Bet Hannon discovered WordPress in 2008 and has been a big fan ever since. In 2013 she began getting more involved with the WordPress community. Later on, as she started to get into membership sites, WooCommerce wove its way into the mix.
On this episode, we discuss several areas related to accessibility and Bet’s insights, examples and tips are well worth the listen.
A Chat with Bet
In episode 98, Brad and I talk with Bet about:
- When and how she became hooked on WordPress
- How event registration and Gravity Forms led to WooCommerce
- How working with a large agricultural growers water district ignited her passion for accessibility
- How she has built a career in accessibility and what she is seeing in the growth of awareness
- Her thoughts on how WooCommerce/eCommerce sites differ from other sites
- Whether she finds herself testing accessibility features when she is just browsing on the web and she has never bought something solely because of a site’s accessibility
- One or two of the biggest accessibility issues she sees over and over again
Connect with Bet
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Bob: Hey, everyone. We are back with Do the Woo episode 98. We are getting close to the big 100 spot. Hey, Brad, my co-host. How are you doing?
Brad: Good. How're you doing, Bob? You getting some snow over there? Is it just the rest of the country?
Bob: Actually, we got an ice storm here on the ocean, so we were frozen up for a couple of days. We were without power for 30 hours.
Bob: It was an interesting time.
Brad: Those are always scary, ice storms.
Bob: Yeah. You spend your time on the couch by the propane fireplace for 30 hours under three blankets and it becomes a real tiring after about one hour, but we dealt with it. Other people have it worse. It's over with.
Brad: For some people that sounds like a dream.
Brad: Then for other people, it sounds like a nightmare.
Bob: Yeah. Yeah, there's always going to be something worse going on out there. That's the way it is.
Brad: Depends on the type of person you are.
Bob: Yeah. Well, we have a great show, great guest, and before we dive into that, I'd just like to thank our community sponsor, PayPal. I've mentioned them before with their buy now pay later, a great option to get your clients on if there are already using PayPal. Helps conversions and I'll be talking more about that midway through the show, and giving you more details on that.
Without further ado, I would like to welcome our guest, Bet Hannon. How're you doing, Bet?
Bet: Doing good. Thanks for having me.
Bob: How's your part of the world?
Bet: We had two nights with five inches of snow each. I got to break out the electric snowblower last week. It's good.
Bob: Yeah. All right. Yeah, we're all dealing with it. Yep.
Brad: I'm done with it, and I'm usually a winter guy. But I don't know, this year has been a lot ... There's been a lot more snow than I can remember in a long time. I am over it. I'm out of salts, I'm tired of shoveling. I don't have a snowblower. Maybe I need to get one for next season, but I'm done.
Bet: We got the snowblower when we had the one winter with 48 inches of snow in 48 hours.
Brad: That's when, just like Bob said, you just go on the couch for a few days, put a fire on and just wait for it to melt.
Bob: Yeah. Read it a lot and eat dry crackers. That's all you need. It's like, okay, got to keep that refrigerator closed.
Brad: Yeah, crazy.
Bob: All righty. Well, so Bet, what we normally do is ask the infamous question to start out the show, how do you Do the Woo?
Bet: Yeah, I run an agency, Bet Hannon Business Websites, and we focus mostly on WordPress and accessibility, although we do some things with WooCommerce. We have a few e-commerce sites and a learning management system site, but our big sites that we use WooCommerce on are our membership sites. We have a couple of large organizations that wanted to be able to bring their offline membership systems online with some options for doing online payments and recurring payments. We do WooCommerce plus WooCommerce memberships and subscriptions, and then those organizations wanted to do directories, so we pull in Gravity and Gravity Forms and GravityView to do that.
Bob: Cool. All right, we'll dive into a little bit more about that, but we'd love to hear your journey to WordPress and then how this Woo cropped up at some point along the way.
Bet: Yeah. My training anyway is not coding or development. I started with about a 15 year career in nonprofit management. I was doing techie geeky things for the organizations I was a part of and building drag and drop websites and doing email newsletters. Right at the beginning of 2008, the last organization I was working for downsized my position and my family needed to stay in the city where we were living. I accidentally fell into the idea that people would pay you to do those techie geeky things for them. It had never occurred to me, really, before that. I started doing some of that and hadn't been doing it too long and was doing a drag and drop website.
I was telling a friend that, "Hey, people are starting to pay me to do this." He says, "You should totally do that in WordPress." I said, "I've never even heard of WordPress." We had been talking at a conference over the weekend. We went back on a Monday, this was end of 2008. We both got on the phone and we logged into the backend of his WordPress website and I was hooked forever. It was just the ... Totally blown away with what WordPress would do and be able to do, and so started just building sites for people initially as an assembler, and then quickly learned a lot of ... got up to speed on coding and started building out sites for people.
Bob: Sounds like love at first sight.
Brad: And we're done here. See you next week, ladies and gentlemen. Bob's cutoff after that one.
Bob: I couldn't help that. That came to mind.
Bet: No, but I got involved and then I went to my first WordCamp in 2013, when I went to WordCamp LA. Just got hooked, really hooked with the community. I think Bob, you and I might've first met in San Francisco in 2014.
Bob: Yeah, I think so.
Bet: Just that sense of the community and getting connected and giving back and being a part of that.
Bet: Served on the support team. One of the moderators on the support forums.
Bob: Yeah, fast forwarding, how did Woo come into play with them? Obviously, came into play through those membership sites.
Bet: Yeah, so initially for the first organization that we did that for, we had been primarily doing event registrations. We were using Gravity Forms and doing a ton of customization and complex registration forms with them and for some other organizations too, more of that. Then this organization said, "We want to put our membership online, right? People are supposed to be paying every year. We just want to get rid of that, chasing people down for checks and getting them in the mail and all of that processing." We looked around, and initially we looked at doing ... just setting up a recurring transaction through initiating a Gravity Form.
Bet: But pretty quickly we figured out that when you do that, people can't cut it off. They have to call you to cut it off. They have to call you and depend on you to cancel or change their card. That just became an increasing management debt. We were looking for some other options that would allow people the options for doing their own cancellations, or doing their own updates of their cards, and pretty quickly found WooCommerce and subscriptions, and then when they needed to control some of the content, the membership system fell into place.
Brad: Yeah. I noticed you have a big focus on accessibility, which I think is okay. I touch it early on the show, but I love the topic of accessibility. It's something that's near and dear to my heart and it's something that at my company we also put a pretty large focus on. It's pretty evident from your website accessibility is also a very important part of all the projects that you do as well. You blog about it, you write about it, your services are wrapped around it. I'm curious, one, how that became such an important part of what you do, because I think especially starting out, that's an easy one to overlook.
Or even an easy one or a hard one to even maybe sell early on as you're learning. I think I know we struggled with it as well. But you quickly understand once you do get into, the importance of it. I'm just curious how that progressed and how it became such a major focus with the work that you're doing.
Bet: Yeah. One of the things that we started out doing just for the recurring income was doing some managed hosting for folks. One of our clients, continues to this day, is a water district in central California, large agricultural growers water district in central California. They let us know about four years ago that they were aware that they needed to get into compliance around some accessibility issues with State of California. We initially said, "Well, we can try and refer you to some folks." They said, "No, no. We want to learn all this stuff together," because they trusted us.
We dived in and really just learned a ton with them about accessibility, redesign their site, got them in ... We're still working to get them into compliance because they do a lot of things like produce these 75 page reports with all kinds of things or send out regular news, announcements and things and so. Really working at some ways to get them into compliance. As a part of that learning cycle, we started meeting some people with disabilities that we're using. Once you see someone who depends on a screen reader and how they use it to become ... just to be independent and have that sense of human dignity, it just really hooks you. We just became passionate about making the web of ... I mean, it's just a karma thing for us, a pay it forward and just that's a great thing to be passionate about, is making the web accessible for everybody.
Brad: Yeah. I love it.
Bet: We really liked doing that. We've been doing more and more of that.
Brad: Yeah. It's very respectful because while a lot of companies still put some type of a focus on it, it's not always at the forefront of those conversations, and in reality, it really should be. I'm very much a proponent. Like you said, it's all about making the world a better place, making the web accessible for everybody. Honestly, I feel like nowadays it's an easier sell for clients because the liability is one thing that most people are somewhat familiar with at this point. There is potentially liability if your site's not accessible. For large corporations, that's clearly going to be very important to them.
But also there's a lot of wins outside of just making your site accessible because there's a lot of overlap between accessibility and SEO, for example. I've found over the years that it's been an easier sell for companies that maybe aren't as focused on it, because inherently by making your site more accessible, you're also making it more SEO performance. You're going to see ... and you'll inherently see some gains in search ranking, just because of that fact.
Bet: Yeah. I actually have a meetup in WordCamp talk that I do on the ... I call it the business case for accessibility, but that could come off as offensive to some people with disabilities, right?
Brad: That could, yeah.
Bet: But talking about, it's not just the reducing the liability, it's not even just the SEO, but it's making a better user experience for everybody when you do that. It's a great investment in your brand. A lot of that social purchasing stuff where people are quick to do their values based purchasing. Having your site be accessible, put a little accessibility statement at the bottom, and that's a great potential for pulling in those folks that are value-based buyers. A lot of those pieces investing in your customers, we know disabilities increase as people get older, and it's cheaper to keep your customers and to get new ones, and all of those things are coming together.
Brad: Oh, absolutely. I mean, you put yourself in one of your customer's or visitor's shoes, and if their first experience on your website is a frustrating one, and they're unable to do whatever they're trying to do, whether it's buy a product, read an article, subscribed to a service, you've lost them.
The chances of them coming back are very slim to none. Just like you lose a customer in general, the chances of them coming back are slim to none. But if your first experience of a business is through frustration and clearly them not putting a focus on accessibility like would they ... Another way I like to look at it is also through brick and mortar accessibility, because I think that's a little more tangible for people to understand when you start talking about this. What I mean is ramps up to a business. You have to have a wheel ... Businesses in the US have to be accessible to wheelchairs. That's just ... We all know that, everybody knows that. We all see ramps. It's great, it's the right thing to do, but the web is behind, right? Because we don't have those laws in place to say, every business has to have a ramp. We don't have that in the US.
Bet: Right. Well, I think things are changing, and we have ... The lawsuits that get filed are filed under the same law around the ramps, right? The Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, and so more and more of those cases are coming forward. We're gradually building up some cases that are pointing toward the guidelines, the WCAG guidelines as the standards. But I do think that web accessibility will be in the 2020s, what mobile responsive was in the teens, right? It's a small set of folks at first that are concerned about those things, but today, no self-respecting developer would build a site that's not mobile responsive, and by the end of 2020s, it'll be the same for accessibility.
Brad: I hope so, too. I mean, that's a great analogy because you mentioned 2008, I think is when you first started dabbling with this. Back in 2008, even responsive was new. That was new. It didn't really become a really normal thing for another couple of years. It was very futuristic web tech, look what interesting things people are doing. But now you just ... you don't even think about it. Of course, we got to build a responsive. It's almost not even mentioned. It's understood that this is going to be responsive because why would you build it any other way? I hope that's the same for accessibility.
Bet: Yeah. I know. When a client asked me on a project, will this be work on mobile phones? I know in my head, and I'm thinking, of course, it's going to work to mobile.
Brad: But there are businesses out there, that's a question that probably needs to be asked of them.
Bet: Right, right.
Brad: But yeah, I love it. I also think, again going back to the idea of ... again, my advice to people is always make it a part of the conversation from the start, just like you would SEO. Same thing, right? You're not going to wait until you've built your whole website and say, "Okay, now how are we going to optimize this for search engines?" Of course, you're not, right? You're going to spend the time upfront to say, "We're going to build this site so it's optimized, and then we're going to have some kind of a content strategy beyond to continue to push out great content. Can we tip our rank high?"
The same thing for accessibility, if you handle it from the front, it doesn't become this massive expense or time and cost at the end of a project. It's just part of the project. It's not really doing necessarily above and beyond. There might be some cases where you do need to go above and beyond. It's just doing things smartly from the start rather than building them and then having to rework them.
Bet: It's a much more cost-effective not only in terms of just the cost of the client, but the time and labor for the developer, right? Because if you build something out, you get a mock up approved, but then we find out later that that color scheme isn't going to produce color contrast and of color contrast, then you've got to go back to the client, you've got to get that color approved. It just takes a long time. It stretches out the project.
Brad: Yeah. This is an area I think anybody that's listening, that's building sites whether you're directly involved in this or not I think it's important that you are familiar with this topic and familiar with what it means to make a website accessible. Honestly, everything we build, we make it accessible. I'm sure you're the same way based on your website and language around it, but whether it's a requirement for them or not, we do it. We build it accessible, and if for some reason something they have provided us does not pass, and it's usually what you said, colors, logos, things around a logo. It's like, "Hey, your colors are not accessible together." Okay, we're going to tell you about it, but I'm not going to force you to change your logo, right? But we're at least going to alert you to the fact that your logo does not pass accessibility. But everything else we build on your website does. We do it regardless because it's the right thing to do. It just really is.
Bet: Yeah, we'll build it out with their colors, but we make them sign a release that says, "We've notified you that these colors are not going to be accessible."
Brad: That's smart.
Bet: Then if in the future you should be a lawsuit, we've released us from liability but you're also going to pay all our expenses because you know that they're going to pull us in to be a witness or have some statement, right? They're going to pay all of our expenses related to any feature.
Sometimes that's enough to say, "Whoa," that's we better take that seriously. Maybe let's think about that. Other times, no. We had one just last week, signed off and nope, nope we understand.
Brad: Yeah. I mean, and honestly, we work with some pretty ... We have a pretty wide range of clients. But you can imagine with WordPress on the larger side, the enterprise side is where obviously we struggle with that because a major Fortune 500 is not going to change their stuff just because of us. But yeah, we alert them to it. But it just circled back into the WooCommerce, because obviously everything we talk about here on the web does relate. I'm curious if there's any around WooCom or e-com, I should say e-commerce specifically which obviously WooCommerce falls into.
But around accessibility and e-commerce, I'm curious what kind of different things, advice or thoughts, things that are different from a normal website that people maybe need to think about from an accessibility standpoint? Are there key differences that you can call out? Is it generally in your mind fairly the same because at the end of the day it's all content or is there more to it? Maybe just some general advice for WooCom.
Bet: Yeah. By and large, it's the same principles, right? Two parts to accessibility. One has to do with things related to the theme, right? You want to make sure that you're picking a theme that is accessibility ready, got some accessibility things like skip links already built in, and the menu is built with some Aria-labels, all of those kinds of things. It's built out from the beginning from the theme side. Then the other, the bigger part in many ways, as you've mentioned, is the content and building that all out. Just being aware of those basic accessibility things like there should be only one H-tag on the page, and then you're making sure you're nesting those H-tags semantically, making sure you're putting in your only alt tags, right?
All of those things are the same and by and large ... making sure that you can go through and somebody can ... One great way to test your site for keyboard navigation and all of the accessibility devices for people who are mobility impaired, they can't use a mouse. All of those adaptive devices come down to keyboard navigation and people who use screen readers are using keyboard navigation. If you just go to your website and start tabbing through, right? Can you navigate through that buyer's purchase journey which is your keyboard? Can you get to a product? Can you get it into the cart? Can you get tab, tab, tab, get to the button? Can you-
Brad: It would be an interesting test for anyone out there with a store. Go on there and see if you can actually check out using just your keyboard. Purchase something or add it to your cart, go through the whole process and never touch your mouse or your screen, just your keyboard. I wonder how many people would pass. There's a challenge, Bob. We've got to put it out there.
Bob: Yeah, I agree.
Brad: Or the question would be, when's the last time you've tested that, right? I bet the answer is never.
Bet: Right. Right.
Brad: I understand. Testing checkout processes in a million different scenarios is daunting and can be challenging. There's obviously scanners you can run, there's third party services, you can do paid user testing, which I think is insanely valuable if you're trying to solve a struggle or something like this. You can literally pay people to go onto your website, they have no knowledge of your website and do something, right? Do some kind of a task and it records it, it gets a real-time feedback. They're talking into a mic. It's mind boggling to watch people. You think something so intuitive and they get on there and it's not, you know it's not.
Bet: Yeah. A couple of things that you mentioned, those automated testing tools only uncover about 30% of the accessibility issues on a website. Because a lot of things really are dependent on the situational piece, right? You can do some of that testing yourself, but you're right. Some of it is really doing testing with people who have various disabilities.
We recently, several months back, sent our lead developer who does most of our stuff around accessibility, leads the ... manages the audits that we do, the accessibility audits that we do. We set her to do ... I found the firm that does the training on screen readers for the Oregon Federation for the Blind, Nick Peterson. We sent her off to do screen reader training as if she were a visually impaired person. It was amazing because she said then she watched the instructor and how he was using the screen. She's been using screen readers to navigate our sites for a long time as we're doing our testing, but people who depend on them day in and day out use them differently.
Right? It was that light bulb moment of, oh. Yeah, one of the things they do, for instance, is they would go to a page and then they would just tab through the main headings and link text, right? And if you think about it, that's what I do as a visual person when I'm looking at the page, I'm just scanning through. We don't actually read all the content, we're just scanning through the headings, right? Looking at what the links are. But just knowing that and how that's different, then we begin to think about how we put things together just a little bit differently, how we're going to test when we're doing those audits a little bit differently.
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Bob: You have this so ingrained in your brain, this accessibility, and outside of work, when you're shopping online, are there things that you see over and over happening? Do you actually ever test some of them while you're on there? Just think, "I'm wondering if this really works?" I just like to hear maybe a story or two from that.
Bet: One of the niches that we've been working with a little bit more has been VC-funded startups. There was a conference that I had been to up in Washington State before, and I thought, "Oh, I should see if they're going to do that conference this year." I went to their site, they have a new website, but the color contrast was an ... I'm getting a little older and the fonts are needing to be a little darker, a little further out. I looked at that and I thought, that's tiny and that doesn't ... Let me test that. No, no, no, it didn't meet it. I emailed them, and of course I'm being ... Yeah, I tend to do that, right? In the store. I'm like, "If you changed a couple of words on this sign above product here, you might sell more of them." Unsolicited marketing advice.
Brad: Come on. Bob, you've never QA'd a site and submitted a bug? You're shopping on a browser all the time.
Bob: Yeah. I'm wondering if you've ever actually not bought anything, because it was so irritating, you thought, "You people are just making a disaster out of this," or if you just think, "Okay," I mean, there's something that maybe even you without a disability had frustrations with, but you could see that this would amplify it with anybody that was trying to access it.
Bet: I haven't quite gotten there yet. Part of it is right now, I feel like people probably just don't know. They don't know any better, right? You have to know better to do better. I feel like we're still in this education piece. I haven't quite gotten there, but I can see the day. I mean, I'm more of a values-driven buyer on lots of things. I can see the day where maybe I've put in a few of those bug things and nothing is happening, maybe I'm going to think twice about that, for sure.
Brad: I'm judgy. I just won't shop at places that don't have good experience. Even local. I refuse to buy there, but I should probably go talk to them. Even local businesses if they don't have a website, which probably by now most people do, but if you don't have a website, then I'm not going to work with you.
Bob: Yeah. Yeah, I've done that a couple of times and left it in the car. Then they send me a coupon two days and say, "We'll give you 25% off if you actually purchase this now." I'm like, "Okay. Now, do I decide saving 25 sentences worth of misery or not?" It's interesting.
Bet: Sometimes you don't get a choice, right? It's a plugin your need, or it's a whatever you need, a product you need or want, and nobody else sells it.
Brad: Yeah. Just real quick. I wanted to just springboard off what you said, Bet, around making sure you start with a good foundation. I think that's a really good point that I just want to reiterate again, is if you ... There's a lot of themes out there, there's a lot of framers, a lot of places you could start. There's builders, there's so many choices.
If you start with a good foundation, a really good framework or something that is already accessible out of the box, it doesn't mean it just magically stays accessible. You got to obviously, whatever you do to it, continue to make it accessible. But at least if the default state passes accessibility out of the box, then you're already a step ahead. I think that's important for people to check into when they're looking at themes to buy, potentially.
Bet: Yeah. But also be sure that as you're developing your testing, because sometimes you can add plugins that will begin to do things. The default search box, for instance, might be fine, but if you add in a specialized search plugin for this niche, it may or may not override that in a non-accessible way.
Sometimes things can become what we call a keyboard trap, where you can tap into something but then you can't escape it ever out with the keyboard. Some of those kinds of things. Just watching what you add to it even if it's good as you start, then choosing carefully what you do add. But then the huge piece of it is what the content is there. We can put the content in there in a fully accessible way, but then the first time the client touches the site, potentially it's out of compliance.
We work with clients, we do a lot of training with clients as a part of the builds that we do. Some of them are very new to WordPress, we're doing that just basically as we go along, but trying to educate them what they need to do and why. Hopefully that helps. But then we have ... Sometimes if it's a bigger organization, a bigger business, and they're worried about that liability, they're probably going to want to hire someone to come back in and regularly do some kind of an audit to make sure that the content is staying accessible.
Brad: Yeah. Yeah, that's a good point. I mean, it will never be a set it and forget it type of situation. We've mentioned SEO quite a bit. It's also performance is another one that I put in this bucket of you can always tweak it and always make it better and you always have to track it because just because you launch a very performance site does not mean in six months it's still very fast. It might've slowed down. Purely like you said, the content. That is the number one way that these sites get not broken, but they don't get, I guess, broken for accessibility, right? They're not accessible because of the content they load.
Bet: Or the 10 megabyte images that have been uploaded.
Brad: Yeah. If you put in gigabyte videos on your homepage and say, "Why did my home page slow down?" Okay, guess what? Regular audits and reviews would catch that, right? That is a constant training and process with whatever team's going to be managing the website so that they're aware. But it's the same as performance, same as SEO. These are never just set it and forget it type of situations. And security for that matter. It's something you always have to be auditing.
Bet: But part of the struggle is if it's a large organization with many content creators, how do you begin to help them understand the importance of the accessibility and all that? I have an acquaintance who's the accessibility point person, I'm not sure of the title, for a fairly large city in California, Metro Area, over 100,000, or a million, I'm sorry. They have a very interesting system because they have all of these content creators and all these different departments. They have an automated service that's checking because, in automation and all those kinds of things, the AI can check content related things a little easier than some of the other pieces but these automated checks are happening every week.
If you're a content creator and you put in something that is inaccessible, A, it comes back to you. The notification comes back to you as the content creator, you have to fix it and it gets noted in your personnel file. If it happens a second time, you have to still fix it. They're making people fix their own mistakes. That's what I really like about the system, right? Then you get a reprimand in your thing. It happens a third time, they fire you.
Brad: Wow. I bet they learn real quick, right?
Bet: They learn and they're doing it right, right? It's like you have to put those motivators for the behavior of doing accessible content, right?
Brad: Yeah, and there's checks and stuff you could put in place. I'm sure it would never be fully automated, but at least a checklist of things that needed to make sure they check and punch. It's easy to forget things, but ...
Bet: There's a thing in there where you have to redo training. There's a loop that you have to do some redo training. Making it a motivator to do it, because it does take that little bit of extra time. Make sure everything's got an alt tag, make sure that everything's ... the link texts are not ambiguous, all of those kinds of things, right? But it's not huge amount of time, but it's a little bit, right? People have to be motivated.
Bob: Yeah, and it seems like people with WooCommerce shops, when they're building WooCommerce shops, they'll think accessibility, they get all stressed around. How's the checkout experience? What's this? But from this conversation, all the elements of your website, there's so many things that attaches accessibility that almost anybody, whether you're building WooCommerce shop or you're not building WooCommerce shop, those issues can easily crop up and they can be a part of the problem.
With that said, I am really curious when you're working, talking with people in your space, out there on your own, doing whatever you do on the web, what is the biggest no-no you see that's the most prominent no-no in accessibility that you just see time and time and time again? Is there something that just like, my God, this is something one of these days, people are going to have to finally learn this one?
Bet: I think the biggest thing that I notice, because I'm not a visually impaired person, is color contrast, right? That the color of the font and the color of the background don't have enough contrast to make it easily readable, or the font size is too small for that combination of background and font. I'm going to guess, actually, one of the bigger things is alt tags on images, but I don't notice those because I'm not using a screen reader regular.
Brad: Around that note, there is a plug and I'll look it up, Bob. I think I want to say it auto-generates some of that based on an AI service, right?
Bet: Well, you need to be careful. There is a plug again that will auto-generate alt tags for you. You want to be super careful about that and check them because it's just using AI and sometimes AI goes a little wonky. We had a case where we had a photo of a man and a child, I'm assuming father and child, on a beach, right? Playing on the beach. The AI-generated alt tag was Man Scares Child with Mask. I was like, "That is not what's happening in that photo.” You do want to take care and watch out.
Brad: It might be nice to work that in, as where it auto-populates that, but they have to approve it or confirm it before it uses it.
Bet: Yeah. There are also plugins that will ... There are a couple of them out there that will make ... You can install them and they will go through your media library and show you the alt tags that are there and being used, and you can actually change them from a single page of the dashboard, make changes to them.
Brad: Nice, like a bulk edit, yeah.
Bet: Well, it doesn't bulk-edit them if they're in a pager post. You still have to go back to the post or page to make those changes there. But it'll show you which ones don't have any, and that's good. You get these, get those. Yeah, there's some great tools out there. When you were talking, Bob, I realized what we didn't say, you asked me about differences between regular sites and WooCommerce sites. One of the things is probably, I would say WooCommerce sites, because you're selling something, you probably have a higher liability for somebody coming up with a lawsuit that you're not accessible.
If I'm the local pest control company and I have a website and it's just my contact form, my liability for ... my risk of having that be ... if that's inaccessible, being sued for that is probably fairly small next to somebody who's selling products or services on a website.
Bob: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense because you'll get, pardon the language, pissed off a lot quicker when you're trying to make a purchase, especially if its where you're not able to make a purchase, it's going to drop red flags.
Bet: The law says that you have to provide equal access of opportunity, right? If you're selling something, it's just like you have the brick and mortar store that Brad was talking about that doesn't have a ramp. If you can get ... You can have a lawsuit over that, right? The fact that you're making money on this as opposed to a personal blog or something like that, that's not getting you money, there's options for lawsuits.
Bob: I just had somebody I invited to a podcast and they said they have troubles with their hearing. The audio podcasts have always been tough for him and we decided to move it over on to Zoom. He said, "Have you considered putting up the captions to Zoom?" If you have a certain account, you can do those automated captions. That occurred to me, I thought, wow, I never thought of that to offer that actually my podcast notes.
This just happened recently. To put that in my show notes and know that I do have that available, and if that does help you, it’s there. Fortunately, I had a solution right there, but it never had occurred to me unless somebody really brought up the issue, but I thought this person doesn’t have completely a loss of hearing. It's just enough where it makes it a little hard in conversation.
Bet: Yeah. One of the interesting things is, the guidelines say if you're going to have video on your site, it should be captioned or you should have a transcript. The interesting thing is, and I just experienced this morning, it's early morning, I don't want to wake anyone up by playing a video, but 80% of people, somewhere between 75% and 80% of people, play the captions on social media videos, right? They use the captions with no sound often on those kinds of things. It's not just for people with disabilities, but doing that provides more options for more people to engage with your content.
Brad: Great point. I mean, if you've got kids, you know what it is. Sometimes you can read, but you sure can't listen to anything at the moment.
Bob: Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. Yeah, I'm diving into some more videos stuff through our meetup, new meetup I'm starting, and I'm having that challenge because for my podcasts, I'm good to go. I've got my transcripts, I do my captions when I do video and stuff. But that threw another wrench into things. So now I'm reaching out to some people thinking, how can I solve this at some point here? Yeah, good stuff. Well yeah, I think we could probably talk about this a lot, but I suppose we all have lives and we need to move on with the days. I'm going to let Brad wrap this up for us.
Brad: Yeah. This was awesome. Really important topic, and one we haven't really done a deep dive into, at least not all the shows I've been on recently. Yeah, really appreciate it. But you guys are doing awesome work over there. I know you're working with Laura too. She's awesome. She's here in Philly. She helps run the meet up and everything. I've worked with her a lot over the years around the local community. You've got a great team over there.
Bet: She's a gem.
Brad: Real quick, I'm going to give you the opportunity. Where can people find you online where they can connect with you? Website, Twitter, other places people might be able to find you?
Bet: Yeah. I'm on Twitter, @bethannon, B-E-T H-A-N-N-O-N. Our website is bhmbizsites, B-I-Z-S-I-T-E-S. You can contact me either place there, and I'd love to talk with people about accessibility.
Brad: Awesome. Thanks so much for being on, Bet.
We definitely want to thank our show sponsor again, PayPal. Definitely check out the pay later options if you're not using those. Most stores, I would imagine are accepting PayPal because everybody has PayPal, and it makes it easier, right? Check it out. They're dabbling cryptocurrency now. Who knows? Maybe you'll be able to buy some stuff with Bitcoin soon. We'll see. We'll keep you posted if that ever gets announced. But you can definitely buy Bitcoin through PayPal. You just can't shop with it yet. But check it out over at paypal.com. There's some great PayPal extensions on WooCommerce.com that you can up and running very quickly.
We also want to just do a call out to our 100th episode, which is coming up, right, Bob? We're two episodes away.
Bob: Yeah, in a couple of weeks. Yep, what we want to do is we were trying to think of something fun to do. We're going to do an AMA. You're going to have all four of us on there. I basically put out that you can talk WooCommerce, ask the question WooCommerce I should say, or podcasting, or really whatever you want. I'm still gathering up some of those. I've gotten one snarky one that's fun.
Bob: I'm sure Brad will appreciate that one. I'll give you a preview on that. Yeah, you just go to dothewoo.io/100ama, and you can either leave an audio question or you can put it through on the contact form. It's real easy for you to get it to us one way or another. Yeah, just check that out.
Brad: Wrap it up. Thanks for joining us for another episode of Do the Woo. Get those questions in, dothewoo.io/100ama. Looking forward to the 100th episode. That's a big milestone, Bob. It's going to be exciting.
Thank you again, Bet, for coming on and doing a great work and pushing the knowledge of accessibility to everybody because I'm a big proponent and I believe in it as much as you do, and I want the web to be accessible for everybody. At the end of the day, it's good karma and you're doing the right thing, besides all the other advantages to doing it. If nothing else, just know you're doing the right thing and you get good karma.
With that, we'll catch you on the next episode of Do the Woo.
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