Optimized Ecommerce EP 062 – How Important is Web Accessibility to Your Ecom Business
Today on The Optimized Ecommerce Podcast, our repeat guest—Eric Kwoka joins Tanner Larsson to talk about the importance of Web Accessibility to your users and Ecom Business. Join us in today’s episode as Eric discusses Web Accessibility specifically for users who may have a disability and how important this is to your business from
Welcome to Episode 062 of Optimized Ecommerce – How Important is Web Accessibility to Your Ecom Business. I’m your host, Tanner Larsson, CEO of BGS.
BGS means Build Grow Scale! It is a community that we founded where eCommerce entrepreneurs and physical product sellers come to learn how to take their businesses to the next level.
Eric Kwoka is from the BGS revenue optimization team, he is one of our Revenue Optimization Experts who works on all the Amplified stores. Eric also trains in different programs, and more likely to be speaking on stage at our next BGS event.
Eric is a big part of BGS, he got one of those amazing brains on which he can test data and turn it into huge wins for our Amplified Stores.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
Eric defined the meaning of Web Accessibility.
When Tim Berners Lee built the World Wide Web, his vision is to make information accessible to everybody regardless of disability. He specifically quoted that “The Power of the Web is in its Universality”.
The bottom line in Web Accessibility is serving people and making sure that everybody can access all the amazing content on the internet evenly and equally.
This is not about making sure that keyboard navigation works on your site so that lawyers don’t send you letters. But instead, you’re doing this so that people who may have some disabilities can still access your products.
And then, Eric discussed the importance of Web Accessibility to Your Ecom Business.
Imagine if Shopify required the use of a mouse so people can set up a store, this only means that people with disabilities could be cut out to do the entire option. This is basically what’s happening to some of your customers if the site is not accessible enough.
The World Wide Web Consortium is an organization that has established Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, they spent a lot of time building these documents. Some are very technical, but most of them are pretty simple to implement.
The accessibility to the internet is to the point of human rights because most of our network and economy are based on the ability to interact with things that many of us may take for granted. But on the other side of the coin, there are still many people out there that can’t do a simple option like buying Beyonce’s ticket online.
We also discussed a few other fun topics, including:
- Ways on how people with a disability use the web differently.
- How does Web Accessibility impact businesses?
- Tips on how store owners improve their Web Accessibility.
- Where can people learn more about Web Accessibility?
But you’ll have to watch or listen to the episode to hear about those!
How To Stay Connected With Eric Kwoka
Want to stay connected with Eric? Please check out their social profiles below.
- Website: BuildGrowScale.com
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/in/TheKwoka
- Instagram Handle: Instagram.com/TheKwoka
Also, Eric mentioned the following items on the show. You can find that on:
Tanner Larsson 0:07
What’s up everybody, Tanner Larsson here, and welcome back to The Optimized Ecommerce Podcast, super excited to have you here. And also be joined today by a repeat guest, Eric Kwoka from the BGS revenue optimization team, Eric’s one of our RO experts and works on all the Amplified stores, he also trains in our different programs, and more likely he’ll be speaking on stage at our next event. And just a big, big part of BGS, he didn’t actually know that until I just threw that at it right there. But Eric’s a big part of what we do at BGS. And he’s got one of those brains that is just amazing, the way he can figure out and test data, and then turn that into optimization and turn that into something that wins for the store and just picking it apart. He’s done some amazing work for our clients. And today, he’s not really here to talk to you about optimization, he’s here to talk to you about a different topic, which is just as important. But it’s something that I can say that I’ve never heard another ecom expert guru program or whatever talk about, but it is critically important, and that is web usability or web accessibility. And this is pertaining to people who may have a disability or something else and how they use the internet and how they need to be able to use your site, as well as why that’s important to you, as a business owner from both a legality standpoint, as well as just serving your customer standpoint. So Eric is probably the perfect guy to talk about this subject because he understands the nuances of it.
Tanner Larsson 1:40
And he can actually break that somewhat of a complicated jargon down into usable and actionable strategies for you guys. Now, don’t roll your eyes, don’t turn this episode off, because web accessibility is one of those things that is super important. Now, let me give you a scare real quick about how important that can be. Specifically, within the accessibility space, one of the things you have to be aware of is the Americans with Disabilities Act, the ADA. Now, the ADA is a legitimate organization. The problem is there are lots of shitty shady shyster-type lawyers out there who will take the ADA mission and use the ADA to go out and put lawsuits on companies left and right, whether they’re brick and mortar or internet-based, or whatever. And they’ll get somebody who may be, deaf or blind or whatever to be their plaintiffs or whatever. And then they’ll go out and they’ll just target 100 businesses and then roll them all up into this one lawsuit and to say how this one person that they hired basically, was impacted by the non-ADA compliance of all these companies. And legitimately, it’s legal scamming, because it’s legal to sue. But what they’re doing is completely fraudulent the way that they’re doing it, but they get away with it because they’re playing within the legal realm of the world. And this happens a ton online. We’ve seen recently, lots of ADA cases popping up where a lawyer will wrap up a hundred to two hundred different ecom stores or ecom properties into an ADA lawsuit, all affected by the exact same person. And then they basically go out and they say, hey, we’ll either go to court or you can settle for this sum and pay us off. And it’s shit, guys, I promise you, it’s complete dogshit. But it happens and it happens a lot. And typically, you don’t have much room to fight, you basically pay them whatever the negotiated settlement is to avoid having to go to trial and have it become a bigger problem that costs more money, and you basically pay him to go away. So there are ways around that by being aware of the Accessibility Act, and not just ADA, but web accessibility protocols as they pertain to the entire internet. And Eric’s gonna touch on some of that stuff. So a little bit of a scare at the point. But that’s just how important it is. And we know sites, we know stores that have been impacted by this. In our Amplified Partner Program and Ecom Insider, we teach our members how to avoid this, or at least put as much protection around themselves as they possibly can. So this would be a very good episode for you guys. So with that, Eric, now they’re scared. Why don’t you take over, Eric has been here multiple times. So he knows the game and he’s good at podcasts but he’ll take the fear out of it a little bit, just show you some actionable stuff. But Eric, start with what is web accessibility. And let’s just start from the beginning and work our way through it.
Eric Kwoka 4:46
Just to help alleviate some of the scares like out of the gate because these rules are not meant to try to make it hard to start a business. A lot of these have kind of lower thresholds when they start to take effect. So if You’re just planning your store, you’re just getting started. Don’t think that this is some new thing that you have to run out and master before you can even get started, you can start your store worry about this later, in terms of the unscrupulous lawyers, they aren’t going after companies that have no money in the first place. Like if you don’t have sales, a lot of these rules don’t apply to you really in the first place. And they’re not going to get anything from you. So there’s no point in wasting their time. So we’ll get into some of these other things later. But if you’re a small store, this is your low five digits per month in revenue. Most of these rules don’t really apply even throughout the EU and stuff they have cut-offs like the ADA is a big one is 15 employees when it starts to kick in. And some similar EU laws are only at 2 million revenue. But obviously, this is not legal advice. If you’re getting up there, you should be looking into this, but we’ll talk about that a bit later. But let’s get into, what is web accessibility? Well, let’s take the story back to the start of the web. Tim Berners Lee had this amazing vision, when he built the World Wide Web, that it would be accessible by everybody. He specifically quoted as saying, “The Power of the Web is in its universality”. Access by everyone regardless of disability is the central aspect of that. And it can be really easy in all of this, especially the scares and a lot of the checkboxes and what can seem very difficult thinking about it as just meeting the standards so that you don’t get sued. But it’s still all about serving people and making sure that everybody can access all this amazing content on the internet evenly, equally. You’re not making sure that keyboard navigation works on your site, just so that lawyers don’t send you letters, you’re doing it so that people that can’t use a mouse can still access your products. And it does go a bit further than that because a lot of these things can be very critical for those with significant disabilities. But you’ll find that a lot of them actually do benefit others that may not be in that realm of what you consider disabled. Sometimes it could just be people with temporary injuries. If you’ve broken your collarbone, you can’t use your mouse. Suddenly, keyboard navigation is important to you until you get better. So it’s benefiting you there or even situational disabilities, where the way that you’re interacting with the web at that time, is causing some issues that may not be generally a problem for you. So you can kind of think of web accessibility as an electronic curb cut, curb cuts were a big thing that took a long time to get implemented in cities, where the curb goes down to the street, flush with the street, primarily so that people in wheelchairs can have some autonomy to move around pedestrian spaces similar to those that can walk. But once they put those in, other people found benefits from it. Like if you’re moving packages with a trolley, it’s easier to just take it up the curb cut than over the curb, or someone pushing a child in a stroller, or people riding bikes and skateboards, maybe these people can get through a curb with a little bit of effort. But even just having a little curb cut benefits everybody. So it was essential to some people, but then very helpful to many others. So to bring it to the digital example of that, we always kind of talk about like you need to have your text be at least 16 pixels, like the minimum should be your smallest text is 16 pixels. And very high contrast, especially when it’s small. And that can be really important for older users and those with vision issues. But it can also be very beneficial to people that may have perfect vision, but they’re in a situation where there’s a lot of glare on their screen. If their text is low contrast, they’re just not going to be able to see it. But if it’s high contrast, they can still see it through the glare. So they’re not disabled, but they still have a situation in which this is benefiting them. So those kinds of all pulled together in some other optimization ways. But there are some ways in which it is focused more for this specific demographic.
Tanner Larsson 9:27
Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, that was good. I liked the analogies that actually helped, I think I have a more clear idea than now because I’ve never thought about it in that sense. Makes a lot more sense thinking about it like the curb cuts like everybody can access it. I would rather do that than step up on the curb, especially from riding my bike. It’s much easier. So that makes great sense. All right. So we’ve talked about what it is but what makes it super important, aside from just the basics that you laid out.
Eric Kwoka 9:59
As I mentioned before, the accessible internet is the key to the entire idea of what the internet was made for. And I’m sure many of our listeners who are starting their stores just from their laptop and access to the internet. And this has made the internet amazing as an equalizer for socio-economic mobility. You can start a business with just a dream and a laptop. And I’m sure they greatly benefit from that ability. But access to that ability is limited by how well you can manipulate our interface tools like mice, keyboards, and screens for at least a long time. It was like, if you were blind, you couldn’t do anything on the internet. Imagine if Shopify required the use of a mouse as you could only set up a store if you could physically move a mouse to click on things. But then if you’re somebody with significant disabilities to where you can’t move your arms or can’t keep it stable to click on some small buttons, you just be totally cut out of this entire option for your life. That’s basically what’s happening to some of your customers if your site’s not accessible enough to the way that they interact with the tools. So that’s why organizations like the World Wide Web Consortium have established Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and they spent a lot of time building these things out into very long documents. A lot of it is very technical, kind of like wishful thinking. And a lot of it is pretty simple to implement. And then a lot of countries have gone and, like, directly implemented those standards into the law, or mimics them, like the US never likes to just say, oh, follow this third party standard. So they basically just rewrote the standard into US law without directly referencing it, while the EU just says use theirs, because they’re the pros at this. And even the UN has included web accessibility in their convention for the rights of persons with disabilities. So this is a big thing. This open access to the internet is really to the point of a human right because there’s just so much of our network, the economy is based on this ability to interact with the stuff that many of us may take for granted how easy it is, and how simple this technology has gotten. But there are still many out there that can’t go to Beyonce’s site and buy tickets, such a simple thing that we all can just easily do. And we wouldn’t even think about it, for some of these people. It’s like, oh, that ruins their plans and their day.
Tanner Larsson 12:39
Yeah, and there’s just no way to get it done. So Beyonce is a great example. But what are some other examples of ways that people with a disability would actually need to be able to use a website differently than people who don’t have those disabilities?
Eric Kwoka 12:58
There are lots of different ways they call this assistive technology. And I believe there’s another one that similarly refers to the different software and hardware that those with disabilities might use to interface like, we use mice and keyboards and vision. Some people who are blind, or can’t fully move their upper body, to be able to interact in those same ways. So one example with the blind is, they’ll use screen readers that basically read out the content on the screen, audibly, so they can just listen to it. And these can work in different ways. They can read all the text, can just read the link titles, it can just read the headings. So as the users, depending on what their need is, they can switch between these as they navigate to get through differently. So they can be like, Oh, I know, I’m trying to get to another page, let’s just do the links. But then if the links are labeled for lead, they might not know which link goes to where they’re trying to go. And, of course, for images, because we can see the images, we know what they’re trying to communicate. Screen Reader doesn’t know what’s important about an image, even with modern machine learning getting better, it can see maybe all this is a picture of a cat. But it doesn’t know what the point of the picture of the cat is like, why is the cat important? What’s the message of it? So they also have these really cool things I just learned about recently, because I did just get certified in this by the W3C. And apparently, there are actually braille displays, I never thought about it, but it makes a lot of sense, basically, a little electronic mobilizing dots for the Braille. And as it moves down the screen reader, essentially, instead of using audio, it changes on this little pad that has all the Braille on it so they can just quickly read it in that way, and even have these for phones. So they can still be able to use their mobile phones like everyone else. And there’s lots of software actually built into Android and iOS, in the accessibility options, to where you can actually, easily turn that on, and then try to get to your site, even if you can, and, move around, just by using simple, up, down, left, right to kind of change through different options, that those that are good with it can actually do really, really quickly. But when you’re first getting started, it’s going to be a real struggle. And the iOS one even has an option to turn the display off, so that you can really feel that feeling of not being able to see what you’re doing. Then the next big one, of course, mobility, if you can’t fully move your arms from different diseases, conditions, injuries that you’ve taken, you’re not gonna be able to use a mouse. And a lot of people in those situations rely on keyboard navigation. So you can go to a website and just hit the tab, and it’ll start moving through the different links. Specifically, as we move through, what the internet’s focus, bubble elements, links, buttons, anything that’s an input, or some kind of interactive. But a common issue that happens with this is that stores are not set up to style links that are accessed this way differently. So that you just go to the page, and you hit tab, and you’re selecting something, but you can’t tell what it is, just looking at it, you’re just like, okay, something’s selected, but I have no idea where. And that, of course, can be a major way to lose track of where you even are, because you will go, like, am I on this link or that link, maybe the stuff doesn’t move in a way that you thought it did, or something that you thought was multiple links is one link or something that’s one link is actually multiple. And going back to the collarbone example, if you break your collarbone, it’ll be very nice to be able to go to all your favorite sites or shops, just using the keyboard, instead of being just cut out from all of your favorite things to do online. And speech, rigging to very good vocal recognition. A lot of people will even interact with their computers and websites by talking, they’ll just say, Oh, go to this link, or show me all the numbers, and I’ll tell you which number of links I want to go to, and various kinds of things.
Eric Kwoka 17:28
And even those that are even more disabled, if you’re like Stephen Hawking, you kind of have to have specialized hardware for very minimal, actual physical input, maybe using eye-tracking, or they have these like sip puff things that kind of use, as a straw in the mouth, and you kind of suck in their blowout, that’s sort of two options. And you can see videos of people using these, and they can get around a computer pretty well. But it does run into issues when the site’s not set up well for that, or software is not set up well for that. Yeah, so it’s just like using all these very simple things that suddenly make what we consider very easy mouse click can actually be very difficult if things are not set up properly to accommodate.
Tanner Larsson 18:15
And with that, a lot of those things are handled on the software or the application to help the people, but the breakdown for that is whether or not your store. Like when said images, are you leveraging the alt tags to provide the information so that if someone can’t see the image, the software that they’re using can then read the alt tag and tell the person what the image is. So that’s a simple example. But if your site doesn’t have the right usability, doesn’t matter how good their software is, there’s going to be a breakdown or how good their manipulation is, or whatever they’re using. So that’s where we’re going, you’re not having to figure out how every possible person is going to use your site, or what specific software they’re using, or application or phone or technology or anything, that’s not your responsibility. Your responsibility is on the basic usability functions so that all those platforms or software or technologies can then take over and leverage your site.
Eric Kwoka 19:20
Tanner Larsson 19:23
Okay, I know it’s important, but let’s tie it back to business. I mean, we all want to be good humans and help the world and help everybody. But I have stores, I’m still thinking the same thing. And I’m in this space, but how does this impact my business? What’s the business case for me using Web Accessibility?
Eric Kwoka 19:46
Yeah, in a perfect world, just being good to each other would be enough to get everything done. Like Tim Cook famously said in the world of web accessibility, in the shareholders meeting, when we work on our devices’ accessibility by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI. Of course, Apple’s richest company in the world, they can not consider the ROI for quite a long time before it really comes back to bite them. And not everybody has that luxury. So, of course, you always got to know the brass tacks, how’s this gonna actually affect my business and my users, of course, it’s important. Well, of course, if more users have access to your store, you can get some additional sales. And while disabilities may seem like there’s not a whole lot out there, you might estimate that this is not going to have a major impact on your bottom line, the WHO actually estimates that over 13% of the world has mild to severe vision impairment, to where they could benefit from larger text and higher contrast. That’s 13% of the world. And depending on your markets, it can be very different how that is and what their access to corrective technologies and other aspects would be. So but if your store’s small, low contrast text could be preventing these users from completing the purchase. And additionally, in the realm of social responsibility and how that can affect your marketing stance, depending on exactly what your company’s brand image is, 90% of websites out there have significant accessibility issues. So even just building a thing, where it’s you are the one site in your niche that can handle his audience, that could even give you a position to, specifically market to that audience be like, hey, our site is accessible, kind of like sub-segment your niche of interest to then also maybe find, which ones might have some of these disabilities and be like, hey, our site is accessible. Actually, it’s this meaningful UVP to this specific subset of your users. I’m not sure exactly how easy it would be to target that specifically. But there could be ways to benefit that or just as some members of your audience find that the site’s accessible, they share it with their friends, because of the disabled support groups might share this information to help people find their way through this harsh world, right? And furthermore, Google does reward accessibility, that’s a big thing in the search engine stuff because they also want to make sure their users which include those with disabilities are getting good results. So if they see at least programmatically, that you’re doing what you can to satisfy accessibility, they’ll give you that boost over others, because you can see it in there. The web dev and PageSpeed Insights, and lighthouse, SEO as well as accessibility scores will affect your site and how it gets ranked. We don’t know, of course, exactly how much that is. But of course, as more and more places get better with accessibility, they’ll probably more harshly punish those that are not doing it. So those are some of the ways that can, you know, provide a positive benefit to your store. And as you kind of mentioned before, there is a flip side to that, if you’re not putting the appropriate amount of effort into providing an accessible experience, you could be the target of lawsuits. We’re kind of at the point also, where legally, we have some pretty clear and understood standards. Like this isn’t just, oh, what does accessibility even mean? How do we say if a store is accessible or not? Those standards have been made, they have been written and codified for many years now. There is kind of a point where you need to start meeting there as you get bigger and bigger.
Eric Kwoka 19:56
It’s not like a gray area anymore.
Eric Kwoka 21:35
Yeah, as I brought up earlier, Beyonce.com did get sued for not being accessible, Kylie Cosmetics as well. We don’t know what the results were, because all these are settled out of court, but probably very costly to them, and probably making it a lot better now. And just in the first half of 2019, there are over 5000 lawsuits just related to the web accessibility part of the ADA. So that’s just that one specific law in the US not counting many other laws that may affect in different ways and companies differently. And of course, across the world, like every major country that has any significant technological advancement has laws about this. So we may focus on the American ones. If you’re in the EU or UK, you have your own ones, and they are there. This isn’t just an American thing. So, if you’re getting up to that point, you do need to possibly look into this, if you’re well into seven figures, make sure this is something that’s getting looked at, potentially, I mean, there are specialized firms that can help you build policies to make sure that when you’re interacting with vendors and developers, that everybody knows the standard that you’re aiming for. And if you’re smaller, don’t stress too much about this, but maybe just keep it in mind. For the future, when you start to grow, you can start to put a bit more effort into this, or when you’re looking at hiring a developer, ask them about this, as opposed to not bringing it up, and then finding out many years later, they’ve just not been doing it.
Tanner Larsson 25:45
And from the legal side of it, again, we’re not lawyers or anything like that, but the lawyers that we’ve talked to who have represented stores and stuff in these kinds of lawsuits. They’re looking for the easy marks, they’re out there looking at stores that have done nothing because then it’s a shoo-in. Now, if you’ve made your best effort, and you’ve done what you can for accessibility, and it’s clear that you’ve done that, you’re more of a fight than they want, okay? Because you can say, look, here’s what we’ve done, they’re looking for the stores, which a lot of them, including big ones, have done nothing. So and like Eric was saying, there are some pretty clearly defined things that you’re supposed to do in order to provide access. If you haven’t done those, it’s an open and shut case for them. So that’s what they go after. And there’s plenty of stores out there that have never done that. So that’s what they’re looking for when they round up these stores. And they don’t usually target one store, they target hundreds at a time, or 50 or 60, or whatever because they go through and they just basically get little settlements out of every single one of them. Sometimes they’re bigger settlements, sometimes they’re little, but they can say, hey, look, they give you a document, basically, where they had one of their experts go through and list out all the accessibility violations or lack thereof, on your store, and you get this thing, the judge is basically like, okay, well, here are the standards, here’s your violations, you owe them. So basically, you try to settle it out of court. But the stores that actually, take the steps, get bypassed because again, they’re out for the easy prey, these guys are not a legitimate type of lawsuit. This is just a money-making scheme that they’re running, unfortunately, takes advantage of some of the disability apps and things like that. So from the legal side of it. If you put your best foot forward and you actually do what Eric’s talking about here and use the web accessibility standards and put those into place in your site, you’re going to be way better prepared in case something ever does happen. Because you can actually say, hey, in good faith, we’ve done everything we possibly could. And then, most of the time, they’ll just leave you alone. And there are apps out there and services that you can pay for and will help you with that. So if you want to add an extra layer of web accessibility and stuff like that, you could do that. And I’m sure Eric will talk a little bit about that in a second. So, Eric, I guess, to give it back to you, what store owners can do to improve their web accessibility?
Eric Kwoka 28:28
Yeah, so there actually are quite a few things that are pretty small and simple to do that make up a significant portion of what is expected of a store, as mentioned, the standards are pretty strict and codified, but there is quite a bit of wiggle room in terms of what’s an appropriate amount for a small store that can’t dedicate a lot of resources to this, what’s an appropriate amount for them versus, an apple or something that should be able to get it done because they have all the resources in the world to do it. But small things actually cover the bulk of this. I kind of hinted at this a bit earlier, which is having your buttons and links be very clear about what they do. Like, you might have a lot of context to a link, you have images and other texts that kind of, say stuff like, Oh, it’s Father’s Day is coming up. So we got a bunch of great new products for you. And then you have a link that says “View”. Now someone that can see this close visual relationship between these and read them will understand that probably means view the Father’s Day products, but if somebody is moving through the links, trying to find something specific, and they get to a link and the screen reader just tells them to view they have no idea where that’s going. And we do talk about this a bit, a more conventional RO stuff of the fear of clicking something when you don’t know what it’s going to do, and that becomes compounded when you don’t have all this extra context around it. And that ends up going back to the curb cuts thing that does benefit others too, anybody that may have been a bit unclear about what exactly they were viewing, if you say, view Father’s Day collection. Now, they know as well, so the screen reader makes it much easier. Now, just looking at the links, they know, view Father’s Day, but also anybody else looking at it, that may not have caught the relationship. Maybe you have a little bit too much whitespace between them on that person’s specific device. And now they’re not sure if this is related to that or not? When you make the buttons clear, it becomes very easy for everybody to understand where the link goes. So when you’re choosing how to name your links and buttons, and anything that’s interactive. Just saying exactly what it does is gonna go a long way. If you have a developer, there are ways to code in an alternative label for screen readers to see. But that does take a bit more know-how, what exactly you’re working with. So if you just make the main visible text, something that’s clearly understood that will solve that problem. Also, that works with speech, if people are communicating with their computer by speech and not through a mouse, they can just say, click the button that says “View” Father’s Day collection, they don’t need to say, click the button that says “View” and then the computer goes, Yeah, but which one? They don’t need to have that extra step, it just makes it much more seamless. And we did mention before adding alt text to images like you need to make sure that anytime your theme or anything else allows you to add alt text, you should be doing it. If you don’t have an option, there’s not too much you can do without a developer, unless you know how to go in and do that yourself. But at least if they’re giving you the option, make sure that you’re putting in a clear alt text. And this is meant to be as mentioned before, an alternative to the meaning of the image, like what is the person actually supposed to get from it, not just a full description of what is in the image focused on just the part that actually matters to somebody that was looking at it. If you sell products for older individuals like health and fitness, and you have an image of an older gentleman playing catch, like throwing a baseball to a young kid, you don’t need to describe that they’re in the park and what color clothes they have, this isn’t an audio description, or a text description of the image. It’s just, Oh, it’s a grandfather throwing a baseball to his grandson. And then they can kind of get enough context from that without needing all that extra information. So that’s how you’re supposed to properly use an alt tag. Some people try to say like, you just cram a bunch of SEO stuff into those. That might work for a while, I’m sure Google is gonna get wise to that trick.
Eric Kwoka 33:18
I mean, of course, if you can work them in and have it be relevant to the images, go for it. But don’t just try to shoehorn in extra keywords just because you think you’re going to get rewarded for that. And lastly, one of the other major things is to make it so that focused elements when they’re navigated to by keyboard, but they actually just have a clear outline on it. In the style sheet, there’s what they call a pseudo selector. And this one’s called focus visible, you can look this up how to do this, but you can just say, hey, anything, when it’s focused, visible, give it a blackout light. And now, immediately, anybody that comes to the site can easily just tap through and see exactly where they are, of course, a developer and designer could probably go through and make sure that the styles that you’re giving are a bit more stylish and brand appropriate in different elements. But this is a quick, easy way. Just to get that done. You can’t put a bunch of resources into it, you don’t have a developer, just putting a focus visible outline black, you’ll be good to go on that.
Tanner Larsson 34:36
Guys, it sounds more complicated than it is, it’s really a pretty simple fix. When you get into that it’s just CSS, a little bit of a code thing, but it’s not scary. And it’s honestly something you could do if you don’t want to touch it yourself. It could be done for probably 25 or 30 bucks from a developer. I mean, it wouldn’t take them long to do it at all.
Eric Kwoka 34:59
Even 25 cents, it’s done.
Tanner Larsson 35:03
I just don’t know, any developer that would be like, yeah, I’ll just do it for $1. They’ll probably charge at least $10.
Eric Kwoka 35:08
That’s gonna take five hours. No way to do it faster.
Tanner Larsson 35:12
Totally, so, obviously, we cover a lot, it’s a little bit of scary stuff here. Kind of like, oh, man, people probably never even considered this aspect of it. I know, for a long time, we didn’t either until it kind of started getting in our face. And we learn more and more, but where can people go to learn more about this, get better educated, and kind of get up to speed on what they need to know?
Eric Kwoka 35:37
Yeah, some easy keywords to search for are, you can just go to Google W3C space w AI, that’s the Web Accessibility Initiative. If you want to read the actual full-on standards, you can knock yourself out doing that. But they also have a lot of quick, easy guides, they’re like, Hey, this is what web accessibility is, this is the key. And you can see some videos of people trying to get through websites with different assistive technology. And you’ll see like, Oh, this is not a small difference, this is very critical to a lot of these people’s lives. So that’s easy, W3C space wAI, that will get you plenty of that. And they even have code checkers, we can put in your website, and it’ll go and identify what major issues maybe, as well as if you’ve been doing speed tests on your store, you may have from lighthouse or PageSpeed Insights, they’ll have a section on that, too. They can check if your images have alt tags, but they can’t know whether or not your alt tags are appropriate for the image. So they can only get you so far. But they will kind of maybe give you an idea of where you stand.
Tanner Larsson 37:05
And the fact that you can just submit your site and have a look at your code and give you an idea of it, it’ll start clicking real quick, once you start looking at that kind of stuff, it’ll make a lot more sense. And then there’s other services and apps out there, almost all different platforms have some sort of usability type widget that you can put on your site, we use a couple of different ones. So look, I don’t want to recommend one specifically because of course, we’re kind of getting to the legal realm. And we’re not lawyers, never played one on TV. But I did say at a Holiday Inn kind of thing. So there are some of those out there, you can put those on your site to give an extra layer of assistance for people with disabilities, and then also an extra layer of protection. And it’s kind of standard operating procedure for how we work in stores. Now, it’s one of the first things we do, because it’s becoming more and more important. I mean, it’s always been important. I’m not trying to discount the disability stuff, but it’s really becoming a priority, the more and more of the world we get online.
Eric Kwoka 38:16
Absolutely. It can be very critical for this subset of the population, just to be able to participate in many of these things that we take for granted. And while this has always kind of existed in the physical space, the electronic worlds a lot more of wherever, especially with quarantines and everything. It’s a lot more where we live.
Tanner Larsson 38:38
Yep. Absolutely, guys, so you’ve got some reading ahead of you. On usability standards and stuff like that, don’t freak out. Just realize that there’s some simple stuff you can do to really protect yourself and deliver a better experience to all the different types of users that want to come to your site. And then you may be opening up a whole new sub-segment of your audience that you weren’t unable to serve before. And now, it can become an awesome customer segment for you. So do a good deed and also get rewarded for it would never be a bad thing. So right now guys, what I need you to do is make sure you are subscribed to the podcast. If you’re on YouTube, subscribe there, if you’re on Stitcher or iTunes or Spotify or whatever, whatever platform, you listen to it, make sure you are subscribed. And if you’d like the show notes, or you need links to the different platforms, go to BuildGrowScale.com forward slash podcast, you can access everything there, all the show notes, especially from this one, where we talked a lot about the technical topics. It’ll all be outlined there. make it really easy for you to get and get you rockin. And again, the last final thing is if you enjoy this podcast, which again we do for you, leave us a review. Leave us a comment. Let us know what you think. And if you have ideas for episodes or guests you’d like us to feature drop that in there too. Because again, this podcast is for you and we enjoy doing it but we’d love to have your ideas so we can make it better for you. With that. Thank you, Eric. And we will see you guys in the next episode.
Ecommerce Store Audit
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Ecommerce Store Audit
Want us to do an Audit on your e-commerce store and show you how you can make some quick changes that will dramatically increase sales and profits without increasing your traffic?