If you’re a leader, a developer, or a designer about to start a major website project, this webinar will help you navigate the important topic of accessibility. Cory Miller is joined by the team at Modern Tribe – Chris Kindred, Director of Backend Development, Sarah Gless, Creative Director, and Mike Klanac, Director of Business Development, to discuss why accessibility is imperative and how to integrate it into each aspect of development and implementation.
Estimated reading time: 73 minutes
Mentioned in the show:
You can follow Post Status and our guests on Twitter:
- Chris Kindred (Director of Backend Development, Modern Tribe)
- Sarah Gless (Creative Director, Modern Tribe)
- Mike Klanac (Director of Business Development, Modern Tribe)
- Cory Miller (CEO, Post Status)
- Olivia Bisset (Intern, Post Status)
The Post Status Draft podcast is geared toward WordPress professionals, with interviews, news, and deep analysis.
Cory Miller: [00:00:00] Everybody welcome back to another Post Status Live. This is where we
do, uh, webinars and interviews with our awesome members at Post Status. And today we’ve
got a great talented team from Modern Tribe.
I’m gonna let them unpack a little bit more about what Modern Tribe does and what they do at
Modern Tribe. But today, our topic is gonna be the right approach to WordPress accessibility.
This kinda, this really came to the forefront for us and why I sought these experts out because
accessibility is a non-negotiable for the web.
Um, and they’re gonna talk more about their passion, their experiences, their expertise around
that. But I will just say this is a topic that we need to be talking about more, and we’re
specifically doing this webinar, and I’ve asked them to come on and share. Particular areas and
work inaccessibility with WordPress.
But if you’re a leader, you’re a developer, you’re a designer, um, starting to embark on a, on a
website project and want rightly so, to [00:01:00] make sure your website is accessible to all
people. This is, this is the extended webinar for you. We’re gonna talk, we’re gonna talk about a
lot. We’re gonna talk about how does a c-suite or leadership team properly resource and lead,
uh, in the accessibility projects for your organization, all the way down to the developers,
designers, the people that use the website every single day to make sure you’re doing your best
for those, trying to access your website.
So, I wanna introduce these te these, uh, this team today, but I’m gonna let you do that. So,
Mike, could you start us off and share, um, a little bit about what you do with, with, uh, uh, your
work at Modern Tribe and, uh, your interest in this whole topic of accessibility?
Mike Klanac: Yeah, thanks Corey. Um, my name is Mike Klan.
I am the Director of Business Development at Modern Tribe. Um, that’s essentially a sales role
here. [00:02:00] Um, and, uh, I’m really excited to talk more about accessibility. Um, I, you know,
to be transparent, I was actually a little nervous at first, uh, because of my role as essentially a
sales role. And, um, this is such an important topic and, and Corey in like preparing for this, you
said something that, that resonated with me, which is, , you know, if this is important, um, don’t
feel bad about being an advocate for it and talking about it.
Um, so, uh, that helped build my confidence. So I’m excited to be here to talk more especially
about, uh, accessibility as it relates to leadership and as it relates to a core value that stretches
across all components of your business. Uh, so, um, yeah, I think continue on with introductions
and maybe I could circle back and, and tell you a little bit more about, uh, tribe and how long
we’ve been around.
Cory Miller: Yeah. We’ll, we’ll come back to you, but I think you, you know, one compelling
reason you’re here too is because you do talk to people that are making decisions, [00:03:00]
but not necessarily always the people doing the work too. And it’s a collaborative approach. And
I know your heart, you’re super, super humble, but very experienced.
Mm-hmm. , um, professional. So I’m really glad to have you on here and you’re gonna talk first
as we, after we do introductions about the whole leadership angle for all of this. Um, Chris and
Chris Kindred: thanks. Um, my name’s Chris Kendrick. I am, uh, director of backend, um,
engineering here at Modern Tribe. Um, I, accessibility’s always been a passion of mine, um, and
it’s been, uh, really great to come on board at somewhere like Modern Tribe, where they take
flexibility so seriously.
So, uh, that’s always been a, a great thing for, for me, um, moving forward. So,
Sarah Gless: Hi, I’m Sarah Glass. Oh, sorry.
Cory Miller: Yeah, yeah. Sorry. Go ahead Sarah. Yeah, thanks Chris.
Sarah Gless: Yeah, thank you for having us. Um, I’m Sarah Glass. I’m the creative Director at
Modern [00:04:00] Tribe. Ultimately, that means I’m in service to both our clients, making sure
that we’re shipping incredibly beautiful and, and and engaging work, um, as well as our design
team, ensuring that, you know, they’re fulfilled in and the work that they’re doing, and we’re
continuously developing and pushing the work forward.
Um, I’m super passionate about accessibility too. You know, I think that, as you know, coming
from a design background, um, ultimately I wanna communicate effectively with, with, with
people. And, um, if, if you cut off people in those lanes of communication, um, how good is that
design? So I, I truly believe that good design is accessible design.
Um, super excited to, to be here and, and chat more about.
Cory Miller: I can’t wait to dig in with all three of you because what you just said, Sarah, is good
access, good accessibility is good design. And I think there’s probably a lot of designers out
there that just kind of like, oh, okay, we can do this. So I’m looking forward to talking more about
that, particularly, um, I’m gonna hype ’em up,
[00:05:00] Yeah, absolutely. This can be, you know, that’s another message in all this, this can
be done. There is an approach, a good approach to it, and it is possible, and I think that’s a
really great message. Um, so Mike, before we kind of get into the actual topics, could you tell us
a little bit more about Modern Tribe as an agency?
Mike Klanac: Sure, sure. I’ll give you the short version. So, um, Modern Tribe, we like to call
ourselves a full service digital design and development agency. Um, we’ve been around for
about 15 years now, uh, and recently joined the liquid web family of brands. Um, I think like one
of the way, another way we describe ourselves is we say we connect to the touchpoints of your
Um, and when I say that, I think what’s important to note is kind of that WordPress is often. the
center, it’s the hub, the WordPress TMS is the hub of that ecosystem. So we lean on, on
WordPress heavily. [00:06:00] Um, and our, our business, I mean, it sort of breaks down into
four key categories. There’s strategy, there’s content, there’s design, there’s engineering, um,
and that’s sort of who we are.
Um, accessibility of the topic at hand today, uh, as you’ll see it, it sort of permeates all of those
areas and it’s sort of core to who we are, um, as an organization. So, um, yeah, we’re, we’re
Cory Miller: And I know you all work with some name brand organizations. Maybe you can’t all
talk about it, but I’m aware enough to know that you all have worked with some of the biggest
brands that are household names, helping them specifically, not just with their web, but also that
this important part, accessibility.
And some of these, uh, organizations, Mike, particularly I know from talking with you all
background about this, is if you take federal funding in any way, particularly in the United States,
it, it’s not even a conversation about is it, is [00:07:00] it a thing we should do? It’s like, no, you
do it. And I think that amps us up even more.
Um, thankfully, government non-profits have led the way with accessibility, but this is something
we’ll talk more about. Everybody should be doing this. Um, this is this, we’re in 2023 now today.
And it, this is just a part and I’m, that’s why, another reason I’m glad, but you all work with these
organizations where you’re like, there’s a lot of scrutiny on these organizations you work with.
That means that that’s a good thing in a way because they have to make sure, like Sarah was
saying, that this website is successful for anyone that wants to, to access it. So, uh, I think that’s
pretty critical and also demonstrates why I asked Modern Tribe and U three to come on to talk
about this today.
So, okay, here’s the layout. We’re gonna talk about leadership. Now for those of you watching
and listening, um, we’re gonna each, each of the experts, I’ve asked to talk about a specific area
related to their expertise, but you’re gonna hear from them. I’ve told them, I said, [00:08:00] I
don’t want you to stay silent.
Mike’s part part, I want you to contribute too, because. As we’ve talked and prepared for this, it’s
helped me understand this is a holistic process that everybody in the organization needs to
embrace. And so, again, I’ll, I’ll just say to y’all, please, if Mike’s talking, share something from
your perspective about this, uh, please do that.
Cause I think this is gonna help people. Our intention here is you’re trying to do right and good
by this for your website project. So I want you all to like, help them really understand these are
the things we work with clients about. These are the problems we see, these are the challenges
we see and here’s our thoughts.
Because you, you are experts in this and you see things that I think could make those trying to
cross this threshold, um, truly be prepared for and make really good decisions that helps
everybody involved, even if they don’t choose modern tribe as the agency. So again, I think
that’s right on important.
Okay, so let’s just start right here, because [00:09:00] oftentimes, as I understand this, both
leading my own organizations, listening to you all and other agency members that post status, I
go, um, this type of decision needs to start at the, you know, the top of the hierarchy here. If the
leaders aren’t on board or don’t fully understand it, this is gonna be a problem.
So, I hope those leaders listening, this is your time to take notes because Mike, I, I want you to
kind of, what do you think of when you’re saying, okay, I am, let’s say a c e O of an organization
or in the C-suite or leadership team. I need to start helping think through this, you know,
accessibility for what we do on the web.
What stands out to you when we talked about leadership and WordPress accessibility.
Mike Klanac: Yeah, I’m, I’m so glad we get to talk about it from this perspective, because so
often accessibility can get pretty dense and technical right away. Um, but in today’s modern
world, uh, it it’s more than that. And it’s something that permeates all aspects of your business if
you [00:10:00] want it to be successful.
And therefore, it often has to start with leadership, um, realizing why it’s, IM important. Um, it’s,
it’s gotta be built as a core consideration, um, to all of those various layers. Uh, and the best
organizations, the really effective organizations that care and are considerate of their users
make this a, a core value.
It’s, it literally becomes, um, part of the culture. Top to bottom. Um, so I think one of the ways to
build that understanding is to really think about like, why you’re doing this. And we hit on the
legal implications initially, and I think that’s where a lot of people first start thinking about this for
But you kind of need to back up and really remember that one of the first reasons this is
important is, is just morally, it’s, it’s morally important. It’s a part of digital inclusivity. We are
creating tools that serve [00:11:00] users, that serve people, and therefore we need to care for
them. We need to think about how they use it.
And that applies to all of the users. It’s an increasingly competitive world. We don’t have the
luxury of, um, excluding people because it’s not convenient to, um, build tools that serve them
effectively. So I think like we really need to ground ourselves in the moral component of this first,
which is it’s the right thing to do.
It’s just the right thing to do, therefore needs to be a leadership initiative. It needs to be brought
in, carried through to all components, all layers of your business. Okay. So that’s like the first
thing that I would probably tell a leader in this space is that make it a part of all of your thinking.
Cory Miller: I mean, you know, I, we were talking about a client used to consult with before we
started recording and I was like, you could tell there the client one did the traditional thing, print
off your core values, put it on all the doors, and you’re like, cool. Yeah. But what are your real
core values? [00:12:00] And it seems to me, as you talk about one, there is a business reason
to do this, very legitimate that it’s gonna get a lot of people’s attention.
But I think what you were, you’re saying is like it should reflect a value that you might not have
on the door, but like we care. Yes, we care about the whole population and being able to get to
the things that we offer. And if we don’t, it it, I mean that rings really true when you say that
business, there’s a legitimate business reason and that should hopefully check most boxes.
But I think the other thing is that you should actually just care. Yeah. We’ve all probably been
touched in some way with someone that has, uh, uh, uh, something that doesn’t allow them to
see, read, hear, whatever that is, um, that we need to be thinking about that. Just because we
don’t have that particular issue doesn’t mean there’s a pretty significant one is a significant
enough to me.
But I mean this, we’re talking about in this accessibility [00:13:00] conversation quite a bit of the
population that most organizations have flatly not even thought about till today.
Mike Klanac: Exactly. Yeah, I think it just sends the right message. You know, when you’re the
type of organization that takes the time to be deliberate and considerate of all of your users,
there’s probably an understanding that that carries through to your product.
If you’re selling something, um, you, your service, your, your organization as a whole. So, um,
it’s just the right thing to do. And I think, I think we should just start there as it’s, it’s morally right.
And as you hit on, um, and to segue a little bit, there are legitimate business reasons. So, um,
making sure that your, your site is fully accessible, has this effect of improving the quality, the
experience for your users.
And that sort of in some ways overlays these other topics that we often talk about as like key
performance indicators for businesses. [00:14:00] Things like search engine optimization, um,
core web vitals. Um, these are adjacent to each other. So it it’s about creating an experience
that is a user experience that’s quality for everyone, and therefore your, your business will feel
that it’ll have an impact.
Um, so not only is it the right thing to do, morally a highly accessible site that’s gonna benefit
your, your clicks, your conversions, and all those things that we’ve spent so much time thinking
about, um, and that we’re starting to, to kind of like land a couple of really important reasons. It’s
like, you know, it’s what’s good as a person, it’s what’s good for business.
Um, it th those alone are, are enough reason, right, to really think long and hard about this. Um,
But there’s this final one too, which is the one we kind of backed into this from, which was,
there’s some legal requirements here. I I, I pulled a stat, and I think everyone’s aware of this,
but, [00:15:00] um, 2,800 accessibility lawsuits in 2021.
Um, that’s, that’s like, it’s a big deal. And those lawsuits, um, are meaningful and there’s a place
for them. Um, but more important than the litigation itself is you just have an opportunity to get
ahead of this if you do things right, and that can get confusing. Um, I, sorry, you’re gonna jump
in. I’ll take a beat.
Cory Miller: Yeah, no, I, I think, um, I’m curious to hear what Chris and Sarah think too,
because it’s like, you know, we’ve all been to those situations, uh, where you’re like, the
organization talks a really good talk. Yeah. You know, and we’ve got plenty of those in our
society globally today. But you know, the ones that talk.
And you know that ones that just act on that value. And I think this shines pretty clearly whether
you go to a website, you see the accessibility blue circle or whatever this is. And I think
[00:16:00] this is an opportunity. I’m curious what Chris and Sarah think too from just an
organization standpoint of like when you see someone taking it to this degree, not because they
necessarily have to, a lot of these have to, but, and there’s a probably legitimate reason why
there’s regulations and laws and different things in these lawsuits is because like, okay, if you’re
not gonna do the right thing, the, the world society will kind of push you in that regard.
But I think, I’m curious what you think Chris and Sarah is like, this is a way to get out front and
lead act on those values. You can’t just say you care, but if you care enough to make sure your
website is A to B, everybody can can access that and and consume the information and
whatever you’re trying to offer in the world, that’s an opportunity for leadership to me.
So Sarah, Chris, what do you think? . I, yeah,
Chris Kindred: I, uh, okay. Uh, I, I think there’s a huge opportunity there. One of the things we
tend to hear is, well, that’s not the kind of person we’re marketing to. And [00:17:00] you know,
there’s, there’s so much more than that going on with accessibility. It’s, you know, you may not
be marketing to ’em right now, but who knows what’s going to happen in the future.
They, they, uh, or, or, um, friends that they have that, that kind of thing, they can help, um, push
along whatever product you’re pushing. And in those cases, so, you know, you’ve got, um,
you’ve got companies that come at it from that angle and, and there’s a little bit of education that
we have to do to help kind of get ’em over that hump of this.
This is, this is a moral thing as well, . It’s, it’s not who you’re marketing to. It is that you are
marketing to everybody. Everyone’s going to see it, and it’s important that everybody be able to
Sarah Gless: Yeah, and I think that, like, going back to Mike’s original point, like it takes the
organization to do that.
It cannot be on the shoulders of like your web team. Um, yes, they are like [00:18:00] hands-on
producing and shipping that thing. Um, but that thing should be symbolic of like a much larger,
um, um, effort around accessibility. Um, and, and your kind of example around, you know,
posting your, your core values as a, as a company on the wall, um, and accessibility or
inclusivity being on that, um, kind of made me start to think like, what’s like a real example of, of
Um, you know, like I, I. And transferring that responsibility, not transferring, but sharing that
responsibility across the organization means you have to figure out, like, how can each
department take part in that? Um, how can we better collaborate on that mission? Um, I think,
you know, I’ve spent a lot of times on and, and working with like brand and marketing teams,
great opportunity for, for, for people to get involved in accessibility that may not be, um, on the
line to like ship that, that website necessarily.
Um, for example, we mentioned, you know, calling out your brand [00:19:00] values. Maybe
you’ve got, you know, being inclusive as, as, as a brand value. Well back that up with like, you
know, shipping accessible designs on the marketing side. So like, if you’re working on a brand
book, um, A big part of that is establishing a color palette.
Um, and that color palette has implications across so much of your collateral across the
organization, including that website. Now, oftentimes what happens on like design, um, is that
we’re handed a brand book with colors we can’t use, and now we’re having to rework that
because accessibility was never consideration going into that.
Um, so that’s like a, a various, you know, tech like tactile example of, of how one little shift, you
know, like, and if your team doesn’t have the specialties to do that, that’s okay. Like lean on a
team of experts to help and collaborate on that. So bring in the web team into, you know, that
brand conversation and when you’re developing that color palette or, or whatever the thing is,
um, to get their [00:20:00] expertise and, and, and make sure that we’re living up to that kind of,
you know, core tenant of being inclusive and accessible.
And also, um, Beyond just being like the right thing to do. Like, you know, if you do work ahead,
the more you work ahead on accessibility, the more money you’ll save down the road, um,
because you don’t have to rework as much. So, um, definitely another, you know, kind of
business, um, opportunity.
Cory Miller: And I, I think, thanks for that.
Oh, Chris, go ahead.
Chris Kindred: Well, that, that just made me start thinking, um, one of the things is accessibility
doesn’t just stop with your digital things. Um, I, there’s, there’s a billboard I drive past or used to
drive past all the time, and I could barely read it because it was blue on blue and it just didn’t,
didn’t work well for, for me as I was driving a car 60 miles an hour past it.
I, I, if you’re going. Put that your, uh, that accessibility and, [00:21:00] and being inclusive as
part of your core values that trickles into your billboard, that trickles into the entryway to your
business, that that trickles into so many other things in order to prove it.
Sarah Gless: It’s a mind shift, isn’t it? Like when you, when you Yeah, when and, but it, but
once you start doing and getting the practice of that and resource for it, that’s a critical part of
Um, you, it will become a habit. And, and that’s a good habit to have.
Cory Miller: And I keep shaping this mike in my mind as it’s a, it’s a problem, but if we can do it,
you just said Sarah and shift her mind, we go, this is an opportunity to show people we care. We
don’t have to put the word on there. If we do certain things like this, just like we’ve mentioned,
diversity, equity, inclusion, huge topic and rightly.
This is going, if we truly want to act on that, we need to think about that person who might be
blind and trying to ex, like you were talking about, you know, the color palettes and things. It’s to
that thought. [00:22:00] But Mike, it seems like too, I think Chris and Boer helped me today.
Like, let’s add another reason here.
This is a team Mork, Hey, we care. So we’re doing this accessibility project and, and other
initiatives in the business side of things that they can do to say, we’re not just gonna say it, we’re
gonna do it. I mean, this seems like when you go to your team, like Sarah was saying, and
you’re like, Hey, leadership has bought in on this and understands it.
Now we go to the team, we want, hey, we want everyone as best we can to do, to, to be able to
Mike Klanac: It’s a, it’s a foundational, um, shift in how you think about it. So a small example
would be we used to, um, ask, do you need your site to be accessible? And now we just
assume we’re gonna build accessible sites.
And we used to take a pass at estimating a project and then sort of like do some additional math
to calculate accessibility. Now we assume accessibility is a part of every estimate that [00:23:00]
you’re doing. Every line item of the feature level estimate incorporates accessibility thinking.
Um, and that’s, and that’s, that changes the approach.
It, it’s, it starts at the beginning. It carries through all the way to the end. And I, I think I would be
remiss not to mention one other topic on leadership that this conversation is sort of remind me
of, which is that these standards we’re talking accessibility is sort of this like, like just just this
open-ended term, but it, it means probably slightly different things.
And from a leadership standpoint, I think one other thing you need to really consider is what
standard are you, in some cases mandated to hit? And just understanding that is part of the
leadership obligation because you are the person that may often understand where you’re doing
business, what your jurisdictions are, um, what, what laws you’re bound to.
And if you’re as an international organization, we, we work with groups in Europe, we work with
groups [00:24:00] in California. We, we work with groups that have different sets of
requirements and different guidelines. So I think an important note for anyone who’s, who’s
gonna try to build this philosophy into their organization as they should, uh, is to, to like really
fundamentally set some clear guidelines to your team and say that based on where we do
business and where we’re approaching it, the way we’re approaching it, we’re gonna try to hit,
you know, stay tuned to section 5 0 8.
Um, And, and the, the outlines set in WIC AG two one, aa. Like we, there needs to be some
basis for what you’re aiming towards. Uh, it doesn’t, doesn’t mean that, um, you can’t go past
that. Um, but uh, you probably need to have that guiding light.
Cory Miller: Uh, and I think there’s a relief for me talking to you all on this too, because when I
know for instance, this is a value, right?
That we want to, that I love you, you said, uh, just it’s assumed. You know, [00:25:00] we’re in
2023 having this conversation. It doesn’t matter what’s been in the past today, this is just an
assumption that mind shift shift, um, but that it occurs to me, you know, as a leader and then
we’ve all kind of talked this and know this, we can’t know every single thing.
Like you’re talking about these specific legislation, policies, regulations out there. You can’t
possibly. So, but I wanna say there’s hope. That’s why we’re having this conversation. That’s
why there’s great experts in WordPress overall. Try being one of them that, um, can help
navigate some of those. Like it doesn’t need to be the, the thing that you keep up with at the
That’s why you hire people like you all to even mention some of these things. Like I’ve been in
tech a long time and I learned something when I’m talking about when to you all about these
things that I hadn’t considered. And I think that’s a maybe a sense. Is like, there’s a little bit of
relief you can say like you want to do the right thing.
That’s why you go seek out experts that do. That’s why I’ve enjoyed preparation about this. I’ve
learned [00:26:00] a ton that I wouldn’t even considered . Like Sarah, you were talking about the
brand and I go more design Chris than tech sometimes, cuz I don’t know what I’m talking about
with tech all the time. But I go take this thought and go to your brand values.
We have oranges ours, but I have no idea how that expresses itself necessarily. Right. Uh, on
the web for someone that’s hurt and that’s a holistic thinking. We’re thinking like we, we’ve hit
this do do good and it’s got a pretty dang good benefit because it’s like absolutely. You can
actually reflect and show what you’re doing.
Sarah Gless: Absolutely. Um, yeah. And you mentioned like. Kind of like leaning on on experts.
And that ki kind of got me thinking, like, I think there’s this expectation. Um, I know design
designers put this expectation on them to, to, um, sometimes to, to be able to like have
expertise in this. And like we absolutely have to have, you know, baseline knowledge and, and
skills that apply to [00:27:00] our work to meet accessibility.
But, um, you know, as an organization, if you’re in a marketing team, um, for example, and
you’re like, do I, do I need to know everything about accessibility? No. And there’s no, I mean,
accessibility is a, you know, a full team of effort. Um, yeah. Um, at Modern Tribe, we’ve got a full
dedicated QA team that is testing rigorously everything we design and build.
Um, so, so no. But can you get to a place where you’ve got like a good baseline knowledge of
accessibility and or also like resources that you know you can turn to, whether it be, um, your
own team internally that’s focused on accessibility, your leadership has resource for awesome.
Or, um, if you can work with consultants or agencies like us or, or what whoever, um, get that,
that resource embedded in your team so you can turn to them, um, for their expertise.
Because [00:28:00] accessibility is like this ever-changing thing that will continue to grow. Um,
and, and I just wanna, like, I think that’s something like in my own past, I put that pressure on
myself and, um mm-hmm. , it’s a lot of pressure and it can, can kind of, um, um, get you away
from other, you know, priorities within your role.
So acknowledge that you do not have to, um, necessarily be experts, inaccessibility, but you do
have like a moral and business responsibility. To care about it and get help when you need it.
Um, um, so yeah,
Cory Miller: I think, I think that’s, that, that’s a great point. Um, in, in all this. Um, and now we’re
gonna shift to you in just a moment to talk specifically about design, Sarah.
But Mike, before we do that, I just wanna make sure, I think we’ve hit really big pillars here. Um,
moral business requirements, , it can be, there’s an opportunity here to lead and show that you
truly care. Um, anything else you think about when you’re, when you’re thinking about leaders
[00:29:00] making these decisions, wanting to give those resources to design and team and
things like that, anything else that we missed that you wanna share?
Mike Klanac: Just to like summarize, it’s a tremendous opportunity. It went from being, uh, a
challenge, a problem to No, this is just an opportunity to better serve our, our audience. Um, and
that’s how I would be thinking about it.
Cory Miller: Yeah, what a great mind shift and what a great takeaway we have more. So if
you’re a leader in an, an organization making these decisions, stay on because there’s more,
because this is a, we’re we’re evolving and growing this concept, like we’ve been saying as a
mind shift, shift change over.
What a great, great way to sum up that, Mike. Thank you. Okay, so Sarah, now let’s just talk
creative and design, because a part of this, I’ll just say this, I was like, okay, I can get the
decision. Like I can really embody that and go, it’s, it’ll take time, it will take effort, it will take
money. But as we’re talking, I go, [00:30:00] gosh, I’ve been in the seat too, where you’re a
marketing person or you’re trying to ship the work into, through the website and there’s
decisions and things that you need to be thinking about that.
So as we talk about in this role, creative and design, what, what things stick out to you as we
approach the accessibility topic?
Sarah Gless: Yeah, absolutely. Well, um, I think just acknowledging that it is a requirement. Um,
I think that there’s this kind of stigma that accessible design, um, pro, you know, prohibits
creativity, um, in a way that, you know, accessibly designed websites.
Are ugly , for lack of a better term. Um, and I think that that stems from, you know, a history of,
of hearing about lawsuits and, and, and building requirements around certain sectors. Um,
particularly like the government. Um, and websites for governments or government, um,
institutions are, are, are typically not known for, [00:31:00] um, their design.
There are a few, of course . Um, so it’s, it, you know, accessibility, I think in the design world has
a, a, a reputation that it’s gonna restrict me. Um, and I don’t like to think about that like that. I, I, I
want, you know, our design team, we, we sh we, we have a mindset that it’s just an a
requirement and any creative brief you get, um, I’m sorry, but it’s gonna have requirements on it.
Um, and so if you think about that and shift your mind into thinking that way, it truly does
become a creative opportunity, um, and a creative challenge. And, um, I think designers and
creatives. Tend to work very well if you give them some structure, but then opportunities to
innovate and there’s tons of opportunities to do that with accessibility.
Um, I think of like a past project we worked on for, um, oh, very well known, uh, Ivy League, uh,
school, um, that, you know, we designed a, a navigation, it was very robust, it [00:32:00] was
very, um, uh, boundary pushing, I’ll say on the design side. And at first blush, it did not look like
it was going to meet accessibility.
Um, we worked and collaborated with our QA team, our engineering team, um, and within those
boundaries of accessibility and or those requirements, um, and looking at this thing that we
really wanted to like put live into the world, we figured it out. Um, and we shipped a very
accessible, um, site and navigation that ended up winning a design award like.
You can do it. It’s totally possible. Does it take more resources and time? Yes, but it’s like po you
know? Yes. Um, there’s, there’s no way around that, but yes. Um, but you, it, it’s, it, it truly can
actually lead to like innovative ideas because, um, even within those requirements, there’s,
there’s bars to push and like, uh, [00:33:00] uh, figure out how to, to, um, uh, make this work.
Cory Miller: So, yeah, I think what you’re saying, so I fancy myself sometimes justified or not as
a creative, and what I hear when you say that is, I know there’s a bunch of people, when you
said the first part feels like it could prohibit, they’re probably like, yeah, it feels that way. But then
you spun it around and you said, this is an opportunity here.
I I, when I fancy myself as a creative, I go, constraints are actually really good in a lot of cases.
And so if, if it’s a challenge, Hey, you’ve give, you’re given these tools. Take it and be creative.
Like that’s what I got from that example you just gave is like, we looked at it potentially as an
obstacle, but we turned it into an opportunity to be really creative and make it work.
And I think that’s part of like, I’ll get a little fur here and say artistic, like when you say you’re
creative, it means like, don’t look at these as problems. [00:34:00] Look at ’em as opportunities.
You know, that’s the thing we got with leadership. It seems like. That’s what I just, I wrote it
down. I was like, we’re talking about how this challenge can be viewed as an opportunity and for
creatives, having worked with some creatives, I’m like, Hey, see what you can do.
Yeah. The best things. See what you, yeah.
See what you can get away with. , ,
Sarah Gless: no, little rebellious ,
Mike Klanac: as a definite not creative. I, I really think this is an interesting part of the
conversation and somewhere out there, well, this is the part that I can add, I can add that there’s
an article about like Jack White and the White Stripes.
There’s this like idea of threes where they stay within three colors, three instruments, and that
that parameter within that, they try to push innovation as much as possible, and clearly they’ve
been successful with it, so.
Sarah Gless: Absolutely. That’s awesome. I, and you know, like, oh, go ahead Chris.
Chris Kindred: I, I feel like there’s another aspect specifically to the, the, um, menu that you’re,
that you’re talking about there [00:35:00] as a technical team.
When we look at a menu that came in like that, we’re, we’re looking at it going, now there’s the,
this is gonna be difficult, .
And the, the amazing part is though, . It just takes some communication. It takes the team
working together to figure out, okay, here’s where we can push a boundary. We, we, great point.
We know how to handle this piece. And we get that developed. We, we work with, you know,
our, our, our front end team does an amazing job at staying up to date with things like WIC ag
and, and we can really lean on them in, in some of these cases to say, okay, here’s how you can
accomplish this in an accessible way.
And then with com, with good communication between design and, and our, our engineering
team, we can, we can keep pushing those boundaries. Uh, you, you mentioned that it costs
more, it does cost more to be innovative [00:36:00] like that. That’s just part of being on the front
end of the curve. Right? If, if you are trying to push boundaries, it’s going to cost more.
but accessibility doesn’t have to cost more either. The innovation piece of it is what’s costing
more. Mm-hmm. . So, you know, if, if you’re, if you’re wanting to, to do a big award-winning nav,
heck yeah, let’s do it. Let’s jump in, let’s, let’s do it together. Uh, but it doesn’t have to be that
way to be accessible either, right?
Mm-hmm. . So, yeah.
Sarah Gless: Yeah. That multidisciplinary kind of approach is so critical. Um, I think it requires
both specialization and, uh, willingness, like multidisciplinary collaboration across teams to, to
do it. Right.
Cory Miller: Well, and we talked a lot about boundaries, pushing boundaries, and it seems to
me too, it’s like there’s probably some mental boundaries we put ourselves in if we think about it
as just, oh, this is a [00:37:00] problem and I don’t want to do it.
But I think what I hear from you too, Sarah, is like, Well, this, the, the regulations, the policies,
the things that govern this have actually created your canvas. You know, if we look at it like that
and we go Exactly. And then I love the challenge actually, like Chris going like, well, what can
cools, like even cross teams, we got a challenge, but let’s look at it as this opportunity to do
something really cool.
Like when you said the awards and stuff, like love that you’re like, do such a good job with this
challenge. They, you could actually win hearts and awards, you know? Exactly. And I think that’s
for creative people, I think that’s gotta be a stoking fire of like motivation. Oh, absolutely. An
Sarah Gless: Yeah.
So that, like, nav wins an award ranks high on accessible websites in higher ed. Like what? I
mean, that’s just a perfect pair
Cory Miller: and that person out there trying to look, trying to do see here whatever to that
[00:38:00] information. They’ve, they’ve had these experts. Giving their creative talent to do it.
So there’s that other part of like, somebody got to make sure they didn’t miss that part of the
website or whatever was happening in the project.
So exactly like, how many wins do we need? People, , , you know, like, and Chris, you’re gonna
get your chance to talk tech too. Um, but I really, I really love this, like the words I hear from you,
Sarah, particularly as designer, you know, artistic and creative. You go, you said, doesn’t have
to restrict, doesn’t have to pro prohibit anything, can actually blossom and grow your creativity.
If you, if you look again, we’re talking about mind shifts and we say, Hey, this is just the canvas I
get to create on. I love that. So what else comes to your mind when we talk, when you’re talking
to creative teams and people really trying to make sure the experience is great? What are the
things that pop up to you as you’ve worked with clients and, and the teams?
Sarah Gless: Yeah. Yeah. I, I think, uh, I mentioned this a little bit earlier, [00:39:00] but just.
Taking the, knowing that you don’t have to be an expert at this thing. Like, and really, again, I
can’t hit home enough, like collaborating and, and building kind of an extension of your team to
support accessibility is so critical. Um, and putting resources towards that.
Um, whether that’s in-house or, or with an agency. Um, you know, I look at our own design team
as a great example. Like we, we definitely stay up on knowledge as it affects, you know, the, the
work that we’re working on. Um, but even our team who is talking about accessibility all the
time, We still ha have experts specifically dedicated to accessibility within our organization, our
QA team, who we can collaborate and lean on to ensure that the work that we are designing
and putting out into the world is tru truly accessible.
And so I, I just wanna really hit home like if you, if [00:40:00] you, um, are feeling maybe a little
overwhelmed, like, how do, how do I do this? Lean on people who know how to do it. Um, and
Cory Miller: I think you all have modeled that for me in our discussions leading up to this. You
really have modeled it. We, I won’t get into the exact details, but when I was saying, Hey, we’re
gonna, okay, we got our date and all that, you all started asking these questions.
I didn’t think about that. And they were accessibility questions like naturally. But what I really,
really appreciated about you three, why we’re like working with really super talented people that
are also humble is you all team approached that I think Sarah, you’re like, okay, I think, I think
it’s this, but let me, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go chase that with a team.
Chris, same way. And you guys were collaborating and I think what you all have modeled, what
you’re talking about the client should do is really look at this like it’s not on one particular person.
Yeah. Embrace the team concept. [00:41:00] We, we care. And that’s why as a team, we’re
gonna figure this out together.
Mike Klanac: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a, a perpetually changing topic. It’s guidelines are evolving,
browsers are evolving. The tools that people use are always changing. So if you’re an expert
one day, by the next day, you have more learning to do. And the way that we get around that is
by leaning on each other as a team, uh, and thinking about it as sort of a topic that we all need
to stay fresh on, um,
Cory Miller: and just care about.
I mean, this whole conversation evolved because you and I were talking to Mike, you know, and
I’m aware of the work you all do, and. You know, through us talking, you go, gotta have Chris,
gotta have Sarah on this call. That’s my, that’s You have a bigger team. Absolutely. You all have
a bigger team of course.
But you’re like, that’s a great model. So like we had you start with leadership in making those
decisions and then we’re gonna talk about creativity and then we’re gonna talk about tech. And
then you all have even lighten. Say there’s somebody else that [00:42:00] might not be in that
spec, but they’re the ones publishing the post or whatever it is to the site.
Exactly. Yeah. I think we’ve modeled this like cross-disciplinary, I think you said that too, Sarah
is like, okay, we, when we’re having these conversations, we do need leadership, do need tech,
we do need design. And probably the people actually doing this, the work, like into the world,
probably all need to be somehow represented in that conversation.
So I think I’m, I’m digressing from your subject, Sarah, but I just go, I think that just, again,
models, it’s a holistic whole team approach. We’re, we’re not gonna get it perfect, but we’re
gonna figure it out together. Absolutely. So I I love that too. I think you’ve given permission to
take some burden off Sarah, as like, yes.
You don’t have to be aid
Sarah Gless: as long as you lean on, on, on your, your internal teams or consultants in that, in
Cory Miller: Care. Lean on your team. Yes. Try to make the best decisions, get the best
[00:43:00] experience. You may not win the award every single time, but hey, allowing someone
to do that, which probably has a fr I can’t imagine the frustration someone might feel trying to
get actually this cool tool called the internet, but Oh, tripped up like one of the best
communication tools ever invented in human history, yet there’s significant part of our population
that can’t get to it.
Sarah Gless: Yeah. It’s like in the states, one in four, um, have a disability and I think globally
it’s one in six. Like think about those numbers. It’s like 25% in the us.
Cory Miller: That can’t,
Sarah Gless: that you may not be communicating with today on your website.
Cory Miller: I, uh, see again, you just go like, so let’s, let’s make this for a second, Mike.
I’m curious about this, but you two chime in. You go. If we were gonna say like, just make it a
business decision. If I went to any corporate leader, business leader in America and said, what if
you could get [00:44:00] 20% more than your gi, like, what if you could tap this market, Mike,
like from a market size, what if just from a business, okay, let’s take, take the pure human
element and you go, everybody, every business is looking for new markets to build and expand
And you go the stat that’s you just shared, Sarah goes 20% of the popul. That, that, that if we
just embrace this right thing to do thing, you can get access to that. And imagine just from a
pure business standpoint, that market that’s served better than any they get anywhere else.
They’re gonna talk, they’re gonna share, do business here, do work here, because they’re
gonna be your most vocal evangelists.
So Mike, like from a pure business standpoint, and I go, let’s add it to the thing cuz this STA is
like we all think about the new markets that we could try to break into, you know, or grow our
existing thing. And you all just said, by the way, everybody ha you know, has a hard time with
this subject, but we’re giving you a [00:45:00] huge part of the population.
You could serve extremely well.
Mike Klanac: Again, yes. Massive opportunity. And, you know, we have so many conversations
where, where we will, um, sit and deliberate over customer journeys or you know, how to adjust
content in a way to gain just that slight advantage, that percentage change, that 1%, 2% change
in conversion or experience improvement.
And here’s an opportunity if you really think about it, to cater to a, you know, one in four people
in the United States. That’s a dramatic improvement. And, and that alone justifies, you know,
thinking about this start to finish. It’s just an incredible opportunity. Again, uh, it’s a no-brainer.
Cory Miller: I’ve told you all, I want Modern Tribe to do some stickers around these things that
I’ve heard as like core values should be accessibility.
Yeah. But it’s also like, Hey, uh, I got a secret. Do you wanna grow your business? Do the right
thing? Like, [00:46:00] just service me on the shirt. . Yeah. Get it on the shirt. Cause I need a
shirt for that. You know, I’m a, I’m a swag geek Mike. But anyway, I digress. . No, we’re too, it’s
all good. . No, and I, I think that’s another thing I’ve learned from y’all too, is like, hey, we can be,
this can be a subject that we get kinda tense about because we don’t know all the answers.
What I got from you, Sarah, was uh, you took, I think you took a big, big load of perfectionism,
expectation, worry, fear of people and release them to say, care about it. Get your team. Yes.
Like that’s the two I got when you’re looking at design. And that doesn’t mean just the design
team. That means the people who are out there publishing content on the website too.
Absolutely. You know, lean on your team and don’t exclude anybody. Include everybody in this
conversation and it matters. Anything else, Sarah, on design and creativity you wanted to
Sarah Gless: Yeah, I mean, I, I’ll echo I think a lot of what we’ve already talked about, but if you
could just, [00:47:00] at the end of the day, it’s, it’s about putting yourself in those folks’ shoes.
And if, I think a great place to do that is by talking to those people, testing those people. Um, I, I
think that’s something that we, we don’t, you know, as a, um, a, a world , uh, probably do
enough of, um, and so empathy, empathy, empathy, just, you know, do the right thing, um, and,
and make it a value that you actually follow through with.
Cory Miller: Um, yep. Okay. I know you’re gonna have more to this chair. Thank you for sharing
the creativity. I think those are powerful messages that can release and really free people up to
use that creativity, use that, those innovative skills in such a really cool way. Yeah. Okay. So we
talked about leadership, talked about creativity and design.
Now let’s talk about the nuts and bolts, how this stuff works. Like [00:48:00] Chris. Uh, so you’re
back in, I know you work a lot with your team, uh, Sarah’s team, Mike’s team, um, in delivering
to the client. Um, when we talk about development, and you, you’ve, you’ve surprised me a
couple times on this Bec and, but it’s, it’s something that we just see.
It’s cuz you care about the subject, you know, you care about this work, but you’ve been able to
give some really good perspective too. But when we kind of venture into this third phase for
subject about accessibility, it’s the technical side. What sticks out to you? Uh, I always start with
Chris Kindred: You’ve gotta make it part of your culture.
And in order to do that, that means that when you are hiring, you’ve gotta actually be looking to
make sure that you’re hiring people that believe the same. And, uh, it’s very difficult to always
create great accessible things if the, the people you’re looking at to bring on board don’t believe
the same thing.
[00:49:00] So it starts kind of there. It starts with making sure you get the right people in the right
seats and, and that, uh, piece of it. Um, after that there’s a little bit of understanding why, why
we’re doing this. And, um, one of the things that I like to kind of explain is that accessibility over
time has become the norm for, for so many places.
Um, think about it as, uh, curb cutouts right at crosswalks. Um, it’s so that it’s easier for
wheelchairs to get up onto the sidewalk. And, and it’s such a normal thing to see now. Um,
when you’re getting ready to cross the street and you hit the, the walk button, when it changes,
it makes a noise. Well, it’s because people found out, hey, we need to make this more
accessible for other people.
And, and they need to be able to get from one side of the street to the other. [00:50:00] And it, it,
it just, it, it becomes part of your everyday interaction and it becomes so normal that it, it, it just
becomes part of what you do. The same applies building a website. The same applies for the
technical side of these things.
When you’re building a form, you just, it, it, it is, it, it has to be ingrained in your culture that
that’s the normal way of doing that. You build it as an accessible form and you don’t cut corners.
Where, um, Somebody that’s not building it accessible or maybe somebody that doesn’t know or
is ignorant of how to build it accessible.
Um, would, would be doing that. You know, um, braille is another great example of having like a
braille inside a building trying to find where a, um, a, a hotel room is or an office is, that kind of
thing. You, it becomes normal and therefore you start [00:51:00] implementing it. You come to
expect it. And that’s, that’s a big
Mike Klanac: I, I just wanna jump in there, Chris, cause I think. The part that ties this all
together is the fact that those items you mentioned, which were initially built for accessible
purposes, how, how many other benefits have they shown to perhaps people with different
forms of acce, uh, disability or just really anyone like a curb cutout has, su has become a
Um, the noise. I often just can hear that and it becomes a benefit to my experience not being a
disabled person. Um, and, and so those, those changes have, have become innovations for all
Chris Kindred: You, you mentioned a really good point there. Um, there’s different levels of, uh,
disability, let’s say. Yes. Um, you, you’ve got permanent disabilities, which are, are people that,
that aren’t going to get over whatever disability they have.
Mm-hmm. . And, and you also have, [00:52:00] uh, you know, that’s, uh, Loss of limb kind of
thing. Maybe not being able to type, not being able to hear, not being able to see those kinds of
things. Uh, you also have a concept of a temporary disability.
Uh, we, we’ve
all experience things like getting your eyes dilated and not being able to look at a website, uh,
that, that can really mess with your mind a little bit.
If, if a website has all the text way too close together, say you need to call your, uh, eye doctor
right after you left and you pull up their website on your phone and you can’t find the phone
number because you, your eyes are dilated. Um, yeah. Now, and there there’s also this concept
of situational disability.
Um, very similar. But, uh, say you’re sitting next to your four-year-old and on the couch and
you’re flipping through videos on your phone and you have the volume off cuz you don’t know
what somebody’s gonna say and you don’t want your four year old to hear it. Um, You know that
that’s another [00:53:00] case of an opportunity, that if they have transcripts on that video, all of
a sudden, you know what they’re talking about without having to maybe have your four year old
say a word they shouldn’t.
Um, you know, it, the, there’s, there’s this other concept a, around situational disabilities, um,
that I, it kind of hits home with me in particular because, um, there’s this level of like your
emotional state when you’re looking at a website, um, maybe your, your ability to actually have
like all the right, be in the right state of mind when you’re going to a, a website.
And it, uh, it, my, my daughter was born with a congenital heart defect. She was life flighted from
the hospital three days after she was born to a hospital five hours away.
My wife went with [00:54:00] her on, on the life flight, and we were extremely thankful she was
able to, but uh, here we are. I’m, I’m five hours away.
I’m getting ready to get in the car. There was a blizzard that night. There, there was just all kinds
of things going on, and I’ve gotta try to figure out how to get to this hospital and how to, um, find
my family, my newborn baby, all of this stuff. Uh, yeah. Eric Meyer does a very good talk on this.
Um, I, I think it was a, a list of part talk some, something like that.
Um, but it, it is a, a, a, it, it specifically talks about, uh, I think designing in a crisis or designing
for crisis. And, you know, if, if your mind’s not where it needs to be to read the information on a
website and you’re looking for how to get to an emergency room from the airport, And [00:55:00]
you are scrolling through a website.
I, I know websites pretty well. I’ve been reading websites my whole life, and I know that normally
there’s an address in the bottom left or right side of most websites. But if you’re trying to do that
looking through tiers, it’s much more difficult. And so there’s this level of, um, just because the,
there’s this level of morality that we talked about before, it’s the right thing to do.
But also it, it’s, it, it doesn’t, it, it can apply to anybody at any point in time. And you want to
make sure you’re being inclusive of all of those potential situations, especially when it’s, um, you
know, good or, or bad or, you know, education has alerts and all kinds of, there’s just, it, it
permeates through the entire industry.
Cory Miller: So before I come back to, to you, Chris, because I want you to put, uh, what the
question I’ll ask when I digress for a second with Sarah [00:56:00] is, uh, think about the
technical person on the other side in that seat and the challenges they have. But, you know,
Sarah, you, you do design. You know, you think about from the purpose of a website.
If I’m an er, I mean, Chris, you just said a hundred percent of people on that website, what do
they want to know? I wanna get to that building as fast as humanly possible. So Sarah, from a
pure design ux ui, that’s the purpose of a website. Is it not? Like, give people to the thing you
and your situational, uh, uh, experience.
Chris made me think. That’s, let’s, let’s take aside for a second. Accessibility. That’s just what
you wanna do with the website. Like absolutely. How do I, they are hunting, how do I put it right
in front of them? You know what I’m saying? Like from the design side .
Sarah Gless: Yes. Like know your audiences, [00:57:00] all of them prioritize, you know, and,
and ensure that you’re talking to them, you’re listening to them, you’re testing that work, and you
know that it’s going to be there in, in a variety of situations.
It’s not just about slapping your brand on a website. It’s about ensuring that that experience is
meeting users where they’re at and serving their needs and, and, um, understanding the tests
they need to complete and, and designing to that. Um,
Cory Miller: like I go back to what you said, and this is reverberating now, and how deep, well,
what you said earlier is good accessibility is good design, and you go.
I mean, we can take it aside, all of this and just go, that’s the purpose. You wanna get people to
the thing they need to do. You want to empathize, use the word you used earlier, Sarah too, is
like, empathize. What are they trying to get done? Okay. I’m a, whatever the organization, Chris,
you just laid it out.
It’s blindingly obvious, the location. Think about that for restaurants. [00:58:00] Think about that
for any, any business, any organization, nonprofits, like, they come to you by the way, and
they’re looking for something and as fast and efficiently as you can get that to ’em. So I go back
to your comment now, it’s even more deeper.
It’s like good accessibility is a good design because it’s about the action you’re trying to help that
person get to, right?
Sarah Gless: Absolutely. Yeah.
Chris Kindred: I, I would even take it a step further and say, good acceptability is usability. Mm-
hmm. Uh, it,
it’s, it’s not just the design, but. It, it’s, it’s the total package of it.
It’s, it’s making sure that that button, when it’s clicked, you know, it was clicked and that it’s not
going to do something unexpected. You know, taking, taking it back to a technical point of view,
you know, making sure to know how to make sure a screen reader is announcing that button
that it was clicked um, making sure that, uh, the, the person knew what that button button
[00:59:00] was going to do and not just say, click here. You know, that making it clear
that’s what was going to happen when that button was clicked is a key aspect to it.
Cory Miller: So, Mike, I just go back down. Sorry. Go ahead, Sarah.
Sarah Gless: Yeah, I was just gonna go back to like what Mike said earlier about like, there’s
also like kind of these like side effects that are good side effects when you, when you design,
um, um, whatever the experience is, whether it’s a curb or a website, um, to be accessible, you
have all these.
Additional benefits for folks that may not have disabilities. So like in the case of the, um, the,
you know, the button to call the ER is not visible. Well, what if you designed it to be, well, I bet
you’re gonna pick up not just ensuring that like it’s accessible, but also a lot of users who may
not have disabilities, um, still struggle to find things on websites.
So like, you know, they’ll be able to get their tasks done. Um, professor too, I know it’s a very
hyper [01:00:00] specific example, but, but it does help provide like context, this bigger idea,
Cory Miller: Hey Sarah, I think no, it’s a like proving you all’s point is the it. Let’s add another
one, Mike, to the first part you said, let’s add another one if, if you only use accessibility as to
make your site the best converting, most efficient tool for communicating to your customers.
We just like backed into, uh, because you, we’ve all gone back to these, like the usability thing.
If you’re forced to look at like, okay, let’s pull up JAWS or whatever tools you all use and
recommend for your clients, and let’s, let’s go at it from that perspective. You’ve empathized with
the customer and you think if we just put it under marketing or sales, I go, this is the exercise
most organizations should be doing.
Because you’re gonna go to the level and you’re gonna have to think about, I’m just talking the
business case. Okay? Every website [01:01:00] needs to spur an action, like we’re trying to lead
them to something. It could be a sale, it could be the address of the emergency room, it could
be whatever it is. I just go from the business case, Mike, like, this is an exercise that all of us
should be doing.
Because if you’re in Chris’s situation, you’re like, isn’t it clear? Everybody, everybody in the room
know what the key thing here is we’re trying to get people to the emergency room physically.
That informs design, it informs technical, but. Here’s another business case we should add.
Mike Klanac: Absolutely. Yeah, and it’s really inspiring to like see the conversation.
I think. As an entire, in the, across the world, evolve from being one where like the, the, the talk
that, that Chris just provided it, it probably used to have just been about like how to use like alt
tags. Like 10 years ago it would’ve been like, how do we tag content? And now it’s, it’s crossed
into like more of a phil philosophical understanding that, hey, this is, this is, um, this is [01:02:00]
This is a usability opportunity, this is a chance to empathize with our users. This is a chance to,
um, improve customer and user journeys and, and, uh, make it easier for you to check out or to
get the information that you need. Um, so it’s, I just am it, it, I, I’m, I like that the dots are starting
to be connected and that this conversation has changed from just like a very sort of niche
technical, how do I.
Do these things that I have to do, because otherwise I’m gonna get in trouble to look at all of this
opportunity that we have to incorporate this thinking to better serve our audience that affects,
that, improves our business and makes everybody happier. I mean, uh, it connects a lot of dots.
Cory Miller: It’s cool. I, I’m not exaggerating, but maybe we should rename this panel to how to
build a successful website.
Yeah. , I mean, I know I’m exaggerating a little bit, but I go, like, when you were talking through
that, Sarah, I thought [01:03:00] that is a focusing feature. It makes us ask the question, what’s
this all about? What are we trying to do? Well, if we can hit it in all these scenarios, we’ve
crystal, we’ve used it as an exercise honestly, to crystallize what we’re trying to get from it and
pave the way, like that’s the purpose of website, right?
Mm-hmm. , so Absolutely. Okay. I’m preaching the choir, but I’m just hearing what you’re saying
and going, yeah. We should. Totally. I think the other title is it’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity,
you know? Yeah. Okay. Chris, I have veered all the way, but I think it’s been good. We need this
out in the world. We need people to hear these things and appreciate you all sharing so
authentically with this.
So, back to the question, Chris, I’m gonna get back to you. So from a technical standpoint,
there’s, on your clients, you’ve, you’ve talked to a number, I mean number of teams in the
technical side. And you know, part of my question here is trying to help the leaders listening to
other people, the other parts of this team understand [01:04:00] there are issues like Sarah did
for design that designers have, there’s somewhere technical.
What are the things that stick out to you, you know, those challenges people the technical side
has when they’re working on this particular subject of accessibility?
Chris Kindred: Uh, I, I would say it’s, it’s keeping up with the changes as they come. Um,
that’s, that’s one of the big ones. Uh, you know, there, there are different requirements.
Uh, those, there’s more stringent requirements when it comes to WIC ag, which is if, if you’re a
front-end developer and, and backend developers to, uh, knowing what the requirements are to
hit certain levels, depending on kind of going back into the legal side of it, you’re, you’re certain
you’re gonna be required to hit a certain level of accessibility.
And knowing what those are and how they change over time is a big piece of it. And, uh,
[01:05:00] at, at Modern Tribe, we really lean a lot on our front end developers for keeping up
with that. But also we communicate as a whole and, and we make sure that everybody’s, you
know, doing code reviews for each other and, and that kind of thing to make sure that, uh, if, if
there is an accessibility, um, Item that we address it before it goes out, uh, and that, uh, those
kinds of things.
So it, it, I would say the, the biggest issue is trying to just stay relevant with those, um,
accessibility changes. Every time a browser comes out with something new, you’ve gotta kind of
go back and look at it and see if it changed the way you need to implement something based
upon those accessibility requirements.
Cory Miller: So from, so from the technical side, there’s how, how any general guidance you’d
give for how to kind of stay touched. It seemed to [01:06:00] me, you know, from a team
standpoint is we just regularly have the discuss. Like the topic comes up regularly enough,
however that is, but those developers that want to contribute, technical people that want to
contribute to it.
Any, any thoughts there about how they could try to keep up and places to go?
Chris Kindred: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh, so there’s, we, we use a lot of different tools and,
and that kind of thing, but you can always go to the WAC website and, and that’s going to tell
you exactly what you need to hit and, and how to perform certain actions in an accessible way.
Uh, but, but there’s also some other things out there. Um, uh, I A A P certifications, uh, the, this
is a, um, it, it’s a, uh, they offer a web accessibility certification that you can get and, uh, it, it
teaches you a, about web accessibility, and you [01:07:00] can go through the whole, whole
process there and, uh, you know, There’s no better way to prove that accessibility’s serious to
you than getting some kind of certification For sure.
Um, it’s, it’s not, uh, an easy thing to do. There. There are other certifications out there too. Um,
that’s just the first one that came to my mind. But, uh, th those types of certifications are, are
nice to be able to go out and do and, and learn. Um, and if you’re making it part of your culture,
then you’re always talking about it.
It’s, it’s like, like I said, it’s part of those code reviews. Um, if, if, if I’m reviewing somebody’s
code and I’m, I’m seeing it, I’m learning too. If they implemented something that I may not have
been aware of yet, uh, that, that’s a big piece as well. So mm-hmm. that, that being able to
communicate back and forth about ’em, uh, is, is also super beneficial.
Cory Miller: Mike, did you have something to add? probably jumped the gun
Mike Klanac: a little bit. I, I [01:08:00] think I was going to start to mention tooling a little and its
role in this and, and Chris hit it a, a touch there. But, um, yeah, I mean this is a, this is a, a open
conversation. So, you know, it’s, it’s something that it, you have to kind of revisit periodically.
And the, the tooling, one of the things that it does besides kind of educate you and their, their
job is to stay current on creating a system of scans that, um, enforces certain standards. Um, it,
it, it allows you to kind of revisit it on a regular basis, uh, and that there is some. There’s a huge
role for that, right?
Like it no, no human can actually stay on top of all of the changes at all times. The, that
provides some nice rails. And yeah, as we get into this, perhaps this last section in a moment
where we talk about the, the, the content publishing or the sort of the, the end user role in
[01:09:00] accessibility, um, I think that tooling is a, a key
Cory Miller: part of that as well.
Okay. So I want to ask Chris one more thing. So this whole banner is accessibility for sure, but
WordPress accessibility, I think that’s the two parts of this why I asked you all to do this
particular topic because, you know, accessibility, but you also know the nuances with
WordPress like you’re experts.
Travis has been around for a very long time doing some really cool stuff with WordPress forever.
So, uh, Chris, my question is now accessibility with WordPress. Things that come out, stand out
with you with this amazing open source software that we love that’s used around the globe and
it’s great solutions for clients.
Um, what things stick out there with WordPress accessibility particularly?
Chris Kindred: Uh, well, well first open source software. It, it is always, um, it, people are
always talking about accessibility. If you go into the, the WordPress Slack, you can see people
trying [01:10:00] to focus on accessibility and try to get accessibility into, uh, everything.
Uh, you know, I guess it was two or three years, Gutenberg did a big accessibility audit on all
the blocks, and that was really important for WordPress to be doing to help move the editor itself
forward and make it more accessible for content editors. Um, but as Gutenberg’s matured and,
and become the block editor, it’s, it’s become everybody’s focus.
There’s this new opportunity and, and I think that, uh, As we continue to implement these
accessible designs that our, our amazing designers have put together and, and our developers
have gone in and, and put a lot of work behind the templates and building out the header and
the footer and, and everything, there’s this, uh, there’s this content piece that is going to have to
be implemented and most of the time that’s by the client.
And [01:11:00] the, the best way to help them would be by creating plugins that test the
accessibility before it’s ever even published. And being able to interface with a service that
allows you to check that and give feedback in a meaningful way to a publisher and being able to
tell them, this is inaccessible and here is why.
Because that’s a key point too, making sure they know why, so they don’t always have to fix it
every time they do it. Um, and, and being able to flag that the way that editor works now
compared to way it worked with the classic editor. It, it gives you so many more opportunities for
that kind of, um, benefit.
So, so creating a, a plugin, you know, it, it’s something that I, I know a few places have tried to
create these, and, and there’s, there’s an opportunity to be able to, to do that. And I, I really, I’m
looking forward to, [01:12:00] uh, potentially participating and creating a plugin that can handle
that kind of thing. Um, you know, flagging it, uh, checking it from the front, inside, all of those
kinds of things for a user, um, that, that would be a, a huge benefit to the community as a whole
and, and to content creators.
Cory Miller: I, I think you pointed at something that I often don’t, I, I kind of gloss over, but the
fact that there’s so many people, the power of WordPress is so many people collaborating and
caring about this. Yes. This isn’t a new thing to WordPress. It’s what I. It’s, we’re, we’re
imperfect, but as a community. And the core software has a very passion for diversity, equity,
inclusion in that conversation has been championed by people like you and others in the
community to make sure WordPress is always accessible.
But having said that, there’s still things, there’s still things that we need to account for. And you
brought those up as like, well, we did in the discussions. It’s like you can do all the [01:13:00]
front end work and then you’re down to the person that just hasn’t had the opportunity to be
trained a little bit.
And the block editor, there are things that need, that are being discussed actively and worked
on in the community to need to be done to ensure the other part of this. We got the great first
site, but now, okay, we’re turning over and I, I think it was, Sarah mentioned one of the previous
conversations is one, you know, a blog post.
Could break the accessibility. You know, one thing that would just because you have so much
power, I mean, it’s the beauty of Good Berg and the block editor, you have so much opportunity
there, . You also have an opportunity to kind of go into and break your, all your good work
you’ve done to try to be accessible.
Okay. Anything else on technical? And then I wanna divide, dive in with the remain time and
thank you all for your time and sharing your expertise so openly. Um, the next section, just about
that side of this whole thing is like the other part of the team that might not be in some of the
core conversations but are executing, doing the work.
[01:14:00] Anything else? Chris, though, before we shift gears into that?
Chris Kindred: Uh, technical is such a code dependent thing that it could get. I, I could drown
you in what Aria labels mean and why and why not. But you know, the fact is if you’ve put a
culture in place around accessibility, then. It’s, it’s something that your devs are going to be able
to help you with.
And, uh, it, it’s, it’s just part of, part of the process.
Cory Miller: I’ve heard. I’ve, I think another theme in all this is like, if you’re a designer,
developer on the team in some way, uh, this is your webinar to go back if you need help in
reinforcements, saying, Hey, we need to embrace this. Um, because I know so many talented
designer developers, good hearts, wanna do the right thing, need the resources, you know?
Yeah. Need that collaboration.
Sarah Gless: Be champions of, yeah. [01:15:00] Making sure this, this is a conversation. Um,
and, and feel empowered to like, Take that upwards towards, towards leadership.
Cory Miller: Yeah. And share this link afterwards so they Yeah. Can come in here us talk about
the amazing opportunity they have here. Yeah. Okay.
Thanks Chris. All right. So final section is just this part. You’ve done all the fronting work, you do
care, you’re doing all the efforts, but then there’s this situation you already mentioned that they
could break it on that particular page because of the power of some of the word and and the
lack of the resources and training and guidance.
So when we get to this side, the client publishing of all this, who wants to share, what do you got
locked and loaded? I wanna just kind of put it here. Cause I think this is another team
collaboration of like probably people that are oftentimes overlooked, blamed sometimes, and
just don’t have this side of it that we need to be thinking about from leadership all the way down
through the organiz.
Mike Klanac: [01:16:00] Yeah, this is a, a really important part of it that oftentimes gets
overlooked. Um, and that is just to be really clear, it’s that after these tools have been created, a
lot of accessibility thinking has gone into them, and then they are delivered to, um, you know, a,
a content publisher to, to maintain and to use for, for possibly up to five years.
Um, you’re at this key point where as a, maybe an agency partner supporting someone, like
you’re putting a lot of that power into their hands now to pick up that, that, that torch and
continue to run with it. Um, and there’s a really unfortunate metaphor here, which is, you know,
MySpace, you know, we can all recall MySpace.
It was really great. No longer exists today. They were very well intended. And at some point it
went from being this nice. Tidy page with a profile to music blaring and the thousands of like
scrolling pages and things [01:17:00] jumping out all over. And that’s because there was not
enough rails put into place for content publishers to be success successful for the long haul
So we’ve, we’ve sort of come to the realization, and this is kind of part of like ergonomic thinking
and you know, you have to set these content publishers up for success. And the way that you
do that is not only in how you’re architecting the system, the publishing environment, um, to give
instruction, to make it just like intuitive and easy to use and sort of like heuristic and you can
kind of just, you can figure it out.
It’s simple. Um, but like training them on the idea of publishing accessible content because we,
no matter how many guardrails we put into place, if you’re not thinking about it, you will
eventually break the system by putting in. You know, content that is not accessible. Uh, so we
try to incorporate that into our training [01:18:00] process.
Um, and, and let, let be pretty candid upfront to say, you’ve got a, a wonderfully accessible site
right now. It won’t be this way if you put in concerning content with, you know, strange things
that, that perhaps like in the moment feel really exciting, but you know, they’re, they’re not
gonna, they’re not gonna work from an accessibility standpoint.
It’s something you need to continue to think about. Um,
Cory Miller: I mean, this goes back, that’s first part of it. Yeah. This goes back to your, your part
and two is the leader and the people making the decisions need to think about all of this that,
okay. Part one is just getting the infrastructure, the, the base. Part two is people have to operate
within that base and we need to be considerate and give ample resource.
To to hear because all of our good intentions could go away. . Yeah. When, when inadvertently
someone who does care, [01:19:00] makes a, makes a decision that affects it. So putting that
into the process is, is huge. And I think I’ve heard variously E three talk about the training and
the ongoing maintenance and upkeep of your knowledge about how these things operate, um,
isn’t a very important part of all of this.
Um, yes sir. Chris, you mentioned tooling or I think Mike got into tooling too earlier. So that
seems to be one part, as I’ve talked to you all, part of this is like just proper tooling to do some
as much as we can, as this continues to evolve and change with browsers and different
technology and stuff.
But, so can you talk to me a little bit about the tooling side?
Chris Kindred: Yeah. Uh, so. Tools we use, um, we use Site Improve Dubbo. Um, some of
those that what they’ll do is they’ll actually go out and put your, put the URL in there and it will
scrape your site and tell you what kind of, um, accessibility issues come up.[01:20:00]
Uh, they’re, they’re great tools that, that kind of thing helps a lot. And, and you can automate
that process to run weekly, daily, monthly, however often you want it to. Uh, and, and that’s a
really great check, but I, I really feel like you should be doing something before that. And, and
the easiest way to do that is by installing a browser extension on, you know, if you’re using
Chrome, Chrome has ax and you can install AX on your, on your browser, and then you can go
pull up your page and it’s gonna tell you the same stuff, but you’re just gonna catch it before
somebody else did.
You know, make it part of your publishing process that you publish a page. Go pull up X on, on
the front end and make sure that there’s not a glaring problem. Um, when you’re dealing with
Sarah Gless: Go ahead. I was just gonna say even, even before that, um, too, it’s, it’s the
training aspect that, that we mentioned earlier.
Um, you know, from [01:21:00] a kind of content side of things, established guidelines and, and
make sure that they’re accessible by everyone on your team that’s creating content and that
they’re updated regularly, um, as things change and evolve with, uh, within the accessibility
world. Um, so people are, are making good content from the start.
So we, we looked at it a little bit backwards, but I I, I like that because it, yeah, it kinda leads
back to that, that person,
Cory Miller: the two sides are seems like tools and training the two sides of the airplane, you
know? Um, so the,
Chris Kindred: there’s, there’s one more piece that I wanna mention is that you can always fix
what’s in the editor.
It’s not, you didn’t just destroy your site forever because you posted one piece of content that
was, uh, that had an accessibility problem, evaluate it, go back in and fix it. It’s not the, the
whole point is being aware. Yeah. It’s when you didn’t go back and fix it. It’s [01:22:00] knowing
it was there and ignoring it.
Those kinds of things that will really get you going along a
Mike Klanac: right. I mean, people are gonna make mistakes. In fact, I’m assuming at some
point someone will look back at this webinar and think they said something incorrect. Um, the
point is that we care and we’re we’re trying to do the right thing.
Um, and, and so I think you’re right, Chris, like going back, if someone identifies an issue, you
can fix it. I mean, that’s the best thing about this is nothing set in stone here forever.
Cory Miller: That is the beauty of the web. I used to be in new newspapers, and when you
printed a mistake, it went out . I can’t imagine we had this opportunity to make it, to fix it.
Go back and fix it. Um, well, I, I like that. Any other thoughts on the training and tooling side?
Um, making sure, you know, I, I assume all this when you’re, we’re talking about like checklists
and workflows, like making [01:23:00] sure this is things you do with clients. Like, Hey, there’s
somebody in, not in this meeting and hasn’t been privy to all this
Here you go. Here’s some basic stuff to look at. I don’t know if that’s style sheets. I don’t know if
that’s like, earlier you talk, you know, Sarah, about like the colors of your logo and then how
does that transit translate accessibly And, uh, Chris again, any, anything like that you think as
you’re, you’ve been working with clients for a long time with this particular thing.
What you do that kind of makes the difference for someone you know, is, are there style guides?
Are there. Typical things they do. How do you approach this from alus perspective on that
training? Like, do you build in like, you know, um, training with a team or I, you know, anything
on that regard?
Mike Klanac: I, I could probably add one more thing, which is that we, you know, there’s a lot of
intention in the, in the design and the construction of content, so I, if you do that right, [01:24:00]
the, the publishers experie.
Is pretty like straightforward. It’s about the quality of the content and the messaging and less the
construction of it, and therefore like there’s less opportunity to get creative at that point. You’re,
you’re sort of like focused on like what the message, the content’s trying to convey is, and not
so much how the looks and where it positions or if you do have some editorial power at that
It’s from a predetermined set of, of configuration. So you’re like putting the content in and
flipping levers and hitting buttons from pre-approved standards that everyone was agreed, uh, in
agreement on and happened to be accessible. Um, so if that, that work upfront has been done
well, those are some of those guardrails and I, I think that that can, that can help continue
success into the future.
Chris Kindred: That’s where Gutenberg has made things so much easier [01:25:00] for, for us.
We can go in and create patterns and build out those patterns to be accessible and, and meet a
certain, um, layout that sales teams provided the front end to, to be able to do. And, and so
we’ve, we’ve said, okay, here’s, here’s a pattern you can use that we’ve already vetted as an
accessible pattern, and, and you don’t have to worry about it.
If you use this pattern, you’re good. And then you can use the next pattern. You’re good, and,
and you can kinda work your way down the page that way. And it, it makes things better for the
end user. And, you know, that’s, that’s everybody’s goal here. How can we do what’s best for the
end user using WordPress to publish and then in turn their users
coming to the website.
Cory Miller: All right. Anything else on that? And before we do some takeaways,
Mike Klanac: I think that pretty much covers it.
Cory Miller: This has been like, I think it’s [01:26:00] beyond primer. What this is is helping one,
somebody that does want to care, that cares, takes some meaningful steps about holistically
embracing this. Um, and with really solid business and human reasons attached. And I think
part of this that I was surprised a little bit is just the thinking when we got into accessibility.
It’s like actually you can, you can make money doing the good thing, doing the right thing. Um,
Maybe more money because we’ve talked about the one in 6, 1, 1 in four in America in
particular. But, and, and then the situational that you did, Chris, permanent, situational,
temporary Mike, really sharing, um, the, that, that whole case to help us think about that.
Um, so I, I love it. And I think the big headline is don’t look at this as a problem. Look at this as
an opportunity. And I think you all have masterfully shared some really compelling, [01:27:00]
you can’t look away from reasons why this should be like the center of, not just the project, not
just the website Pro, but culturally as a, as an organization, how we’re gonna be in the world.
And I think it’s pretty, pretty awesome. Anything we missed? Anything you wanna share? Um,
that we didn’t touch?
Mike Klanac: I’ll just like, my final thought on this was, first of all, again, thank you Corey, for, for
recording this. I, I like the opportunity to sometimes approach these topics from a new angle
and, and specifically as it relates to accessibility.
There’s been a lot of talks and accessibility and a lot of times they do get pretty in the weeds.
Um, because that’s an important part of this is understanding the weeds and the, the specifics.
Um, but what I was, what really drew me to this conversation was the ability to take a step back
and, and think about, uh, this topic more holistically as it relates across all the layers of culture
Um, both like at a, working with an agency partner, but in your own organization and how doing
that, [01:28:00] um, can ultimately bring you a lot of success. So I appreciated the new angle on
Cory Miller: Sarah, Chris, any any save takeaways or thought.
Sarah Gless: Yeah, I think like my, my biggest kind of takeaways are how critical it is for, um,
you know, organizations to truly like, resource for this.
Don’t, you know, it’s, it’s kind of that idea of like, show don’t tell, like make it part of your values.
Sure. But then show it, right? And, and, and put resources towards it. I think that, um, is a
critical step in making sure this is truly valued, um, at your organization and that you’re
connecting with your, your audiences.
Chris Kindred: Uh, I, I really agree. Uh, I, I agree with everything that’s been said, but you
know, I, I think Mike talking along the points of, there’s a bunch of talks out there about
accessibility from a technical point of view, [01:29:00] from, uh, how to implement and, and
those kinds of things. But I, I think one of the places that struggles the most is, um,
Organizations understanding that it costs a lot of money to do that, and it, it costs a lot of money
because they’ve been going at it the wrong way, and they’ve been coming at it from kind of an
inside out, not an outside in, and not making it like sarason not making it part of your culture.
And if you can make it part of every piece, it’s not, it’s not going to be as expensive as it is if you
have to remediate something once it’s all done. Uh, so it, it’s, um, this has been very eye-
opening to me to, I don’t think many people are looking at it from this direction. And I, I, uh, am
am excited to be a part of that.
Cory Miller: Well, thank you three for sharing. Uh, so openly, uh, your expertise and experience
about [01:30:00] this pretty vital, you know, topic that if we’re working on the web, it’s just, In
fact, it’s, we’ve illustrated some good points, but appreciate you all for being and sharing so
openly and taking your time. I know it’s, it’s a Friday now as we’re recording, but, um, you have,
you have those clients waiting on you.
Mike, would you share a little bit how can someone heard what you all have shared and talk,
start the conversation with Modern Tribe.
Mike Klanac: Yeah, for sure. If anybody has a, a follow on question or wants to talk to Modern
Tribe about the work that we do, um, our website is, uh, t r i.be. Um, so you can Google Search
Modern Tribe, we pop up around there, uh, the first couple responses.
Um, you can also reach email@example.com and um, You know, our goal is to be helpful. So I I
really, we do this quite often. If you just have a question, we’re happy to, to just just talk about
stuff. So it doesn’t always [01:31:00] have to be reaching out if you have a, a new project
opportunity. This is important to us.
We like to hear from people and, uh, yeah, build relationships with everyone in the space. So
that’s how you can reach us. And, and thanks again. And Corey, and then, and the work that
post status is doing, carrying these topics through, uh, to the audience. It, it’s really, really
Cory Miller: Yeah. I, I think we’ve got a couple more to topics to pull back because I’ve, I’ve
already identified some ones that I want to go.
I go, I think there’s more here that I kind of hear, heard that like it may be more, more a specific
treatment. So, but Sarah, Chris, Mike, thank you for today. Appreciate your time, what you do
and WordPress and the larger world, uh, out there. So have a great, uh, rest of your day. Thank
you for being here.
Mike Klanac: Good talk.
Cory Miller: Bye.
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