Globally Inclusive Websites with Danbee Shin

This is an image of Danbee Shin an expert in globally inclusive websites for the Talk Copy to Me podcast

It’s easy to assume that we all have inclusive websites, and we aren’t actively excluding people. However, the more I talked to Danbee Shin about how to design an inclusive website for this episode of the Talk Copy to Me podcast, the more I realized that I actually had a lot to learn — and I like to pride myself as being a person who cares about and continuously learns about inclusive practices. But yet, there were things I was doing on my own website that didn’t factor in the experiences of a global audience.

What about you?

Did you consider a global audience when you wrote your website copy or hired a copywriter to do all the messaging and copy? If not, this episode is perfect for you. And even if you did, you’ll want to listen in because inclusivity isn’t something you can set and forget.

If you listen you’ll learn more about the importance of cultural sensitivity and the ethical considerations you should take when engaging with communities outside of your own, how design and images factor into inclusive practices, and why it’s important to constantly be improving as you grow and learn as a person and a business owner.

Copy says: Listen in to this episode of the Talk Copy to Me podcast

Here is what Danbee Shin and Erin want you to know about globally inclusive websites

  • What having a globally inclusive website actually means
  • Whether you can be globally inclusive, yet still serve one type of client or niche
  • The need for businesses to consider a global audience when creating and updating their websites
  • What mistakes people make often with inclusive website design and copy
  • If tech tools can help when it comes to making your website globally inclusive
  • Where inclusion work goes wrong for so many people
  • The use of globally inclusive language choices and how language translation works on websites
  • How to approach authentic representation with the images you choose in your marketing

While you’re here, I invite you to check out these similar Talk Copy to Me podcast interviews about inclusivity, accessibility and the changes in marketing in 2023

quotes from this episode of the Talk Copy to Me copywriting podcast

Quotes about globally inclusive websites from Danbee and Erin

  • “In the simplest terms, for me, [global inclusion] means that you create a website that makes people from all sorts of different backgrounds, who hold different identities, feel welcome in that your community and feel like they belong there, like they’re in the right place, they don’t have to be anyone else, they can just show up the way they are. And they will be appreciated for that.” – Danbee Shin

  • “We’re not starting this conversation to scare you that you have to go redo your entire website. But we want you to kind of have the idea that the current state of your website might be excluding people. You need to kind of work on this now. This isn’t a to do later. This is a let’s make the changes we can so that way we are more globally inclusive now and into the future.” – Erin Ollila

  • “The mistake is thinking that you can just add on a tech solution and that will take care of your problems. You don’t have to think about it again. That’s a box checked and you can move on with the other stuff and that’s just not how it works.” – Danbee Shin

  • “If you’re not looking at your analytics, you don’t actually know what countries [your audience is] coming from, what needs they may have. So I think that there is a real beauty in the idea of doing that research.” – Erin Ollila

  • “Often the best solution for outsiders who want to help is learn about the work that’s already being done on the ground, the research that’s being done, the people who are affected, and then putting their support behind the locals, the experts on the ground who are already doing the work.” – Danbee Shin

  • “When you make it more inclusive for one group of people, you’re also making it more inclusive for everyone else.” – Danbee Shin

Think about your own identity and how much you share of yourself in your marketing.

Danbee says, “For me, I’m always quite aware of the fact that I’m South Korean. That makes me East Asian. I speak Korean as my mother tongue; I speak English as a second language. I’m also a heterosexual woman; I have light skin; and all of these things affect how I’m included in certain spaces and how I’m erased in those very same spaces. And I think before we start thinking about how that affects other people in our networks, it’s important to look inwards, and think about how that affects the way you show up. So that’s something you don’t have to talk to anyone else about, you can just do in your own time. And I think that’ll help you look at things, hopefully, in a fresh way.”

Meet this episodes guest expert on Talk Coy to Me

Danbee Shin is a web designer turned course creator for inclusive businesses. She helps web designers and online business owners serve audiences from all around the world.

Through her course, Fast Track, she helps web designers grow their businesses and earn full-time incomes without hiding who they are.

Her newest course, Globally Inclusive Websites, teaches online business owners how to create inclusive websites that are welcoming to diverse and international audiences.

Danbee’s work is based on her experience leading diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives for startups and Fortune 500 companies across multiple countries, and growing her own web design business to 6 figures in under 3 years.

To learn more about Danbee, visit her website. And then connect with her on Instagram.

Get to Know the Host of the Talk Copy to Me Podcast Erin Ollila

Learn more about your host, Erin Ollila

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:

Here’s the transcript for episode 076 on globally inclusive website design and copy with guest expert Danbee Shin

NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors. SUMMARY KEYWORDS global inclusion, globally inclusive websites, inclusivity, inclusive website design, inclusive websites, website, inclusive, global currencies, inclusion, global SPEAKERS Erin Ollila, Danbee Shin 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. To low friend, today you are joining me to have a conversation with Don Bishan. You may know her as a website, designer, and course creator. But what you don’t know about donburi is that she is actually a mechanical engineer by training. She says she chose engineering because hashtag isn’t parents. And also because she felt like it would help leave her options open at the age of 10 to 12. She said she didn’t have a clear answer to the question. What do you want to be when you grow up? So here’s my question. Did you decide you were going to be a mechanical engineer at the age of 12? Or did was that already predestined for you? Danbee Shin 01:09 I know that was me thinking, I think if I become an engineer, I will have more options. And I will buy myself some time to figure out what I want to do with my life. It didn’t quite work out and mechanical engineering because I understood that that was one of the broadest fields within engineering to go into. No one told me that computer engineering was actually going to be the degree of our generation. But yeah, even after I studied engineering, I did not know what I wanted to do. And I spent a lot my time actually looking for jobs where I would be able to try a lot of different things in different industries and in different countries. And you know, I eventually, I just figured that the best solution was to work for myself. Erin Ollila 01:56 So when you went into working for yourself, did you go right into website design? Or was that also a learning process until you decided what you wanted to settle on? Danbee Shin 02:06 I have a number of failed businesses in my way. Never know that framing? Yeah. For a long time, as I was figuring out how I wanted to build my corporate career, I think I started getting this feeling in the back of my mind that actually maybe what I want to do is work for myself. Erin Ollila 02:28 So we’re here today to talk about inclusive websites. And I really appreciate your insight into this conversation. And you’re bringing a global perspective to this, which may be one of the pieces that I had read from you on your own blog, I think was was getting my wheels turning to be like, I don’t know why I’ve been in the website game for so long and haven’t even thought of some of these things that you had mentioned. That’s framing our conversation friends. But when we talk about inclusive websites, do you think that there is an easy way that you could describe them to the audience so they know kind of what we’re getting into with our conversation. Danbee Shin 03:06 In the simplest terms, for me, it means that you create a website that makes people from all sorts of different backgrounds, who hold different identities, feel welcome in that your community and feel like they belong there, like they’re in the right place, they don’t have to be anyone else, they can just show up the way they are. And they will be appreciated for that. There’s so many different layers to being inclusive, whether it’s making sure your website is accessible for people with disabilities, making sure you use inclusive language so that you aren’t perpetuating biases and stereotypes that are already out there about certain groups of people and making people feel like they’re not welcome in your spaces. When I talk about Global Inclusion. For me, it’s really about thinking about people in different parts of the world. So that means people who speak different languages, people who hold different cultural and cultural identities and nationalities and people who are just in physically geographically in different parts of the world. And I think the part that becomes a little complicated is, well, you know, if you talk to if you’re talking to everyone, you’re not talking to anyone, right you’re talking to nobody is, is the advice that we’re given or the warning we’re given in the marketing space. And what I’m talking about when we talk about inclusion is we’re not saying your business has to serve everyone. But insofar as your business is serving a group of people with a very specific set of needs. People have this need all over the world, and you might be leaving people out just because you’re focusing on a very narrow sliver of the people you can help. Erin Ollila 04:55 Yeah, and I think it’s important to point out that you can be a niche down noun, and just certain particular language choices will allow you to be more inclusive. I actually had a funny conversation with a friend who I had told I was going to be doing an interview about this this week. And she said, What does this mean that I need to make sure my website is in every language in the world? And I was like, No, but I’m glad that you said that, though. Because I feel like that’s probably a very common misconception right away, right? You know, because there are Google itself has translators built in. But if you visit, visit a website from a different country, and you get asked if you’d like to translate the language, so you can understand it better, that is helpful. But the point of what we’re trying to say is, it’s not as simple as the words that we choose, it is the message that we share. And in some instances, maybe you have to have like a heavier hand of being more globally inclusive. But in others, it could just be the teeny, tiny phrasings and whether you acknowledge that you offer like payments in different currencies, or, or whatever that it is, right, it could be these tiny touches. So we’re not starting this conversation to like, scare you that you have to go like, redo your entire website. But we want you to kind of have the idea that the current state of your website might be excluding people, you need to kind of work on this now, like, this isn’t a like to do later, this is a, let’s make the changes we can. So that way, we are more globally inclusive, it now and into the future. When you work with people on this or even like the people who are going through your program, and they’re asking you questions, are you noticing that there are certain things that either work well, or like big mistakes that people make when it comes to updating their website to be more inclusive? Danbee Shin 06:49 Let’s talk about what people what kind of mistakes people stumble on? Because I think that can often be helpful. It’s very closely related to the language solution that you hinted at. Right? Like, does it mean that your website needs to be available in different languages? In a way, it’s quite simple, right? You just slap on a tool, and there are so many different options out there today that will do that for you. In that similar vein, people look at tech solutions, can I slap on an accessibility widget? Because then people can choose you know, the contrast they want the color scheme they want? That’s that works for them? Can we slap on a there are these plugins were based on your IP address, they will give you a discount code using you know geolocation based indices that calculate, like your purchasing power based on the country you’re in. And I think in every, in each of these examples, the mistake is thinking that you can just add on a tech solution. And that will take care of your problems. You don’t have to think about it again, that’s a box checked, and you can move on with the other stuff. And that’s just not how it works. It’s It’s It’s things that you change today based on what you know, today. And it’s it’s never done, right, you continue to learn. And as you learn, you implement more changes because your business and your website should reflect you as a person in that kind of moment in time. Erin Ollila 08:20 I’m so glad you said this, because next week’s episode, where is actually the one about accessibility? And we had this conversation about tech tools, like are there tech tools that can not give people a shortcut, but help them make it easier for people to use their websites? And I asked the question, thinking the answer would be yes, this is a great idea, because I’ve seen them on other people’s websites and felt guilty that I didn’t have them on my own. And you know, the answer was actually surprising to me. And I won’t get into that completely. But it’s the same thing that you’re saying, regard to like, there are tools, but the tools are not necessarily what’s actually going to help you because that’s a band aid, right? Like it’s, it’s giving you a temporary fix to what you’re trying to accomplish. But any website adjustments, maybe even like plugin changes, code breaks, any of these things that may happen, is removing that band aid, and you’re back at the exact place you are right now. And what’s happened throughout that time is you haven’t learned you haven’t grown as a human right. And that’s a waste. I think we all want to make sure we are growing and becoming better global citizens, Danbee Shin 09:29 right. And when you don’t, when you implement a tech solution without really thinking through your own personal take on why this is a good solution, because that’s often what’s happening. You can end up implementing get tech fixes that are actually in line with what you want to achieve. So for example, this discount tool I it’s top of mind because I’ve been in some conversations about it. And what happens is you go on a website Oh, it says oh, it looks like you’re in such and such Country, here’s a discount coupon based on your country’s purchasing power. Like on the surface that looks great, it means that your offers are becoming more, more accessible, price wise, more affordable for people in low income countries. But for me, it’s actually quite problematic because you’re perpetuating the stereotype and reinforcing that bias that people in those countries need financial aid like that is what they need. And the best best way you can help them is by giving them a discount. And in most situations, that’s not true. That’s not what they need. And also we can get into the white savior complex and all that I don’t know if this is the right conversation for Erin Ollila 10:41 now, I’m finding, I think, I think honestly, if you’re going to be truthful, that does come up throughout all of these episodes that are the three like specific to inclusivity episodes. And it’s I think it changed but I think the conversation changes slightly, depending on what we talk about, right? You know, when it came to accessibility, part of the conversation we had was, you don’t know what you don’t know. But it’s the idea that like, if you are an abled person, with without much exposure to any type of different ability, you think everyone is healthy and fine and wonderful and can see and can hear and they don’t need any extra assistance in that. Or when we talk about copywriting I mean, that was rife when it came to like white savior stuff. But globally, this is where it really kind of like hits the mark, because what’s happening I think, is like you mentioned the discount code because quote, unquote, people can’t afford this. But let me just pass the buck back to you. Because I’m just going to rant kind of and I’ve said this on, like every episode. Danbee Shin 11:43 No, I think these topics require ranting. But yeah, the white savior complex is basically it’s the idea that white people no better white people are like, non white people need the white saviors help, right? Otherwise, they cannot pull themselves out of the misery the miserable situation they’re in on their own. And when we talk about financial aid this, this is problematic because we get so focused on the fact that these people need our money, and they can’t, instead of looking at other ways, where they themselves can be the center of the conversation, the people who actually have been marginalized, historically, should become the center of the conversation and should be asked what do they need? And what support, if any, could be provided so that we can fix the systems that have marginalize them to begin with. And we want when we bring it back to our environment, which is the online business environment. I also see so many businesses get stuck on Oh, well, then I need to give out scholarships to my courses. And I need to have giveaways when I do my course launches. Because this way I can make it more more accessible. But then how are you? Like, what are what is the system you’re using to decide who benefits from these programs? And what is what are the hoops you’re making people jump through to qualify to prove themselves worthy of your support, Erin Ollila 13:23 which is problematic in itself? Exactly. To step aside for a second, like the one thing I’ll say that I understand. And I’ve struggled with myself, in addition to my work, I have a online literary journal that’s been live for 11 plus years now. And the co founder and I are both white woman, what’s killed us is that we are both people who care a lot about these things. We’ve supported many different things I wouldn’t say necessarily in the same instance, but like we are from both from Massachusetts, and when the Boston button. Boston Marathon bombing happened, we had a big issue that was specifically for anyone to write, how they reacted to it, whether they were there whether they weren’t there. And that was the best way that we we felt like we could show support because we also felt helpless. We felt like we didn’t know what to do. We were just like young, very young, I think we’re early to mid 20s. And we wanted to do something and had no clue as to fast forward this conversation back to what we’re talking about. And when George Floyd was murdered in the United States, the two of us again felt just so helpless. So we’re like, Okay, what do we do? Let’s have an issue. We didn’t miss you last time. It made us feel good and made other people feel good. Yay. But we have to realize that like, we’re here to white women, what do we do? how problematic it felt to just be like, Oh, if you’re a person of color, you can be in our journal and get published and just it all felt so wrong. So sharing this story, I guess what I’m trying to say is like, I understand that it can be difficult if you are not necessarily a marginalized person to know what to do. But I think that’s where it’s really key. to work with people who can help you through these, whether it’s a dei expert, whether it’s someone who is an expert on accessibility and inclusion, but not not do anything either, if that makes any sense. So yeah, that’s a side story. That’s there’s, there’s no knowledge they have from Aaron that just a side story based on what you said, Danbee Shin 15:19 thanks for sharing. Now, that’s, I think that’s a really important point to make. Because you could have done the same thing as you’re done after the Boston Marathon bombing and centered yourselves and said, look at this amazing thing we’re doing. And we’re, I think, where it becomes so murky is, oh, look, but we’re creating, we’re giving our platform and we’re sharing our platform. But that creates a whole another set of problems, because people of color know that this time is limited, right? Oh, now we have the pressure to make the most in this very short period of time that because this is not going to last forever. There’s a very short window where you’re going to be given all the mics. And that’s so much pressure. Erin Ollila 16:04 One thing I can say about the literary community specifically is it’s always been extremely problematic when it comes to publishing. Pretty much anyone who’s not a white male, like a forever. I mean, even when we started 1011 years ago, we do a concealed submission, which means that there’s zero identifying information that gets read by anyone who judges the stories and the poems and the artwork. That being said, we all go in with our own biases. And we’ve had to had some conversations as a staff in our volunteer readers of like, how we bring our biases to what we read. But what we do every issue is we we make like a tally, like how many people did we publish? Who were not white men? And this is another tricky situation, because it’s like, what do we do if we want to have more representation? I think the way that we’ve approached it is the best way that we can is the concealed submissions. So that way it is it’s really the only way and to let people know that we would love to publish a more diverse group of writers and aren’t an artist, but like you mentioned, right, you know, like me, just saying, like, a white woman with a Adila with a stage saying, like, come on down. Especially I think during a time that is emotionally charged, like George Floyd, murder is a problem, it’s not the way to go about sharing your stage in any way. Danbee Shin 17:26 In that specific context. Right, I agree in that specific context, where I think the best thing perhaps would have been to look around and see who is doing work around this, who’s already doing this, and then supporting them. It also reminds me of kind of continuing the white savior complex thread, when people literally kind of like fly into low income countries. And without taking the time to do research on the ground to learn what is needed and what systems are already in place. Because usually there is I’ll use a very specific example, I grew up in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka is considered a low income country. It also has a lot of international NGOs who want to do great work in the country, but there are a lot of local organizations doing environmental conservation work doing humanitarian work. And often the best solution for outsiders who want to help is learn about the work that’s already already being done on the ground, the research that’s being done, the people who are affected, and then putting their support behind the locals, the experts on the ground who are already doing the work. And I think what we can learn from that in our online business is, is if you do have an interest in serving a global audience, go talk to your people, your your your website is online, your business is online. And by default, you’re speaking to a global audience. I’m willing to bet that unless you’re a very, very new business, there are people in other parts of the world paying attention to what you’re putting out there your content, your offers, talk to them, and, you know, get a sense of what their experience is, instead of trying to guess what they need from your business, ask them questions about their experience, what it’s been like for them to interact with your business. And I think that’s a much more productive and inclusive way to to run a business that serves a global audience. Erin Ollila 19:40 And I think one thing I’d like to point out about what you just said is like you know, about whether or not having an online business is kind of running a global business, because we might not know who is viewing our business, unless you’re paying very close attention to your analytics and you have them set up correctly, which will say that you don’t know who’s viewing your site. And I think this is where there’s a lot of potential trouble brewing, you know, as a silly example, is actually not silly at all. But as a different example, there are global regulations about collecting data from people who view your website. And I think when people think of that, they think it has to be that they’re asking for information and receiving it. And that is not the case, cookies that are stored on that person’s browser, and, you know, technically collected by your website, make, you have to be compliant with global laws on your website. And there was another thing I was going to say in regard to that, uh, but people are viewing your site. So if you’re not looking at your analytics, you don’t actually know what countries people are that are looking at your site, what countries they’re coming from, what needs they may have. So I think that there is a real beauty in the idea of doing that voc research. But I also think that there is a way that you have to do it correctly, because it talks about, again, white saviors, like white people like to ask people of color or people of different experience what they should do. And it’s a very, a very tough line to describe what is okay to ask, and when it is okay to ask. And when you’re putting emotional, more emotional labor on the person that you’re asking, because it’s not really their responsibility to explain and do that for you. So I can’t quite say that I have the best advice for that. But I think it’s also can I say, maybe it’s knowing your audience, right? So like, you live in a different country, if I had question for you, and we’ve already been introduced, I could probably say to you, do you have some time for me to pick your brain. And remember that when we do things like voice of customer, they could and should be a reciprocal relationship. So I could say like, you know, Dombey, if you can give me 10 minutes to ask you your questions and your perspective, like, I’m happy to like review some of your writing or do something XYZ for your help. So that’s fine, I think, if you have the ability to do that, but I wouldn’t just call on someone that you have zero relationship with and and be like, can you explain this to me, because that’s more of doing the emotional labor? Danbee Shin 22:25 I’m so so glad you brought this up. Yeah, you need to have a relationship with someone before you ask. I feel like that’s like the basis of human interaction. Where a lot of inclusion work goes wrong, is when you stop seeing your audience, the people you want to include when you stop seeing them as individuals. And that’s why I think what you said just now about like having that one on one relationship, before you go in and ask them to spend time and emotional energy, helping you with your business is so, so critical, because you want to do that if like all you need to do is think of someone as an individual, like you who has a shit going on in their lives, who has probably caregiving responsibilities or stuff they need to take care of professionally, and a gazillion other things that other people don’t see. Like every person is a full individual with so many layers. And I think that’s so important to not forget. Erin Ollila 23:36 Yeah, one thing I want to bring up too, while we’re talking about this idea of like bringing in the global perspective to the website is, it’s very important. This is something I’ve always cared a ton about is making sure that the images that you use on your website also showcase a different perspective other than your own. You know, a lot of the times I have these conversations with my clients who are doing full website, copy, whether it’s brand new or rebrand, and it’s not my job to really work with them on images, but it’s a conversation we have because they don’t naturally think that they need to, well, they don’t need to but they should have a variety of people, whether it is by culture, whether it’s by ability, whether it’s by age, ageism is one of them that always gets left out of like stock photography, or any images. So I would say like as the web designer, you’re probably more in that world than I am. Do you have any recommendations on how to go about using images that showcase a more diverse audience on your website? Danbee Shin 24:44 It’s such a such a good topic to talk about. With website design. This is actually a huge part of the design work that I do with my clients. For me, it starts with when I work with clients, it starts with me asking them a whole lot questions about their business, who they work with who their audiences, what their clients look like, what the work they do together looks like, I tend to work with online coaches when I design websites. So these are mostly service based businesses, which means there’s a lot of, if not one, on one small group to one coach type relationships. So that gives me a lot of information about individual people in my clients audiences. And that is what I’m trying to portray. When I go on and look for stock photos. It’s always great if people have their own photos. But you know, we we live in a world where our clients are often scattered all around the world. I’m not in the same part of the world, and you might not have pictures with them. But that’s where I start, like, what does your business today look like? And let’s make sure that if you have clients based in these different countries, let’s make sure that they’re also represented. The other thing I think is important to think about and is a little trickier is who do you want to include? Who what are the kinds of clients who aren’t represented and your current clientele at the moment? Who are you open to working with? Who do you want to welcome into your world? And I think they’re the visual imagery can be a little difficult, because you don’t want this to be to kind of fall into that tokenism type of, and what’s the other term, I’m looking for that kind of like virtue signaling kind of territory where like, Oh, I’m the kind of person who is open to working with all these diverse kinds of people. So that’s something I would probably have individual conversations with my clients with, to see what they’re comfortable with. And it also helps when they already have let’s talk about specifically specific examples, because I think that’s always more helpful. I had a conversation with a client, where we were thinking, should we have pictures of someone in a wheelchair, because, you know, they the work they do doesn’t, it doesn’t matter what kind of disability someone has, and they can still help their clients. But they didn’t have anyone in their kind of real life personal community who used wheelchairs. So it became a little it didn’t seem so genuine to look through stock photos of people who were in wheelchairs when you, you know, like, there’s, there’s so many discussions, and Reddit subreddits, where people like Oh, stock photos of wheelchairs, like no one uses wheelchairs like that, in real life, those look like hospital wheelchairs. And, you know, if you don’t know the experience of someone who uses a wheelchair, it’s so surface, that surface level to go on. And like, find a stock photo of someone just sitting in a wheelchair, just so you’d like you can have that on your website. And that’s one example of like, let’s not do that. That’s not you don’t have to tick that box. If that’s not representative of your experience of what you understand about your audience, let’s come back to that when you’ve learned more. Erin Ollila 28:12 Yeah, one thing that Brittany McBean said a couple of weeks ago, and her episode towards the end that I thought was just so important was like, Do not whatever you do change your messaging before you’ve done the work. And I think the same goes to like messaging could just be synonymous with like, design imagery. I am, again, a huge advocate on a diverse stock photography. But here’s where I’m going to, like say that slightly different. I think there’s a difference between website pages and blog content. So the website pages are, you can’t post pictures and every single row that you have on the page and just keep scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, and there’s like 500 pitches, you’re limited. And I do think that they really, if possible, should be real life images of you and potentially other people within your network, and should be 100% as true to life as they could possibly be. Can you use stock images on your on your main pages? Yes. But I would probably suggest you don’t have people in those images if you can’t. So maybe the images is like a desk right? Like your standard like Office pictures. Now when we get to blog content, especially if it’s someone who is producing regular content for their site, I think they have a lot more ability to have a wider range of images and of different situations. So like we were talking about wheelchairs it’s not this like standard like hospital where wheelchair with like an elderly woman sitting by like an elevator all bundled up, but it could be like a work meeting where actually is a person who utilizes a wheelchair in this work meaning so it does look real. Your point is still extremely valid. Like you really need to know if things look real. Here’s my other like picking on stock photography. Every one doesn’t just eat salads, everywhere, like anytime you have like an image of a woman, she’s eating a salad or like has a gym bag with her. But my point is, is like, you know that the imagery you’re using is quality imagery, like there’s so many out there it, it’s harder to find, sure, but that’s part of being inclusive is doing the work, right. And as so long that you are able to get quality images, I think that writing content gives you more opportunity to bring in those different like, quote unquote, story elements, right. So if you are writing like a business blog, and you’re able to get people working together, try try to pick people who don’t look exactly like you. But don’t make it generic. We don’t want it to be like your standard, different cultures all just like holding hands, I was gonna say holding hands. Holding hands is always such a big one. And it’s always like one person from like, very specific, well, like a few people from very specific cultures. And that’s your token like, you know, diversity pitcher, that’s never going to work. But I think it’s, maybe my practice is trying to build in different individuals. And again, the whole scope of like, age, ability, race, gender, so if I am pulling people in, it’s trying to get them as close to the everyday experience as I possibly can. And not to highlight that person, just to highlight an experience that they happen to be in. And I think that’s kind of the best option for finding those images. But I really appreciate that you brought that up, it’s like, let’s not have your token, you know, Spanish person and your token in the in person, like, Yes, try as hard as you can to make the images of you be of you in your communities and use images if they are stock pictures as as well as you can, and as honestly as you can. And let’s also not Danbee Shin 32:03 have people wearing their national outfits. Because that’s not, it’s not how people normally dress in their day to day, sometimes in South Asia, in office environments. Women will wear saris, but those saris look very, very different from an outfit they’re gonna work at a wedding. And that’s often what you see in stock photos. Erin Ollila 32:26 Yeah, and I think this is where it all comes back to like what you said is like having a more diverse group of people in your network, because like, I could say to you, like, hey, I really want to have more, you know, represent more southeastern Asian on my website. And you could say to me, Aaron, like that sweet, good try. But that didn’t work for you like, but that’s why it’s important to kind of develop relationships where you can be honest and say, Hey, I’m this is some imperfect action. And I want to try as hard as I can to do things, right. I know, by asking you this, I might, you might tell me, I’m doing it wrong. But at least I’m trying to put the effort in and I’m doing it with someone who I can safely ask these questions with, because they are willing, and they’ve said that they’re willing to provide that feedback to me. All right, let’s let’s move past the images. Are there any types of graphics specifically, or like website design things that people should know about when it comes to building an inclusive website. Danbee Shin 33:24 I think this is so easy to overthink. And what I would offer is that the simplest solution that works well for most people is probably what’s going to be working across the world. For example, main navigation across the top of your website. Most websites are designed like that for a reason, people just expect to be able to navigate a website using menu items along the top of a website. I personally don’t like seeing desktop websites with the mobile hamburger menu, because I can’t see the menu items. And that’s where people are going to go look for looking for navigation items. Things like you know, if you use an infographic to explain, let’s say your process that you have on your website, like that’s great. The graphics are universal that way, especially if you have like a 1234 step process. Graphics are great for people who might speak English as an additional language. So the graphics kind of help them process the written content. And it’s also great for people who just process visual content better versus written content. And I feel like when you follow these really simple ideas, with visuals with graphics, when you make it more inclusive for one group of people, you’re also making it more inclusive for everyone else. And that’s just a running theme with anything you might do around inclusion. So yeah, things like using graphics Eggs are things like if you’re talking about, if you’re sharing a testimonial, a quote that someone gave, like, have a picture of them wherever possible. I know it’s not possible for all businesses, because confidentiality might be an issue. But yeah, if you have a quote, if you have a testimonial, it’s nice to see your face. Because that’s how we absorb that information. Erin Ollila 35:23 Yeah. And I would say, here’s another tricky part, though, is, and I just, I am working on this myself on a page that I just put on my website. Do you gotta consent, consider the ratio of clients that you have to the testimonials you share, like, we forgot what you had said is? Like, it’s signaling to say like, Okay, well, here are my five clients. And those clients are all different nationalities. Look at the dream, like the pool that you have of clients, it’s like, those only represent like, five out of the 100 clients that you’ve served. And that’s not okay. Right? Like we, we have to do a little better at that. And it could be as simple as just including, if you especially if you have them, more testimonials of people you normally serve, right, if they haven’t did like look like you. But I think this is it’s definitely something to consider. And it’s something I noticed all of the time on people’s websites. If on like their front page, let’s say they have people who don’t look like them. And for the rest of the content that they have, it’s all people who look like them. I think it’s a tricky thing, right? You know, like, I’m all about testimonials, I have a course on testimonials, I want you to get them up there and share them as everywhere that you can. But be careful how you do it. And don’t just use the people who are giving you their testimonials, because of their, you know, age ability, gender, race culture. And that’s on them, right? Like, there’s no way that we can advise you to do that other than to be as honest as you can and make sure the ratio is is is well shared, so that you’re not just you know, using someone else as a model to what it is like to work with you. Danbee Shin 37:12 You basically made the whole point that I thought I wanted to make, which is yet no that was perfect. You can’t use people as tokens to, to say something about yourself. As the reason we use testimonials and marketing is to show social proof right to be for it to be a fair representation of what kind of outcomes what kinds of experiences people have had working with you. Like that’s why in an authentic way, you want to use testimonials, you’re not using them so you can use their headshots and represent more diversity, bigger quotes on your website. But Erin Ollila 37:50 in a positive perspective, it is a great way to showcase more diversity. So this is not the two of us ganging up on you listeners here. I think the key here is let them message lead the order. So if you have the best testimonial from a client who looks like you, that’s your front page testimonial, right. And if you have a weak testimonial, from someone who doesn’t look like you, that’s the bottom of the page testimonial. And like I said, that’s where it kind of depends on you, because they are great opportunities to showcase that you want to work with a diverse audience or a global audience. But but doing it fairly is the best way to approach it. So last question, one thing you had brought up that I hadn’t thought of was how to be able to allow it to be easier for people to pay you when the currency is not necessarily the one that you do business on. And when you said that I was like, Well, I have no clue. So please fill me in on this one. Danbee Shin 38:48 Again, like I love keeping things simple. And this can be just as simple as you stating what currency you use in your business. This is going to be different for businesses of different sizes. But you know the people I normally work with or one person businesses or people with teams smaller than 10 people you might not be set up to accept parents payments in different currencies because that brings in a whole nother you know, layer of things to worry about including conversion fees and Stripe charges you like a different fee for using different currencies and all that you don’t have to get into that if you’re not ready. All you can do all you all you have to do is say, Look, my offer is whatever $500 US dollars, I always put USD at the end of my pricing. I use US dollars. We live in a world where the US dollar still is the global currency and you don’t have to do anything else. Beyond that. Erin Ollila 39:56 Okay, I feel so much better now because I’m like, okay, the good Thank you. That’s an easy fix, right? It’s just as simple as including, you know, the type of currency. I love that. Danbee Shin 40:05 But you’d be surprised at the pushback I get, sometimes people are like, Oh my god, like gonna know that it’s US dollars. I’m like, no, they’re like 20 other currencies called the dollar across the world. Erin Ollila 40:15 I think the other thing, too, that I’ve seen done, that’s have been helpful for me. And this obviously doesn’t translate globally, but in certain areas is to have like a conversion tool on your site or a link to one. Because there have been times like, just as a quick example, that popped in my head, the Australian dollar, and it’s at this moment, at least of recording lower than the American dollar. So I know that it is less than the figure I have in my head what it is, I have zero clue. So I’ve been fortunate for someone I’ve purchased before, they had that tool right there for me. So I could put in whatever works for me, it would be USD, and it told me exactly like what I’m looking at, in the Australian dollar in the in United States dollar. So that’s helpful. That’s all I can bring to this conversation, because that’s really the only experience I have. Danbee Shin 41:02 Yeah, and I think that’s so helpful. I’ve seen other businesses do that, too. And you know, I think, yeah, having a dynamic tool is helpful. And you can also just say, Hey, this is roughly this much in GBP, in British pounds in Australian dollars. And then, you know, this also comes back to the you know, your audience, where are your people coming from, you can accept payment in multiple currencies. I’ve seen businesses do this, especially if you have a very distinct audience where you, you know that, okay, there, there’s a big group in my, in the country that I’m in and they use a local currency, and then I use, I have an international audience, and they tend to use the US dollar, then it might be easier if you’re just handling two different currencies. I’ve also seen people, if you sell on Amazon, it’s really easy for you to just make your offer available across different Amazon sites, which means that Amazon takes care of all the currency issues for you. The other thing that I want to talk about when it comes to making payments easy is making it clear that you’re open to receiving payment, even if your customers don’t have access to credit card. Yes, I think when you have credit cards, and when you have such easy access to credit cards, it can be Yeah, it can be easy to forget that this is not something that’s available in all parts of the world just as easily, or accessible to different communities and different communities. That’s absolutely right. And the way our online systems work, credit cards have made our lives much easier, but it means that we’re leaving a lot of people out. And it could just be as simple as having a payment gateway that accepts you know, Apple pay Google Pay Alipay, WeChat. That all depends on who is in your audience, or just saying, Hey, you can send me a bank transfer. And, you know, wise, for example, makes things like that. Quite simple. So just scenarios to consider. And sometimes it’s just as easy as saying, like, look, I’m open to having a conversation. If this is what’s on my you don’t have to change anything on your website just yet. Right? You can just say, hey, what’s if what’s available, doesn’t work for you. I’m open to having conversation, just get in touch. Here’s my email, like that can be all you need to do. Erin Ollila 43:21 So I technically just lied to you on accident. I’m so sorry. Because I said that was my last question. But there’s something that you had said, I always ask everyone like, is there anything you’re really asked about this topic, and you had mentioned that there are conversations about inclusive businesses can and they can be different around the world. And to just add to that, very quickly, I think the same goes for examples that we use within our marketing can be viewed differently. So do you have a second to kind of explain how they’d be included differently, and maybe what people can do to adjust them so they can still maybe bring the conversations they’d like into their business, but do it in a way that other people can, you know, receive the information, like you had mentioned, when we’re when we’re talking is like, you know, an anti black racism and the LGBTQ plus community, and how like, for example, like in South Korea, or Singapore, like because of historical, cultural, political and social context, that’s not really a conversation that translates as well. So when and the reason I brought up having like examples might not translate as well as because that’s a bigger conversation, right? So most business owners aren’t necessarily talking about that on their, you know, services page, let’s say, some, some will, you know, everything in the DEA world, but it could be like context of having like a blog post where you’re having these or if you’re giving examples, maybe like about like weight loss or alcohol are something that wouldn’t be translated so well, globally. When someone is doing that, do they just accept that it is not a global conversation, or is there a way for them to maybe open it up to Make it more people globally more receptive to the conversation, I think what Danbee Shin 45:07 would really help is by is just providing a little bit of context, you know, if because you’re probably referring to specific current events or historical contexts that people around, you just take for granted, because you speak the same language, you have the same understanding you come from, you know, like, the great thing about being surrounded by people who share your background is like, you have a lot of shortcuts, right, you can use a lot of shortcuts, you don’t have to provide a lot of context. But the thing to remember is, when you’re speaking to a global audience, it helps to say, hey, here in the US, or here in my specific state of the US, this is kind of like a side, it’s not a joke, but it’s something that we make fun of Americans for a lot. It’s like talking about their state, like it is a country where we ask him where they’re from, they’ll tell you, your their state. And because here’s the thing, the US is a is a superpower in the world, politically, it’s also a cultural superpower, right? So we, a lot of us, outside of the US grew up watching a lot of same TV shows a lot of same movies, we get a lot of the same pop culture references. So I know where Seattle is not just because my best friend lives there. But because I watch Grey’s Anatomy. And when you tell us what state you’re from, we probably know which state but just to say, with that kind of very trivial example, like just saying what part of the states that is like it’s in the, it’s in the north, it’s in the South. It’s on the West Coast, etc. And kind of in a similar way, when you talk about, you know, when we when we talk about, for example, the Boston Marathon bombing, because I use that example, because it came up earlier, and I think most people know most people around the world know more about the George Floyd murders than the bombing, you might offer, like a one sentence explanation for when it happened, what happened and what the outcome was a why this is something even if Erin Ollila 47:12 it’s just timeline, right, you know, like, so when I mentioned, I live in Massachusetts, that is the Northeast section of America, my apologies. That would be in the United States at the top. And it’s kind of the little like corner sticking and I think people love Danbee Shin 47:28 I know we say this in a in a humorous way. But I think people love knowing that. And then they feel included. Erin Ollila 47:34 Yes. Well, and and what I was going to say is I get it because I you know, one thing I think America has done. I mean, I could list things. But one thing I think America has done really poorly in education is geography. It is not just my own education. But so many people I talked to just have no clue where anything is, are because they learn it in second grade. And they’re not taught to think about it, even if they aren’t taught about world world culture. So constantly when people are telling me where they’re from. I’m like, yeah, like, I might know what continent that is. But I feel silly. So if we look at it from that same perspective of my experience, why isn’t it just as like, that’s what I should be doing. I should not make another person feel silly. By stating the state that I’m in, in, like you said, Give slight context to just say like, oh, it’s northeastern United States, you know, because if someone were to say something that to me, like, wherever they were in the world, and I wasn’t exactly sure but they kind of like gave me the like, the rights the left’s that he’s the north, you know, then I’d be able to kind of figure it out on my own. And in feel like I knew exactly what they were saying. Same thing goes for Danbee Shin 48:41 like brand names, brand names are big, you know, like, I know what target is, I’ve been to but a lot of people have it. And for some reason, it comes up a lot. Like maybe it’s a maybe it’s a tick tock thing. When you when you talk about Oregon, Erin Ollila 48:58 no, that’s it’s a really good point. Because this is what I mean by examples, people will say like, you know, I go to Target and I get this this isn’t this. Okay? But like you’re if you’re trying to be more globally inclusive, like just saying, like, target one of the biggest like National realtors in the US, or if they talk about their like dunkin donuts or Starbucks coffee, one of the biggest coffee chains in the US and all it takes. Yeah, exactly. It’s just the Quick disclaimer or like few few words to explain what things are. Okay, great. Well, we could talk about this for days because I mean, at this point we’ve been talking about for a while. So based on our conversation, is there a small homework assignment you would give our listeners who are trying to be more inclusive with their online presence? Danbee Shin 49:44 So we’ve been talking a lot about being inclusive and considering other people’s identities and their experiences. My homework suggestion is for each person listening. Hi, thank you for listening to Think about your identities like why, what identities do you hold? And how much of that do you share on your website, in your other marketing Erin Ollila 50:08 channels. Danbee Shin 50:10 For me, I’m always quite aware of the fact that I’m South Korean. That makes me East Asian. I speak Korean as my mother tongue, I speak English as a second language, I’m assist heterosexual woman, I have light skin, and all of these things affect how I’m included in certain spaces, and how I’m erased in those very same spaces. And I think before we start thinking about how that affects other people in our networks, it’s important to look inwards, and think about how that affects the way you show up. So that’s something you don’t have to talk to anyone else about, you can just do in your own time. And I think that’ll help you look at things, hopefully, in a fresh way, Erin Ollila 50:56 bringing it back to the point Brittany and made that I addressed earlier, it’s like, you don’t have to go on your website and make the footer. I mean, I don’t want to make fun of myself, because I do have a value statement on my footer. Way to go, I’ve done done a lot of work. And I’m still working on it, I will admit all of my flaws and the things that I need to be better at. But you don’t need to go to the footer and in capital letters be like I would love to work with you, regardless of where you live in the unit in the world was here when you don’t have to, you don’t have to say like, Hey, I’m currently looking to work with more Southeast Asian woman, because I don’t have any Southeast Asian woman in my network. Like that’s the absolute last thing you should be doing. I think that when we take that back to say, like your homework assignment, like look at the identity that you are experiencing, and where you are included and excluded, how you feel about those and make that your starting point. That’s where the work is getting done. It’s not with the capital letters on your website, it’s not with how you set up the design of your website, it’s by making sure you’re actually doing the work so that way you can make changes and present yourself online in the way that you’d like to be presented. So all right, high five to that homework assignment. Good job. And final question, is there any type of copy or content that you’ve produced in your own business, it doesn’t have to be writing that has really kind of been transformative for you and your business. Danbee Shin 52:22 For me it was when I did the first time I shared a really terrible experience I had with a business. That kind of kicked off this whole thing about talking about Global Inclusion. What had happened is short version of the story is I’d signed up for a virtual event from one of the biggest names in online business and online marketing education. And I knew that I was going to have to watch the replay because it was, you know, daytime, US Eastern time, I was in Singapore at the time. So it was the middle of the night for me. And I was happy to watch the replays. But then they announced that they weren’t going to have any recordings because they wanted it to be a truly live event. So I asked for a refund. And that just kicked off really terrible customer service experience. And honestly, it made me so angry that I kind of had to sit with all of that for months, I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it. And because I was so emotionally exerting myself in this because of this, it you know, It distracted me from running my own business and trying to figure out how to make money in my own business. And this piece of content was, I think the first time I shared it was an Instagram post. And I said, never buying from this industry leader again, here’s what happened. This is why Global Inclusion is so important. You’re not thinking about people in other parts of the world, you’re taking our money, but you’re not creating experiences that are inclusive of people in different parts of the world. And that kind of started my new half of the business where I started calling myself a global inclusion specialist and helping other businesses make their make their businesses more inclusive. Erin Ollila 54:04 And I think everything that you’re doing is so important. And what I think is really special about it is that the website really is like such a big like foundation of any business, right. So of course, you could talk to people on social media, of course, you can be in communities and have these conversations. But when it comes to knowing our own identity and how we want to show up within our business, the biggest way to do that is within your website, and potentially with email marketing that you need to get people on your list in order to continue that conversation. So I really love the idea that like you are starting from a place where web design is a key element in how you help other people’s businesses. And now it’s elevated in that you’re helping them have better, more inclusive businesses. So everyone I will put all of the ways that you can reach Danby and what you can do about her her business her offers in the show notes. We’ve been talking for too long for me to even go down that road right now. but it’s there. So definitely get in touch with her. And I appreciate so much of your your time and your insight because I think that we all have a lot of learning to do. And I think this is just something I don’t hear talked about enough. So I’m glad that we’re able to do that here today. Danbee Shin 55:15 Me too. Thank you so much for this conversation. It’s not always an easy topic to talk about. But this was so much fun. Erin Ollila 55:23 Yeah, I agree. We had a lot of fun. And I think that in some ways, we acknowledge what was negative and the positive parts of it as well. So like you mentioned, it’s not an easy conversation to have. But sometimes I find Well, I think most of the time, the not easy conversations are the ones that really need to be had. And you know, shared so I just appreciate your your, your being here to do that. All right, we’ll stop. We’ll stop thanking each other now everyone, have a great day. We’ll see you again here next week where we’re going to talk about accessible websites and we’ll see you there. 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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