Accessible Website Standards for Small Businesses with Erin Perkins
June 20, 2023
Accessible website standards help website owners understand how to be legally compliant with accessibility laws on their websites. But that isn’t the only reason we pay should be paying attention to them (and assuring our website’s meet those accessibility standards). Heck, that isn’t even a good reason why we should pay attention to them!
In fact, the real reason why accessible website standards were created is to make sure that everyone can access the content shared on the internet. And when I say everyone, I mean people with all different abilities.
You see, if you are a person with sight and hearing, you may not understand how difficult it could be to determine what the images on a website are of or what is being said in a video without captions. And while those are only two small examples, those are issues that people with sight and hearing differences deal with on a daily basis.
Is your website accessible to individuals of all abilities?
If the answer is no, it’s important to learn about the accessible website standards and put in effort today to get your website accessible to all viewers. Creating an accessible website is crucial for allowing everyone to access your content.
That’s why on this episode of Talk Copy to Me, I’m excited to sit down with accessibility expert Erin Perkins to discuss accessible website standards that small businesses—okay, let’s be real, all businesses—need to follow. We’ll explore key accessibility practices, including writing proper alt text, button design, and website testing. Additionally, Erin shares insights into her personal journey and her platform, Successible, which provides resources and support for businesses committed to accessibility.
Here is what Erin Perkins and Erin Ollila want you to know about accessible website standards
What the POUR Guidelines are and how they relate to common website accessibility best practices (and legal guidelines!)
Seven on-page suggestions to making your website pages and posts accessible
A Chrome extension suggestion that can help you review your website content to determine how it sounds to people using accessibility tools such as screen readers
Why accessibility overlays often hurt the user’s experience more than help it
The problem with link and button repetition and how it can confuse screen readers
How to update links and buttons for more accessible access and ease of use
Quotes about accessible website standards from Erin Perkins and Erin Ollila (so many Erins!)
“It’s these little things that as someone who has abilities like myself—being able to see or hear—I didn’t think of. But the more you learn, like you said, it’s not that we’re bad, we’re just learning. The more you learn, the better you’re able to communicate with people who are different from yourself.” – Erin Ollila
“We don’t want Band Aid fixes. We know bandaids are temporary. I mean, literally temporary.” – Erin Perkins
“It’s not just ‘Set your website up to be accessible and give yourself a high five that it’s done’. It’s developing practices that constantly put accessibility as a main priority of your website.” – Erin Ollila
“It’s a shocking wake up that you’re potentially excluding consumers who have disposable income that could be shared with your business because you don’t see outside of that bubble you’re in.” – Erin Ollila
“[Website accessibility is] really doing it page by page and just navigating through it until you get it right.” – Erin Perkins
“[Accessibility] doesn’t need to be complicated. I make it not so complicated. But I also help you understand the reasoning why you should do it in a particular way.” – Erin Perkins
“It’s easy to grow into being a better entrepreneur and a more inclusive entrepreneur. It’s not just like a light bulb that turns on and you are one or you’re not one. It’s the practicing of it.” – Erin Ollila
“I created Successible as a platform for business owners who are committed to accessibility. Things are constantly changing, moving, and how do you keep up? And I believe that Successible is the place for it, because it brings together. All the resources that you might find in so many different places— itputs it in all one place.” – Erin Perkins
“If you’re in a community where there are other people who are also learning and trying, there’s a comfort level to know that you’re all imperfectly learning, so more people will feel comfortable to ask the questions and speak up.” – Erin Ollila
From now on, write out image descriptions for all of your social media posts.
Yes, it really is that simple. Make sure all of your images on social media have a description included so that people who are not able to see the image can still be informed of what the image is about.
While Erin suggested doing this on social media, I (Erin Ollila 😉) also want to remind you how important this is to do in the alt text for all of the images you include on your website. We talk about this at length in the episode, but if you don’t have the ability to listen at the moment, know that the number one thing you should be using alt text for is to make your images accessible for people using screen readers.
Are you able to naturally use an SEO keyword in there? Great! But DO NOT—I repeat, do not—use the alt text to stuff keywords without factoring how you will describe the alt text using accessibility best practices.
Again, as an SEO strategist, I implore you to use the alt text firstly for the most important reason it is there: accessibility.
Erin Perkins is a champion of disability rights and an inspiring entrepreneur who advocates for greater accessibility, inclusiveness, and understanding within the business world. As a deafblind woman herself – founder of small online business Mabely Q – as well as an experienced speaker/educator, Erin’s message has been heard by CEOs around the country. Her unique gifts are her life experiences which she compassionately shares with others through keynote speeches, private workshops or one-on-one consulting sessions to foster true inclusion at all levels — allowing people with disabilities equal opportunities to succeed professionally.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform – and even transform – its intended audience. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and went on to co-found Spry, an award-winning online literary journal.
When Erin’s not helping her clients understand their website data or improve their website copy, you can catch her hosting the Talk Copy to Me podcast and guesting on shows such as Profit is a Choice, The Driven Woman Entrepreneur, Go Pitch Yourself, and Counsel Cast.
Stay in touch with Erin Ollila, SEO website copywriter:
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Here’s the transcript for episode 077 on accessible website standards with guest expert Erin Perkins
NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.
accessibility, website accessible standards, accessible websites, accessible website, screen reader, accessible, page, learn, inclusive, seo, disability, put, easy, aaron, business owners, practices, word, question, work, headings, platform, understand
Erin Perkins, Erin Ollila
Erin Ollila 00:04
Hey friends. Welcome to the Talk Copy to Me podcast. Here we empower small business owners to step into the spotlight with their marketing and messaging. I’m your host, Erin Ollila. Let’s get started and talk coffee. Hello friends today you have a special recording because you have to Aaron’s in one. I am here with Aaron Perkins. And you may know her as a champion of disability rights and an entrepreneur who really advocates for greater accessibility along the whole spectrum of being a business owner of showing up on websites, which is what we’re going to talk about today. But one thing you don’t know about Aaron is that she really hates onions with a passion. I love this polarizing statement. Tell me about it. Oh, gosh.
Erin Perkins 01:01
Something that I never like the kid did. I’ve been a kid when my mom would always make spaghetti and meatball or onion ah to eat the pasta plain. Eat it. It tastes on by my younger sister. Because I knew and and everything and I will pick it out. I don’t care. Yeah. Well, I
Erin Ollila 01:27
think that’s onions are one of those things where it’s like you either love them or you don’t like them. Like there’s not really too much of a middle ground. Because I love onions. So when you say that I’m like, There’s never too many onions. But it’s but they’re here to Aaron’s with different opinions on onions. I’m so grateful to have you on the show today. Because I care a lot about you know, building accessible websites. But even myself who I feel like I have tried to do work to learn about how to do that. There are still things I’m learning when it comes on how to be as accessible as possible. So I would say for the most part, one thing my audience isn’t really sure of would be what is an accessible website? How would one know that they’re actually building a website that is inclusive to all different types of people?
Erin Perkins 02:24
Yeah, for sure. I mean, one of the biggest thing even I made this mistake was I word all my graphic with tech, upside using Illustrator, or InDesign or Photoshop, depending on my favorite, my favorite tool in Illustrator is not readable by clean. So that website not accessible. Everything that you can like when they you go and try to highlight everything that is easily accessible by the current reader, the screen reader can go through and read it out loud. It also color contrast, enjoy that you have the brand, a meeting like I know if you’re like a wedding photographer, you probably want light, pretty balloon, but like abuse to light color together can’t read that not having your website on your computer, it’s really difficult on your phone. And think about it a lot of people are doing things on the go. So there’s like so many things that you do have to take into account. When you’re building a website. Those are like some of the main factors.
Erin Ollila 03:39
Those are the things I don’t think people think of like when they think of just website design, like you mentioned, when it comes when it comes to contrast. They’re picking colors that they like, they’re not picking colors that necessarily work well. When it comes to the contrast for people to be able to see the text or to see the image or icon that they’re using. Sometimes I think what makes an accessible website are the things that we don’t automatically think of on our own. I know one thing that people have been surprised about that I have talked to them in the past. And this is definitely something I don’t feel like I’m an expert in is that there are actually guidelines when it comes to needing to have a website that’s accessible. I know the ADEA the American Disabilities Act has one and in doing my research, I saw that there are some global guidelines as well. Is there anything that the average business owner really needs to know to like do for these guidelines?
Erin Perkins 04:44
I will say one of the biggest thing that I find it does Wi Fi ag the website content accessibility guideline. There are three that are easy to get overwhelmed and they Just don’t do it. And I don’t blame them. I’ve like literally sat at my desk and I’m right. This is not in the most status language you can put possible cultivated guideline is based on the poor acronym P O U. So is perceivable. What are you? Oh?
Erin Ollila 05:23
No, but I googled it
Erin Perkins 05:24
for you. And the I don’t even remember, because there’s not like,
Erin Ollila 05:31
I just found it. It’s Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and robust.
Erin Perkins 05:38
Yeah, so T, those are easy to remember. Because these words can mean anything. And even when I was getting certified for the adaptability, I constantly got some of those things flipped around because of the more that didn’t make sense. To me, when it comes to making sure your website is accessible, one goes to your website, just your keyboard. So when you do that, that will like really tell you how he did it, navigate your website, to you had that post in the idea platform. So a one, a two, a three, a four, when you use that the screen reader will read is Ted heter. Loud, and the person who’s using it can pick where they want to go to only use Title One, one time, everything out is the projector, this is kind of going back to grade school, maybe fifth grade. So if I think about structuring your website, like an outline, then you have one header, everything else. So when you break it down with that, I think it will make it a lot easier for people to navigate.
Erin Ollila 07:02
I love that you say that, because I’m constantly telling people who are nervous to write blog post, to think of it like an outline or like a, you know, high school paper, there’s an introduction, there’s a conclusion, and then you have like, support. So if you translate that to thinking about website pages, it’s kind of the same, right? Your h1 is the title, like what is this page about your and then the rest of your, you know, H level headings are in kind of like introducing the main point or a supporting point. But but it’s organized. And that’s the key, right? Because if you are using a screen reader to the headings are being like read to you, then you’d want to make sure that they actually make sense in the correct order that you’re sharing them.
Erin Perkins 07:53
Yeah, exactly. And then there is a Chrome extension where you can like, do what it actually sound like your website sounds to you. So you can use that. So I think you would just like Google extension or pop up.
Erin Ollila 08:12
Yeah, that’s great. And that’s a great way for someone who can, you know, that doesn’t have the budget to have, like, let’s say a full website audit where someone else is checking things like accessibility for them, they can check these things on their own, as you know, maybe it’s something that they’re doing annually or BI annually, to make sure that they’re, you know, staying as accessible as possible. One other thing when you are talking about the headings, actually, I was curious about whether you had opinions about how accessibility and SEO play together. And the reason I thought of that was the headings, right? Because we want to make sure that our headings are being used as one way to add seo keywords in. But a problem that I have is so often, people are taught SEO tricks that work against accessibility. I guess the question I’m asking is, is there a way accessibility and SEO can play nicely together?
Erin Perkins 09:13
Oh, 100. I mean, like, every time we were asked to write your ideal for that entire page, you really want to think about it logically in a way what does it take talk about? And describe it so that people who get a stammer is literally like you that the Axio was like a little tweet, you trying to get the most amount of content in like two or three weeks and when you start dumping P word and making it non coherent, like you’re using keywords and you’re not making complete sense, that’s when it’s gonna work against you. So it’s really and people leave your website. They’re like, Oh, that’s all on your own into gibberish, that none of this makes time, I’m not going to stay on this page, to get the experience, I will say 78% of the people literally leave website when it’s not acceptable, and they will not return because we just simply don’t have patience for the area. Other places where we can go and have a better venue,
Erin Ollila 10:31
we talk a lot about in the business world that we can’t serve everyone, right. But to flip that around, our consumers don’t need to buy from us because they have all of the other options. So if, if your competitor is working toward building an accessible website, and you’re not, they’re not going to waste their time trying to understand what you’re saying, and you’re not doing it well, because you’re only writing towards one segment of the population. So the same thing goes right, like, we can’t serve everyone as business owners, but all of those people, they don’t have to hire us. And they don’t even have to consider hiring us. Because if we’re not trying to include more people in our world, then what’s the point for them?
Erin Perkins 11:25
Oh, my gosh, yeah, I mean, that you’re exactly right. If I don’t have a good thing, somewhere, I’m gonna shoot it the same with airline, if I’m, if I have a better experience with one airline, I’m going to keep going back to them. The same thing apply to like any website, or whatnot, there’s plenty of competition out there, very few people actually walk in and make an effort to ensure that the website is testable. So therefore, you have even less competition. If you go ahead and put everything in place, right now, you’ll have most of the people will go to your website, when they know it’s going to be a good experience from A to D.
Erin Ollila 12:12
You know, one thing I found so interesting, when I looked at your website is that you had if you don’t mind me, quoting you had said, research shows that there are over 25 million Americans. And we’re gonna just play down here, this is not global. This is just an America who are living with disabilities. And they make up around 12.5% of the total population, with $490 billion in disposable income. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad here. But I think that as a human, as humans, we’re so often not able to look out of our own bubbles. And we don’t realize that there is a larger world out there outside of ourselves. So I think that puts it in context for people who maybe didn’t understand accessibility was a problem, because it’s not the life that they live, because these are not experiences that they need. And I hate that I have to put it in those words. So they can hear, you know, $490 billion in disposable income. But when we now as business owners are looking for clients, that’s a shocking wake up, that you’re potentially excluding consumers who have disposable income that could be shared with your business, because you don’t see outside of that bubble. So again, this isn’t me trying to make anyone feel bad if they’ve never considered accessibility before. It’s just a reminder why it’s so important. It’s not just about you as your business. It’s about all of the people you could be serving when your offers or your products or your services.
Erin Perkins 14:02
Yeah, that is actually something that I share and why people really like they like to work with me because I don’t make them feel bad for not knowing anybody, because you don’t know what you don’t know. Yeah. And like even I would in my own little bubble. Well, like the to the world I know. And then when you start opening up and it’s like, oh, okay, like, I didn’t know any better. And like, it’s definitely never no intention to make people feel bad. But it’s like, okay, now you know, what you can do about it? Like, how are you going to make things better? How are you going to improve and that’s how I like really got into teaching business owners about a testability because I would want to learn from people and then I wouldn’t be able to put a lot of them had, like, I wouldn’t be able to to pay, in fact, action bonuses because I wouldn’t be able to find the answer as to whether the videos would caption or if I needed an interpreter, that kind of thing. So a lot of times I’d be like, oh, shoot, I can’t participate, and then I’m waiting for an answer by then the slaves. So it’s like the practice to get me in a buy, takes a lot longer. That’s why I’m why you need to make sure that you address certain things. When you offer like, video, stuff like that. If I see that your video, the question is more likely that I might write it for video caption on a stealth page, I’m more likely to be like, I can buy with more confidence. Yeah, from them.
Erin Ollila 15:51
Yeah, I’m so glad you brought that up, because it kind of reminds me of like, the multiple episodes that I have. And I’m interviewing for right now. So your episode is going live kind of in a series that talks about inclusivity and accessibility but in different ways. So often, at least in America right now, I think we think of being inclusive as it relates to race or gender, not ability, right, which is why I’m so grateful that you’re here to talk about this. I don’t know when it will come out. Probably it might be a couple months from when this episode goes live. But I’m also doing an episode on audio and video and talking about the idea that when we offer things such as podcast, for example, within a course, will people who may respond better when it comes to learning by hearing have that option, same with video, like, including captions to allow people who respond better to learning when it comes to reading that option. And while of course, you know, this is multiple episodes that are making the point. I think it’s it’s something I didn’t consider and and that’s coming from someone who cares a lot about being inclusive, I didn’t understand that different learning methods were very important to different communities. So there’s levels here, we talk about websites, or sales copy, let’s say we need someone to be able to, and I’m gonna put quotes on this read the message, right. And I say, quotes, because you know, some people may be using screen readers to hear the message in our copy. But it goes beyond that. So what happens after you’ve made the sale, if you want to claim that you are an inclusive business, you need to have practices built into your business that are being excessive or being inclusive and offering accessible. When it comes to like courses, learning methods, when it comes to services, the same thing. You and I had talked via email, because I messaged you at the last minute realizing the studio that I record in does not have closed captioning in a live recording, whereas something like zoom would. So it’s these little things that as someone who has different abilities like myself being able to see or hear I didn’t think of, but the more you learn, like you said, you know, it’s not that we’re bad. We’re just learning. The more you learn, the better you’re able to communicate with people who are different from yourself.
Erin Perkins 18:35
But so I mean, like that’s the important thing is you learn you adapt, you reframe. But the truth is a lot of these like platform. I like website platforms, I feel like it is their responsibility to protect the consumers who build the website on your platform. Yeah. And do I think they’re doing a good job? No, I definitely don’t know. And that’s a huge problem, because I feel like you’re setting up your consumer for a lawsuit. Yeah, I don’t like using the word life too. But it happened. The number of digital website lawsuits have been like skyrocketing. And the numbers still feel low has like 2022 over 2000 website that might not feel like hi to the so many websites, but I still don’t want you to become a victim. Sure. The small thing, that’s why I put a statement on my website because I am committed to it. If you have any issue, please reach out to me. Let me know what the issue is so that I can remedy that because no I feel like if possible to get above 90% of your website. But, but you’re gonna miss something.
Erin Ollila 20:02
Yeah. And I think something to say to add to that is, you can put in the effort to get a more accessible website. But this is a continuous process. So something I catch myself failing at all the time is my alt text when I’m putting up show notes and things like that, because it’s what for me feels like I forget, because I don’t recognize the importance of it. And again, this is coming from someone who’s done a lot of studying on things like website accessibility over the years now, and I know the importance, but as someone who doesn’t need the screen reader or any interpretive tools, I forget. So it’s not just set your website up to be accessible and give yourself a high five that it’s done. It’s developing practices that constantly put accessibility as a main priority of your website. Because getting the pages accessible is one thing. But again, all of those post those show notes, those case studies, the videos like you mentioned, they really also are every time you add something, you have to keep accessibility as a priority.
Erin Perkins 21:21
Yeah, though, one thing that people go with, and I noticed that all the time, and I don’t think it’s huge plot, it’s a problem. But I can understand why people don’t do it. It’s a link. But people use the same link button throughout the whole thing to say, so say you have a blog page, and you say read more. But if you have that link five times on the same page, okay, how is the screen reader to post to know where they’re gonna go next? Yeah, so like, the little thing that I think a lot of people don’t think about the like, where’s it gonna take me, okay? That’s why it’s, like, I encourage people to step outside of their comfort zone and figure out how to view your website in in different way. Like, go on your phone and turn off the down, and D would like to go, if you have a lot of videos on your website, because through your course, like, go through it like that test the cremated out D how that feel like from that point of view, because it’s a journey. The other thing is do not do accessibility overlay. They do. People will tell you on them, they do not work, they actually impede with the Eudald usually when domine oily Hey, something that up on their computer, clean widow kind of interfere with that. It doesn’t create a good experience is just a band aid effect. We want to go and fix the root of the pub. We don’t want being infested. We know band aids are temporary. I mean, literally temporary.
Erin Ollila 23:18
Yeah, I’m so glad you said that. Because one of the questions I was calling to ask you is, is there any tech tools that people can use, because I wasn’t honest, I didn’t understand that they could actually impede whatever it is that the end user had set up on the side, on their own side. So I’m glad that you you mentioned that because that wasn’t something I was thinking of asking you directly. Now, I don’t know if this is the right question. But is there a priority way of approaching these changes? So let’s say someone is listening and they’re they recognize that they have a lot of gaps that they need to resolve? Is do you have any suggestions on where to start to do this?
Erin Perkins 24:04
I mean, that’s a loaded question because I feel like it can be challenging because I I still struggle with it myself to Joe like I’m not 100% perfect because I did not like I can afford a web design into festival the thing for me, but really, I would just like that going through page by page and just like checking every link checking, like make sure is we will like you want to check your header. Check all your images, make sure everything inside out and check all your links and make sure they actually tell you where they are going. It cannot say be more here for a demo on my website. I have like four At UCLA, and I tell you, like an each one take you on a different journey, and Eastlink that where you’re gonna go. So that way, you’re super clear on it. And then after that, make sure your FTO for that, pay it to be clear choice really doing like, page by page and just like navigating through right, until you get it right. And oh, yeah, Sheffield colors.
Erin Ollila 25:30
Hmm, that’s a good one, too. Yeah. And when just as an example, when Aaron says that she has four column four different links that go elsewhere, I’ll read them for you. So you can understand how to create the buttons in a way that it reads naturally. But it’s done in an accessible way. So one of them is sign up for your accessibility audit. So obviously, when someone sees that in a screen reader or excuse me hears that in a screen reader. They know what that step is, they know that if they click that they’re going to sign up for an audit. And other ones are higher Aaron to speak. I think that’s understandable as well. Right. And I think the what, what I think the key message here is accessibility can actually not be difficult if you’re also doing other things correctly, when it comes to like copywriting and SEO. So one thing I talk to my clients about whether we’re starting from scratch, or we’re editing their website, is what’s the main goal of this page? What’s the main point you want to make? And what’s the main action? You want them to take? Those? The answer to those two things, answers everything you just said in regard to accessibility. So where do you want them to move on the site? Maybe it’s a contact page? Well, in that case, it could the button itself could say something like, you know, here’s how we can connect next or something to that effect. And that’s even vague, but it’s still could it’s clear that you’re bringing them into a way that you can connect pass the website. But when Aaron mentioned before is like what be clear with your SEO on the page. It’s not just for your purposes of SEO, because when anyone lands on your site, if they searched a term, like let’s just take me, for example, website copywriter, and they’re trying to hire a website copywriter, they want to make sure that they landed in the right place, am I actually a website copywriter, if all of a sudden I start selling T shirts on the page, it’s going to be mighty confusing to any end user. So now when we’re doing things like using SEO, keyword phrases, and making sure we’re following accessibility practices, we’re doing the right thing. We’re making it easier for ourselves in the messaging easier for the end user in the messaging. So I think it’s, I don’t want to use the word easy. That’s not the right word. But it’s as simple as thinking of this all at once. What’s this page about? How can I make this as clear as possible to the people who are reading it? And using obviously, assistive tech to be able to interpret the message that I’m sharing?
Erin Perkins 28:20
For sure. I mean, you nailed it right there. Thank you making it I mean, I haven’t caught that that accessibility made easy, because why does it need to be complicated? It’s done. It needs to be competent, isn’t about thinking about how am I building this into my practices. So that is all goes like integrated. And we always say, are practicing, like living, breathing, document like everything, not that in turn your tech constantly change it. Um, even you pivot your business constantly changes to your adapting, you figuring out what your clients like, what they don’t like, and you and you say, adapting, and that’s the team thing, which is that ability when you build it, and then you’re like, Oh, I even have a better way to do that. And then you can do it from that point. So it doesn’t need to be complicated. I make it not too complicated. But I also help you understand the reasoning why you should do it in a pitch check your way, but I don’t lock people into you have to do everything that way. Because I also understand everybody learns differently. Everybody taught us to think differently. They have a method to the madness. We all have a method to our madness. So that’s why when I teach people, it’s like you take what you learn and you figure out, figure out how to improve waded into your pasta. That’s what makes it easy.
Erin Ollila 30:05
And I love how when I asked you like, Well, how do people get started? Your answer was, there are many ways to get started and many ways to do this. But you can just go page by page like that could be the simple start, right, like, commit to your homepage, do do the different things that Aaron suggested. And then I think when you start putting these practices into your business, they’re going to become more comfortable, they’re going to become easier. So that made me by the time you get to your contact page, you will have done it a few times, and you won’t, it won’t feel so foreign to you, it will feel much more natural. And like you mentioned part of your actual processes. And I think that’s where people forget, like, it’s easy to grow into being a better entrepreneur, and more inclusive entrepreneur. It’s not just like a light bulb that turns on and you are one or you’re not one, it’s the practicing of it. It’s the like, like I mentioned, I know better for all text, and I forget it pretty frequently. So that’s for me, when it comes to like going back and doing the work, I need to go and check where am I missing this? And what pages Am I missing this on? And and adding to it, because we’re all evolving, and like, you know, there’s no light switch. So it’s just take the take the steps, get the practice, and eventually it will become a lot more natural within your processes to do this.
Erin Perkins 31:35
Yeah, I would love to share one my favorite quote with a by Ola chi and the founder, Project disability, she said being disabled is the one group you do not have to be born into my fight and your fight should be Richard work toward disability justice, because anybody can become the table at any point in our life. And we will all have been disability at one point in our lives, whether it’s permanent or temporary. Yeah, because as we get older thing change, like, I feel like the number of for people who have disabilities now is now at like 20 to 25%. In the United States alone, because of COVID. It created long term COVID For a lot of people, and they’ve had to relearn how to do something could they just simply can’t. Yeah,
Erin Ollila 32:35
I really appreciate you bringing this up, because our conversation has been about mostly hearing and seeing as it relates to websites. But I think for the people who are still struggling to understand it, maybe it’s as simple as thinking of like, even people, you know, people with autoimmune disorders can have disabilities, you know, just just being disabled isn’t something that you visually see. And that’s how you know, a person is disabled, there. And there’s also a spectrum of ability. So if you’re struggling to understand this, sometimes just look at your own, your own self, your family, your immediate network. And I think that’s where you’ll have, this is not the word I want to use, but like more compassion, to be able to take better steps to be inclusive yourself. Because again, we’re, I want to, you know, keep my fingers crossed. We’re not bad guys out there in the world, right? Like, if this is new to you, you’re not a bad guy, you’re just learning. So you will I think people learn better when they can see it within their own bubble. And those are examples, like you mentioned, long COVID things that make it difficult for people to do anything in terms of disability, not just because hey, I don’t like doing the dishes here. But there’s many different ways to look at it. And I think if you can see it within your own bubble, it’s will make you more motivated to take the steps to just learn these things.
Erin Perkins 34:10
Yeah, I mean, like you can probably I mean we all have most of us have grandparents or we have so many that are older in our life that you might look at and be like you don’t consider them disabled but there are some things that don’t prevent them from being able to do a thing that you if you look at it from their point of view is like my parents like my mom like trying to get her to use a computer is like she’s like I don’t understand this in a minute okay, by law me too simple, basic way that you weren’t hurt because she she still has buying power for her to navigate to something that you make the language with complicated you make, like trying to push it something complicated. She’s going to leave your website. Not simple like. And also keep in mind, just because you need to make something simple and beta did not mean your website cannot be created gorgeous, beautiful in filing and cannot it can be 100% can be.
Erin Ollila 35:26
Yeah, I’m glad you said that. Because that’s absolutely the truth like these changes, the contrast, the phrasing, the size of fonts, all these things, they’re not going to ruin design, they’re going to amplify it because more people will be able to interpret the design and the messaging that you have. Yeah. Before we end, the one thing I wanted to talk about was your successful community, or platform? Excuse me, can you tell me a little bit more about what that is?
Erin Perkins 35:55
So I created susceptible, because one thing I’ve noticed, with my course acceptability Made Easy that there are constant updates that are needed related to accessibility because technology’s changes. And I created to Tesco as a platform for business owners who are committed to accessibility, because then the continents change and moving and how do you keep up. And I believe that textbook is a place for it. Because it brings together all the resources that you might find in so many different places, put it in all one place, and I’m constantly bringing up new thing to teach and show you like, what have something to do. Now I’m often looking at how social media works, and how do we make that accessible? How do we improve on things, I have to bring together other business owners that are committed to it. When you’re all in the same boat, maybe you several of you have the same issue. This is a great place to connect and be like, Look, I’m having a problem. Like I’m muting this podcast, recording platform. It’s not acceptable. How can I make it acceptable? Yeah, and who else would be like, Oh, I found other platform, then they can shift everybody over. So it’s little things like that, that I believe that festival is the place for business owners to come together and just really learn and continue to be yes, testable without feeling like you’re doing it on your own.
Erin Ollila 37:38
I agree. And I think another way that it’s helpful is maybe people will feel less nervous to ask their questions, right? Because I think that’s part of the problem is, and I can say even myself, you know, like when you really want to be working in the right direction, sometimes the questions you have feel silly to you, because you feel like other people already know how to do these things. And, and maybe you already are having inclusive practices. So why don’t you know how to do those things, right. Like, there’s a lot of negative talk, I think that goes on while you’re learning and trying. So if you’re in a community, like successful, where there are other people who are also learning and trying, and maybe they’re a little ahead of you, maybe they’re a little behind you with their own journey, I think there’s a comfort level to know that you’re all imperfectly learning. So more more people will feel comfortable to, to ask the questions and speak up.
Erin Perkins 38:34
Right? I never, like I always tell people is a safe faith. There’s no judgement here. Like, ask any question because I’m often learning to I’ve done something that I’m just like, Queen worthy, like my first plan. Very clean word is beautiful, but it was not acceptable at all. But that’s okay. Right?
Erin Ollila 39:01
Absolutely. Because you, you’re learning as a human and a business owner, it goes back to our own bubble again, is we only understand what it is that we may need, right? Until we start to learn about what other people may need. So if you could give a very small homework assignment to the listeners based on our conversation, what is one thing that you would assign them to do?
Erin Perkins 39:27
Right, it means to give chin for all your social media posts. Oh, I love that. That’s another thing starting from today, but yeah,
Erin Ollila 39:37
that’s another thing that I fall off the track with. I were like, I will constantly find myself doing it until I realized one day I haven’t done that in a little while. So I’m glad that you brought that up because we didn’t talk about that. And it’s as simple as describing what’s in the picture friends like there doesn’t need to be paragraphs upon paragraphs on like what color what precise color of pink what stripers compared to another pink stripe, you could just say, you know, here’s a picture of Erin, a white woman with brown here wearing a pink striped shirt. And you’ve done your duty there. I because I feel like that’s one thing I see sometimes is like, a very long image description of a very plain picture. And I appreciate the effort, but it’s a lot.
Erin Perkins 40:27
Yeah, I actually talked to someone who is both depth line earlier this weekend, and I asked her like, do you really even like ribbon tanning a lot of gifts? I’m like, is there a way we can make them easier for you? If she’s like, Oh, I don’t care. I just pay attention to the words. I’m like, Oh, okay. So everyone is different, like, people that really give me all the questions I want them to know. Honestly, just keep it simple. But also ask question as well. Don’t assume that they want this whole, like, in depth question. I have fun with my all tests, because it really forces me to learn how to write better. So just have fun with it. Don’t don’t feel like you’re going to it’s going to be wrong, because all testing image description in 100%, based on perspective, as well,
Erin Ollila 41:30
yeah. Yeah. I appreciate you saying that. Because I think maybe that’s what holds people back is just the worry that they’re going to do it wrong, when doing something at all is a great step forward. And my final question for you is, has there been any type of content and it doesn’t have to be writing, but any type of content that’s really been important to your business, maybe it’s moved your business forward or something that you were excited about creating?
Erin Perkins 41:59
Um, I have to say that working with my coach, Heather Crabtree, she’s the one who really pushed me on launching susceptible, because I learned something similar last year and and completely fell flat. But working with her that she she really like got me to open my mind up and realizing that deductible is going to be a lot bigger than where I’m donating it. Now. I have a big dream for this.
Erin Ollila 42:33
Yeah, as you should, because it’s a great platform for people to kind of like you mentioned, connect, learn and grow together. And I have the highest hopes for you too. Thank you so much, Erin. I appreciate talking to another Erin for one. And also all of the Insight you’ve shared with us today. It’s been so helpful and I just really appreciate your time.
Erin Perkins 42:55
Yeah, thank you for having me.
Erin Ollila 43:00
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of Top copy to me. If you enjoyed spending your time with me today. I would be so honored if you could subscribe to the show and leave a review. Want to continue the conversation. Head on over to Instagram and follow me Erin Ollila. Until next time friends
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