently looked it up and 20% of the population has some sort of disability. So that is a, it’s a pretty big chunk. And like I said, we’re not just talking about people with disabilities, we’re talking about situational accessibility too. 

Sarah Durham: And are there particular areas that you have found nonprofits need to pay particular attention to? Any sticky areas that nonprofits tend to run into? First and foremost, when they start to focus more on accessibility?

Amanda Luker: For nonprofits, one thing that we talk about a lot is making sure that forms are accessible because forms are one of the key ways that your audience, supporters, donors potentially interact with your site. So making sure that those are accessible is really important. Also I think more and more with video content- we encourage having transcribed videos because not just for disability reasons, but also, say you want to read the content of a video and you’re not in a place where you can listen to it, like on a train or something like that. It’s always good to have. What I like to say is that it’s creating multiple ways to experience content in that way. You’re really giving your users every opportunity they can to interact with you.

Sarah Durham: I love the definition, the kind of informal definition is accessibility is about creating multiple ways to interact with your organization. Yeah. And one of the things that I was interested- when you talked about transcription earlier, one of the things I was interested in about that in particular is transcribing content. If you have a video on your website or you have a podcast on your website, it’s not only useful because it gives people a different way to get that information, it’s also really useful for search engine optimization. I teach a workshop in planning and managing content. And, and one of the things that surprises many people in nonprofits to learn is that a lot of your organic search is determined by how much new content you post on your website every month. And the goal in terms of getting attention of the spiders- Google spiders- that crawl through your site and look for new content. Your goal should be to post 3000 indexable words a month or more. Like if you post over 3000 new indexable words, you say to Google: Hey, we’re posting a lot of great new content all the time. And one of the awesome ways to do that is to transcribe things. When we transcribe this video, not only will we make it easier for somebody who might not be able to listen to the video to get the content, but we’ve also just, we will probably post something like 9,000 indexable words of content on the website, which happens to be good for search. So it’s really, really a good practice for a lot of reasons to transcribe things and it’s very easy to do for those of you who’ve never done it. There are two tools I recommend. There is a free…well I don’t know if it’s free, but it’s insanely cheap. It might be free- app and service called Temi: T, E, M, I. Maybe I’ll, I think it’s I’ll just chat that out. And Temi is a digital service which can take any kind of recording and MP4 file and MP3 file and audio and it’ll transcribe it and it comes back to you almost immediately. The good thing about Temi is it’s very fast. The bad thing about Temi is it’s a computer and so it picks up a lot of mistakes. There’s another transcription service that I tend to use more for things that really matter and it’s called and I just chatted that out to you., you send a file in and human beings listen to it and transcribe it and send you back a transcript that’s a little bit cleaned up. So that’s helpful too because it leaves you with less editing to do. But anyway, we digress. So Amanda, one of the things you just talked about that I’d love to dig in a little bit more and maybe you can show us an example of this is forms. You mentioned that forums can be tricky for nonprofits. So why are forms tricky from an accessibility point of view? And I mean, cause I can’t say. I mean nonprofits have so many forms- advocacy, signups, donation forms, et cetera. Why are they tricky? And can you show us an example of what you mean?

Amanda Luker: Sure. So I know when I use a form, and I’m sure a lot of people, you just want to be able to tap through it. You don’t want to have to like click your cursor into every field. It can be tedious to do it that way. So, making sure that you are highlighting everything, the contrast is good when you’re highlighting things. And also error reporting. If you are…you fill out a form and you click submit and then you’re taken back to the form and you have no idea what you did wrong. That’s one of the more frustrating experiences somebody can have and that can make a user bail too. They’ll just be like, well, I’m not going to fill this out. So that’s one thing we want to avoid. So I’ll just share an example of one thing that I…a website that I liked what they were doing with their form. Okay. Yeah. Can you see that? The Brennan Center. Am I sharing it? Okay. So one thing I liked about this is I’m just going to tab through here and as I’m tabbing, it’s telling me: Oh, you didn’t fill out this required field. So immediately you don’t even have to submit the form. It happens as you tab through it. So that’s an example.

Sarah Durham: And I don’t need to be able to use a mouse or scroll in order to successfully complete this form.

Amanda Luker: Yeah. So you can tab through it. It’s giving you the error reporting live. And then when you hit submit, it’ll tell you, well, there it has everything already. Yeah. In red where you’ve made, made mistakes. I’ve filled out forms where sometimes it’ll tell you the errors there, but it won’t necessarily- maybe it’ll listed at the top of the page, which isn’t very helpful because it’s not in-line. Or it’ll tell you there’s an error, but the contrast is so poor that it doesn’t really pop, it doesn’t stand out. So those are things that I look for with good experience on a form.

Sarah Durham: Let’s talk a little bit more about contrast, cause you’ve used that term a couple of times. I’d love you to break that down in a little bit more detail. What does good contrast mean? What does bad contrast? Why should we care about it?

Amanda Luker: Yeah, so for a lot of times when…I’ll get… The way we work is we don’t do design in house. We’ll get designs from another company. And so we’ll audit the designs and make sure that the colors that are in the color palette have good contrast, especially when you’re talking about text on top of color or text on top of images. Those are things that happen, we see a lot. And there are- with the WCAG there’s contrast recommendations and if you’re going to have level two compliance, you do need to pass certain contrast ratios. So we will run tests on all our websites and make sure that those ratios pass the test. Some of the variables would be, besides just the two colors, one on top of the other would be, tech size and also the font weight. So if you have large text and the contrast isn’t as good as it would be- it doesn’t need to be as good as it would be if it was small texts. So, AAA does have higher contrast standards. So if you’re going for AAA compliance, then that’s something that you would really need to work with a designer on.

Sarah Durham: Amanda wrote a really interesting blog recently, which is on the Advomatic website. I’m going to chat out a link to it here too, and I think we could send this as a follow up, but there’s some really nice examples actually in this blog you wrote I think of what you’re talking about. This is about the campaign websites, the presidential candidates and their websites. There was an article written about how many of the websites were not accessible.

Amanda Luker: All of them. Yeah.

Sarah Durham: And so Amanda did a really nice job breaking down why, where the challenges are, and sort of highlighting some of the things that we’re talking about in this as tangible examples too, which, which could be a good way to- you can share that article if you want to raise a little consciousness in your organization about these things.

Amanda Luker: Yeah, there’s a couple things that I recommend people try if they’re interested and you can can run some… there’s tools you can run on your website to actually see if the contrast passes tests. So, WAVE is a tool that we use. You could just run something that makes your website appear in black and white and that will give you a good idea of what you’re looking at. Sometimes you’ll see contrast and it looks like it’s good contrast, but when you make it black and white then you realize that it actually isn’t, isn’t that great? And another thing is taking your sight into daylight and seeing if you have trouble looking at it on a tablet or a phone outside in bright sunlight.

Sarah Durham: Yeah, that seems like a…that’s a really a good pragmatic down and dirty one. So when you work with nonprofits at Advomatic and you often are getting a website that might have been designed and built years ago that we’re maintaining or you might be working on building a new site. Are there are there kind of rookie challenges, accessibility challenges, that organizations should look out for? Are there things you would encourage people if they’re working with a new designer or they’re thinking about changing their site themselves to keep a particular eye out for?

Amanda Luker: Yeah. I would say, well, one contrast, but I’m also making sure that you’re able to talk through the site. That’s something easy you can test that you can use a keyboard to get to everything you need to. And I can show you actually, I’ll share another example. This is the Stanford homepage, a website that we recently worked on. And one thing we did spend a lot of time on is it has kind of this curtain effect. And we wanted to make sure that as a user’s tabbing through, it really is like a seamless experience and you don’t get kind of like trapped in the curtain or anything like that. And also making sure that you’re able to get what you need and play YouTube videos because sometimes that can be a little tricky. Do you have like an embedded video? Another thing to think about with tabbing is as you can see right here where you have kind of these effects and outlines that show when you tab, it’s really important to have a visual representation of where you are on the page as you are tabbing. So even if you can tab through, if you can’t see where you are when you’re tabbing through, that’s another red flag.

Sarah Durham: So I’ve seen a lot of the web designs that are created for the sites we build. The designers are not just doing a design for component. They’re also doing a hover state or a click through state or- what, how the elements are going to change as people tab through or click on all of it as a best practice there. Yeah. So how about, if somebody is working in a system like WordPress, which has a lot of out of the box features, or Drupal too, are there any, core accessibility elements they should be aware of, either exist or don’t exist?

Amanda Luker: So, Drupal and WordPress have great accessibility out-of-the-box. It’s everything that you add to the content-wise, image-wise, video plugins, libraries, things that you add on. Those are opportunities to degrade your accessibility. So every time you add something that’s you need to keep on top of adding it. And I don’t know if people are familiar with alt attributes, but that’s one of the things that will get you every time. If you have like an image field and you don’t have a field to add your alt attribute, which is a description of the image that you’re posting. That’s adding content that a user with low vision is not able to experience. So it’s not going to be accessible. I can show an example of what I mean by alt attributes.

Sarah Durham: That would be helpful. And I don’t know if this is true for many people on this call, but I’ve definitely talked to organizations where they might have like a content management system, like let’s say a WordPress system where there is a place for the alt attribute, but they just didn’t know what it was. And so they left it blank.

Amanda Luker: Right.

Sarah Durham: You know?

Amanda Luker: Yeah. So I’m showing the code here. This is kind of in the guts of it, but you can see there’s an image tag here and the alt tag describes the image. So abortion rights, protesters, and then, as you go through…Let’s look at a different one…image voting rights, protesters. So it’s up to you how- it’s nice to have a description, but you don’t have to be overly…get too carried away with it. You just want people to know what the image is so they can experience what’s going on too.

Sarah Durham: And how does that show up for them? It just gets read to them through reader?

Amanda Luker: Yeah, they’re using like JAWS or Voiceover. And another tip with that is if you’re using images on your site that are not content images, like say they’re just decorative images and they just enhance the way a site looks, you don’t need to describe it, but you still need the alt attribute to be there. It’ll just be blank and that is fine. As long as the attribute is there, even if it’s empty, that passes passes the test. So, in fact, you probably don’t want to describe it because people will be like, why? Why are you telling me this?

Sarah Durham: So, you’ve talked about…we’ve sort of been keeping a little cheat sheet here of some of the things you’ve been talking about to make sure your site is accessible. And you’ve talked about, the level of contrast and whether you want to go for like a AA level of compliance or a AAA level of compliance. You’ve talked about a bunch of different standard tools. When Advomatic works with an organization, one of the things we can do as an accessibility audit where we can run all these tests and we can give an organization that maybe has an older site or maybe a site that was designed by somebody who wasn’t focused on this. We can give them a sense of where they stand and what to focus on. But if you were not working with us and you wanted to do some automated testing on your own, could you do that? Would it be easy to do? Would it be…is it possible for somebody who’s not only used to using the tools, but perhaps more importantly used to interpreting what they mean? How easy is that to do?

Amanda Luker: Yeah. So there’s one tool is the WAVE tool: W-A-V-E. And another one is Google’s Lighthouse. And Lighthouse does a bunch of different tests. One of them is accessibility and anybody can run them. Google Lighthouse will give you a score which is kind of nice and it’ll give you like a list of whatever it finds that is not up to par. The issue is that sometimes it gets a bit technical and sometimes I read the description of what the problem is and thought, this is a little jargon-y. So, yeah, you may need some help interpreting the results, but it’ll give you a good start and give you an idea of what you’re up against.

Sarah Durham: Yeah. Well with some of the organizations I’ve spoken with who’ve done this, I think one of the big things that is useful to have an expert in the room for is just prioritization. Not only what does this mean, but which are the things on this list of a hundred things that I should do now? Which are the things that are really problematic. You’ve also talked about transcribing. And, and what should we transcribe? What are the kinds of things that an organization should look out for to transcribe?

Amanda Luker: Yeah. Anything that couldn’t be read by us, I would say video, audio, embedded charts, data visualization.

Sarah Durham: So like a narrative that explains what the visualization is.

Amanda Luker: Right, yeah.

Sarah Durham: That can be read.

Amanda Luker: And that’s something where you would probably want to go some detail about what it is. And you may have that just underneath the chart. But yeah, it’s something that you just want all your users to be able to experience what you’re presenting.

Sarah Durham: And then how about captioning? Is captioning a best practice for an organization that does a lot of video?

Amanda Luker: Yeah. And it’s funny because I think YouTube does…I haven’t done too much with YouTube but I think it offers that. But I don’t know how good it is. So it’s something to look into those. Oh gosh. I’m trying to remember. We used a plugin that kind of improved the YouTube experience with captions. I’ll have to look it up and maybe I can follow up with that link, but there’s like a more accessible kind of plugin that you can add for YouTube videos that will make it a better caption experience.

Sarah Durham: Yeah. One of the things that’s kind of amazing about how much more technology and free technology there is is that you can now you can translate your website into different languages with Google. There are a lot of things you can start to do that make your website much more accessible to broader audiences. But I think there is a real challenge around the rigor of those tools, and I think that also depends a lot on your organization’s mission. If serving a particular community, I would argue if your organization is bilingual, it’s probably not going to be great to just use Google translate for both languages because you’re going to need to have real accuracy and cultural competency that you may not want to rely on an automated tool for. But with other things, it may be perfectly appropriate to use a lower cost or free automated tool to transcribe or translate or caption.

Amanda Luker: Right. And, you know one thing that kind of, we were talking about that article that came out saying all the candidates, presidential candidates websites were not accessible. I kind of take issue with that because for us, accessibility is really, it’s a scale and we’re just trying to constantly improve. We’re not going to fix everything and it’s all going to be perfectly accessible. We’re just going to incrementally make improvements.

Sarah Durham: Yeah. It’s a spectrum. And there’s a mantra that I hear people use at Advomatic a lot. I think Monica-Lisa Mills says this a lot, which is like your website should get stronger every day. Every day, whether it’s a new piece of content, something that’s broken that you fix, something that you make more accessible- every day the website should just be getting a little bit stronger than it was yesterday and you can continue to nibble away at these kinds of projects over time. Okay, so there are a bunch of resources I want to share with everybody and we will switch over into some Q and. A. I want to make sure I leave time for people to ask you questions, Amanda, and again, if you have a question that you think other people on this session would benefit from too, or a resource that you’d like to share, this is also an opportunity for you to share something that you’ve learned or tried that is either succeeded or failed so that you can connect with others. And, if you would like to pick yourself off camera and talk, I mean, put yourself on camera and talk. Take yourself off of mute and talk. You’re welcome to do that. In Zoom, you’ll see a little button that says “More” and if you hover over the “More” button, you’ll see a thumbs up or a thumbs down. And what I’d love you to do if you’d like to unmute yourself and come on video and maybe share something or ask a question is just give me a thumbs up. Or if you’d rather chat in the question, just chat it in. You can chat it into me directly. And I will filter things to Amanda that I get in and we can pivot over to some of your questions or even your examples. If you’ve done something or your organization’s done something on your website and you think it’s either great and it’s worked really well, you’ve gotten good feedback about it from an accessibility point of view. Or maybe it’s challenging and you’re struggling with it, you’d like to show it to Amanda. And have her maybe give you some very quick on the fly consulting. We could do that too. Amanda, manned a booth at the nonprofit technology conference a few years ago where people came by, stop by the booth and their websites were put through some accessibility filters. Some of these programs she was talking about.

Amanda Luker: Yeah. I can share that resource.

Sarah Durham: So yeah, after this, I’ll send everybody who’s participated in an email with some of these resources too and we’ll throw it into that too.

Amanda Luker: Yeah. There’s a great plugin you can use for your browser where, like I was saying, you can change it to black and white or you can change these different like the color contrast and you can kind of view your website from a user- a different users experience through their eyes, basically. So I’ll also include that with your list of links.

Sarah Durham: That’s great. So the team from Bucknell has just sent in a tool called DubBot. And I’m wondering if you can tell us a little bit about what it is and how you use it and maybe if you’re comfortable doing so we can turn on your video again and unmute you and you can talk a little bit about the tool. I don’t know it, do you know what Amanda? DubBot. So maybe we’ll see if we can hear a little more for that. Here they come. Let me just unmute you. There you are. Okay.

New Speaker: Nice. So yeah, we actually just started to use the tool at the bottom. It’s an auto crawler, I guess it goes through and reads the site. It’ll crawl the pages reading through each one of the links that are on the site or use our site map, which we found very useful because some of the abilities to crawl like from one page to another or some of the tools didn’t seem to work really well.

Amanda Luker: Like it would just test one page?

New Speaker: Yeah, it would get lost. Like it would find a link and crawl through and follow some of the deeper links, but then just sort of got lost at some point so it wouldn’t get all the pages that we would want it to check. But in addition it does spell checking, It does the accessibility checking for us, it does link checking and plus in addition we can recreate some of our own regular expressions for it as well so that we can do our own page evaluation, which is really useful. I have an example that’s really good is that we switched from dots to dashes for phone numbers and we needed to try to find where that was available throughout the site so we could use it for that as well. But other than that, it gives us a score, which is nice. But if it finds errors within a page, it allows you to go to that page and then it’ll highlight where the areas are that the problem is and then you can figure out what solution you want to deploy.

Sarah Durham: Great. Thank you. That’s terrific. So I just chatted out, I chatted out that URL to everybody in case people want to check out that tool and we’ll definitely check it out. Here is it. Oh, neat. So this is the dashboard that you get.

Amanda Luker: Yeah, very cool.

Sarah Durham: Very nice. Great. Thank you for sharing that.

Amanda Luker: It’s a paid service?

New Speaker: It’s comparable, I forget the name of the other tool. Siteimprove is another one that I think people may know of, but I think here at Bucknell, before I was here, it was a tool that it was being used, but it just wasn’t cost effective. So, a lot’s very similar to Siteimprove, but much more reasonable in cost.

Amanda Luker: Cool.

Sarah Durham: Great. That’s great. Thank you. That’s a helpful resource. And if you’re an Advomatic client with a subscription to do ongoing support work with us, we bake some of these tools into the work we do for you at key junctures. We can do deep dives into accessibility audits and some other things like that where we can include some of these too. So just be sure to ask your team if you want to get more from us in that area. Okay. Getting another question here. Um, okay, so this is a question that is a little bit more about internal politics and I’m not going to share who it’s from, but it’s a question about how do you build support in your organization and this actually would be an interesting question to hear from some of you, maybe the Bucknell team or other people who’ve been trying to do this work. The question is: how do I build support for investing in accessibility on our website, with our leadership who may not see its value? So I’m curious if people- I have a couple of ideas about that, but if you would like to address that, if you’ve found that you have people in your organization who are not bought in to investing time or money in this work and you’ve found ways that have been usefully persuasive, raise your hand. I’d love to hear from you or chat in your response. Amanda, do you want to tackle that issue at all? Have you encountered that?

Amanda Luker: Yeah. Well, I think some of the best arguments is 20% of your audience is coming to your website with some sort of disability. And then, also, if that isn’t good enough, there’s legal changes that could have an effect. It’s just one of those things that you can either fix it now or you continue to add content and you’ll need to fix more later. Sometimes, depending on what your plan is for the future, you may decide that, oh, we’ve got like a redesign coming up. We don’t want to tackle all this right now. So you might want to find out what is the most bang for your buck before big changes happen. But it’s definitely good to take a step back and to see are these- How big are the problems? Is it low hanging fruit? You know, is it something that where this would be a really easy thing that we can fix? It wouldn’t cost a lot of money? It really just depends. So that first step is just just evaluating it.

Sarah Durham: Yeah. And I think one of the critical lenses to evaluating it that I think is baked into what you’re talking about is being very clear about who the end user for your site is and what their experience may be like. I mean, if you’re a university then, especially if you are a state school, you have a different obligation for compliance and probably a higher, should, I would argue, have a higher standard for compliance. It’s probably going to be less challenging to get people to buy into that because there is an understanding about the broad base of users and the ADA compliance issues that you’re gonna need to have in your organization. But if you’re a tiny organization and your website is mostly for donors who make gifts and mostly major donors and it’s a handful of people, it may be more challenging to get buy in. But I often find that sometimes the most persuasive arguments come from those stories. The story that Amanda told us at the beginning of this hour about having a colleague with ALS and what that person’s experience was like can be very powerful. And it might be that in your community there are people who are struggling to use your website in these ways and maybe if you’ve heard some of those stories and you share them, that will be also a persuasive way to do it. I also think sharing the regulation, like helping people understand what AA compliance means and maybe bringing up the websites of some of your peer organizations to see if they appear to be more accessible. Is it easier? But of all the things that you talked about, I mean, you know, transcribing everything, for instance, it’s so easy to do so fast and so cheap. And it has a search engine optimization benefit. So that actually really benefits the organization just as much as the end user.

Amanda Luker: Exactly. So many of these things that make the site more accessible- it’s not just for that 20%. It’s for everybody. So yeah, it’s everyone.

Sarah Durham: So we are, we’re gonna wind down in just a few minutes. I want to really encourage anybody who’s got a question to chat to chat it in now or raise your hand and…I just am going to chat to you while I read while I read one more question here. I just want to chat to you also another link to an article that I think is useful for getting for getting buy in or really more so getting understanding about this. Amanda wrote a three part series of blogs about accessibility and I just chatted out the link to the first one, which is an introduction in terminology and a lot of what she talked about earlier about the levels of accessibility are detailed in this. And I think having an article like that can also be very good backdrop institutionally to make sure your team is on the same page. Okay. Let’s see, one more question. Okay. I think this is probably a question with some universal appeal. Should an organization budget to do this work at a certain amount or how frequently should they do this work? So I think this is a question of little bit about how much should you invest both time and money. And the money piece I would say really probably depends a lot on your standards. If you’re an organization that has to be very compliant, is going for AAA compliance, you probably do want to maintain high level of accessibility all the time and invest more to get there if you need to. But Amanda, I’m curious what you think if you agree with that and also what do you think about how long this takes or how that should go.

Amanda Luker: Sure. Yeah, it’s really hard to say because it does depend on whether your site is already pretty good or if there’s a lot of work to be done. So it could be, like I said, a lot of content management systems out of the box are accessible. So it’s possible that a website is already pretty good and you don’t have that much work to do, so you don’t necessarily need to invest a lot in improving it in that regard. So I think before thinking about how much to budget for it, you have to just like do that initial research piece and get an audit or at Advomatic we do an annual audit of every website that we support. And that includes some accessibility. It’s not like a deep dive into the site’s accessibility. That’s something extra that we can do. But, just like a check just to see, okay, is this meeting our basic standards right now? Yeah. So, that comes first.

Sarah Durham: Is there anything really off the rails? It seems to me that at least once a year you should be doing that in some way. And, and I think Amanda’s point, and mine, is really that it’s about the depth that you choose to go to. And probably if you’re in an organization with higher standards for accessibility and a lot, a lot of content that’s getting updated or added regularly, the pace is more rigorous than annually. It’s probably more like quarterly or twice a year. You want to be proactively analyzing the site through this lens, maybe running some tests I would imagine. Okay, so we’ve got one last question that I think I’m going to ask because it’s got broad-based appeal. So there’s a couple of people calling in today who have an old site and are either in the process of building a new site or have just launched a new site or are going to build a new site in 2020. And so this question is: if you’re creating a new website and you’re bringing content over from a prior site, is it relatively straightforward to apply this type of type of work?

Amanda Luker: Yes. Well, it depends on the structure of the new site. So, sometimes if we’re talking about contrast accessibility, that’s pretty unrelated to the actual content of the site, like the text itself. But if you already have a bunch of images that don’t have associated alt text, for example, that’s something that you probably want to go in and fix as you are moving content over. I guess it’s a good time to evaluate how the content stacks up for accessibility. But a lot of it is not the data itself, like the text or, well the image alt texts I guess is one piece that would be related to the data that if you’re migrating that over. And also like captioning and things like that. If you already have that, that will migrate over. If you don’t have it, that’s something that you probably want to address during that one.

Sarah Durham: Yeah. I would say that if you wait, if you hire somebody to design and build a site for you and then after, just as you are migrating content over, you start to think about accessibility, that’s probably too late. You probably want to, out of the gate, when you’re thinking about who’s going to design the site, who’s going to build the site, make sure that you’re hiring people with some expertise in accessibility so that they’re fundamentally setting things up correctly from the start. Designing things that are gonna give you the components you need to make it accessible, building in to the code- the elements that you’ll need to keep to keep it alive. And then when you’ve poured over the content, you should have the right containers, the right places for all of this. Is that fair to say?

Amanda Luker: Yeah. Yeah, exactly.

Sarah Durham: Okay. All right. So, I’m just gonna chat this out. If you, oops, I should chat this out to everybody. If you are curious about Advomatic’s accessibility audits, if you are not an Advomatic client, feel free to contact Rose. Rose was just on video at the beginning of this call. She’s She can tell you a little bit more about what we do. Those are audits that are oftentimes led by Amanda or other other people on our staff. Oh, I’m getting some interesting comments. You can see Lisa’s just added in something. Lisa from Bucknell is saying she also include in the statement of work that the new site must meet WCAG 2.0 AA compliance or whatever the standard is you want to achieve. That’s a great suggestion. So in your RFP for whoever’s going to design or build your website, include that in your RFP. Thanks Lisa. I love that. So again, thank you for joining us today. We’re going to transcribe this recording. We’re gonna put it on our website, both the recording and the transcription. There’s a number of resources we heard about today from Amanda and I will send a follow up email to all of you with links to some of the things we’ve talked about today in case you’d like to click through and read any of those articles. And I thank you all for joining us. Amanda, thank you very much.

Amanda Luker: Thank you.

Sarah Durham: Bye everybody. Have a great day.