The State of Digital Accessibility | Transcript

0:01:36: I'm going to provide a brief introduction of each panelist and then, we'll go right into the discussion.

0:01:43: So first, Dena Wainwright is the VP of Enterprise Digital Accessibility at Wells Fargo. We're really thrilled to have Dena on with us today to offer some of her unique perspectives on the space.

0:01:56: As someone with our own disability, Dena has devoted over 25 years to making digital products and services accessible to and usable for people with disabilities.

0:02:07: Prior to Wells Fargo, Dena worked at Sun Microsystems, Now Oracle, SAP, and HP and then next we have Kevin Moos, is a managing director at Logic 20/20.

0:02:21: So, really excited to have Kevin on.

0:02:22: Logic 20/20 is a highly respected, digital consultancy specializing in a number of really interesting areas in the digital world, one of which being digital accessibility.

0:02:33: Kevin is recognized for his experience with accessibility, data privacy, and data governance.

0:02:39: He has 30 plus years of experience successfully delivering business and technical projects and has lent his expertise to several procedures industry, panels on data privacy data, governance, and other topics.

0:02:52: Then, finally, last but not least, you know, my friend and colleague at Crownpeak Kathryn Putt.

0:02:58: Kathryn Putt is a director in our Digital Quality Management business.

0:03:03: Kathryn works directly with the sales and customer success teams at Crownpeak, supporting product demonstrations, business case development, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. She wears a lot of hats. So Kathryn helps organizations create best practice governance processes utilizing the TQM tool.

0:03:21: And in her and our nighttime job or night shift, she's running and delivering our DQM Sales Enablement Program.

0:03:32: And finally, I'm Chris Sigala, I'm the Chief of Staff at Crownpeak as well as the general manager of our Digital Quality Management Business.

0:03:39: And I’m excited to be acting as a panelist or the moderator here for this excellent sort of panel discussion.

0:03:48: So, let's jump into the agenda before we start our Q&A session, just to give you a sense for some of the topics that we're going to be covering.

0:03:56: Of course, we'll see how the conversation plays out, as well as some of the questions that we get in.

0:04:02: But we will be touching on really defining, you know, what digital accessibility means to us as a common set of definitions.

0:04:12: We'll talk about the current state of digital accessibility, exploring the opportunities and challenges for organizations and addressing this, this aspect of the digital world and how to demonstrate value and impact for the business. And of course, we'll handle some Q&A at the end.

0:04:32: So to kick off the conversation and kind of get our juices flowing. We had a quote here, a pretty famous quote for those who are kind of practitioners in the space have probably seen this.

0:04:46: you know Tim Berners Lee, credited as one of the mentors or the Worldwide Web.

0:04:52: Made a famous quote years ago. The power of the Web is, in its universality.

0:04:57: Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect. So, really, kind of at the essence of what we're discussing here today around digital accessibility.

0:05:06: And it's a good place to start, because, you know, one of the first topics we wanted to cover was establishing that sort of common definition on digital accessibility.

0:05:16: And kind of taking a personal view of what it means to the panelists.

0:05:21: So, Dena, I'll start with you know if you want to give a quick response here, in terms of, you know, what does digital accessibility mean to you?

0:05:33: Yeah, thanks, Chris.

0:05:34: So, I mean for me, obviously, as you said, I have my own disability and so accessibility for me obviously goes beyond a job that I do every day because I'm personally impacted when products and services are or are not accessible, right. So it impacts my ability to be independent, my ability to parent you know particularly in the middle of a pandemic examples would be things like online learning materials, right? So, I would say that.

0:06:11: What it means to me is something very personal and which is why I've devoted so much of my time and energy to making it easier for people that come after me to do the things that I have been challenged to do.

0:06:35: Yeah. That's amazing.

0:06:37: And, you know, I think we can collectively, sort of agree and sympathize that yeah, in this space, there is a common mission for those that are, you know, practicing digital accessibility and then enabling better digital accessibility processes.

0:06:53: It's really to do just that, what you just explained, to remove those barriers and level, the playing field. So, that's fantastic. Appreciate that response. Kathryn, do you want to share a bit from your perspective on what digital accessibility means to you?

0:07:09: Yeah, definitely. For me, digital accessibility is about, you know, helping to remove and break down barriers to provide inclusive experiences for everyone, no matter what type of disability they are. I think specifically, it's about helping organizations too.

0:07:27: You know, create digital accessibility as part of a wider diversity and inclusivity program inside those organizations. So really just helping to make sure everyone has the same type of interactions and experiences no matter what type of disability they do have.

0:07:47: Great, thanks now that we've kind of established some of the common denominators around what, what it is and what it means to us. Let's get into some of the conversation around the, you know, the state of digital accessibility.

0:08:02: No.

0:08:03: Let's try and kind of break it down into sort of a simple summarized view of you know, where we are today and what that means to each of us.

0:08:13: So Kevin, if you want to kick us off.

0:08:16: Thanks. Because obviously last year was an interesting year.

0:08:20: I think for everybody obviously with the pandemic everybody's being pushed online.

0:08:26: More and more companies are talking about inclusion and diversity with all the events that happened in the past year.

0:08:31: However, I honestly still don't hear a lot about accessibility.

0:08:35: I think I read somewhere that 90% of companies claim to prioritize diversity, But less than 5% actually consider a disability in those initiatives.

0:08:45: So even in this day and age, it's rare that I've seen companies take a proactive approach to set up an enterprise program.

0:08:52: It's typically in response to a lawsuit or demand letter.

0:08:56: And I believe that a big part of the problem today is the lack of knowledge of what digital accessibility really means and how important it is, as well as how to implement a program around it.

0:09:08: Dena, I'm sure you have different perspectives. What are your thoughts on that?

0:09:12: Well, I think I mean I would agree for sure that the pandemic has made it glaringly obvious who is committed to accessibility and who is not.

0:09:25: I think one of the things about implementing a program in a large enterprise is that the humanization piece is really hard, too, make sort of like, I guess to infiltrate the enterprise with that human aspect.

0:09:44: And I think honestly, that that is the essential component of making digital accessibility real. Right.

0:09:52: I think that when a developer, when a designer is able to see firsthand that the decisions that they make have a real impact on real people in their real lives.

0:10:08: That that often changes there, perspective, their level of commitment to accessibility.

0:10:16: I think that, a lot of times, there isn't a recognition of just how much power, someone, who does design and develop products and services have on the outcome for human beings.

0:10:33: And so I think it's that, and I think it's also that, you know, people are incredibly afraid of what they don't understand or things that they themselves would not want to confront. Right?

0:10:49: And so, I think there's a lot with disability around, you know, oh my God, like, how, how would somebody function, if they couldn't hear, see you walk, whatever the case may be, And when you don't want to put yourself kind of, in, your, in, your mind, in that position, right? Your brain doesn't want to go there.

0:11:09: If it's easier, kinda like what you were saying, Kevin, from a diversity perspective, to leave that element out, because you just don't want to go there in your brain.

0:11:25: Yeah, I would definitely go to that, Dena. Because I find, a lot of organizations just don't really find it overwhelming.

0:11:31: It's a large kind of thing to be able to tackle, especially digital accessibility. A lot of times, I feel organizations are kind of doing it as a mitigation exercise or risk mitigation exercise after the fact is not. People need to be bringing digital accessibility to the forefront as, you know, with design. Thinking about it from a UX perspective, that a lot of people won't necessarily have experience in terms of the wide range of disabilities that we do need to be catering for. So, being able to kind of bring that to the forefront of the discussions about designing a new website or app or how people would be interacting with it.

0:12:16: Yeah, those are excellent points.

0:12:17: You know, I think you know that the aspect you touch on humanization and dehumanization piece of this.

0:12:24: Guess what?

0:12:25: Caught my attention a lot, and I think we'll have an opportunity to kind of dig into that a bit more as we get through some of the other discussion points.

0:12:33: But, I think, from, from my vantage point, that that seems to be a critical component of what separates the good and the bad.

0:12:43: And, know, how we're doing better adoption over time is just, you know, embracing that human aspect of, of what digital accessibility means.

0:12:54: So that, I thought that was an excellent point, so that, that is our next sort of discussion area, is, um, know, this idea, and Katherine touched on it, too, that it is a large undertaking, and, yeah, it's, it's it's very clear that it is a challenge and a huge obstacle to overcome to address these things well.

0:13:18: But there are companies that are doing this well out there.

0:13:20: And we've seen it in our own experience and in kind of, you can browse the internet and start to get a sense for where, where companies have embraced this better than others.

0:13:30: So, I wanted to kinda dig into that topic a bit more in terms of what does good look like in this space, and how are companies starting to achieve this?

0:13:44: This is Katherine. I'm happy to jump in. Yeah, so, the main thing that I feel while helping organizations to build out and create best practice governance processes with a focus on accessibility, one of the key things that I always look for, or try to, you know, work with my clients on, is getting executive buy in for accessibility as a priority for those organizations. And this involves being able to talk about the value of accessibility. So, more than just, you know, having an accessible websites, that helping them to be perceived as an accessible brand, or inclusive brand, and the ability to support a wide range of clients. And it also has benefits for able-bodied uses as files, just for being genuinely able to interact with the website, to be able to create a digital experience that, that K is really, that executive buy in, and that just trickles down throughout the organization.

0:14:39: Katherine, I completely agree with you.

0:14:40: Executive buy in is definitely critical in order to get the funding and support, and it's those that can really tackle the, some of the issues of why companies aren't doing it.

0:14:49: Well, the lack of understanding the lack of technical knowledge, I think there's a perception issue, as well, that they feel like they're giving something up around esthetics or usability, and for a lot of companies and afterthoughts are the ones that can really tackle that well.

0:15:04: Top-down, Oregon has an advantage and help figure out, you know, the value, which I think we're going to talk about value as well, but stop trying to do just the minimum.

0:15:15: The ones who are thinking about the right way are the ones who find ways to embedded in their methodology, their way of thinking kinda tied to their business schools and really embedded into their culture.

0:15:26: So, as Dena said earlier, really try to humanize and understanding. Here's the big impact that we can have, and get everyone bought into that culture.

0:15:34: Are you aware of company is doing this well, or at least aspects of it.

0:15:37: Well, yes, so, I mean, what I would say to some of this is, yes, absolutely, creating an accessible product or service, is really important.

0:15:49: But, where you are going to get the community, too, buy into you, to be sorted that undying loyalty, if it's more than that, it's in the things that extend beyond the services and the products you provide to define yourself. So, a couple of things, right?

0:16:11: When you create an accessibility program, the title that you assign to the person who is in charge of that.

0:16:21: It matters, right, people think it's semantics. But I think about the community and how they responded. When IBM was the first company to appoint a chief accessibility officer, right? And then Microsoft appointed Jenny as their chief accessibility officer.

0:16:39: And that says to a community.

0:16:42: Like, this is a company that values this so much that they're willing to put this in the C suite, right.

0:16:49: And then beyond that, it's things like one of the most powerful examples I saw recently was Apple, when they did their product launch in September, when they launch some of the, I think it was the Watch, and the new phones, their events.

0:17:09: It was completely audio described, and it was audio described in such a detail that it was for me, it was like, I was there. It was down to the detail of there is a spotlight shining on the new blue i-phone which is sitting on a velvet table.

0:17:33: You know, like it was, it was so detailed.

0:17:36: And so when you have a company that goes to that level of effort to show the community that they get it, that they want that community to be fully engaged in what they're doing. Those are the things that make the community stay with that product.

0:18:01: Yeah, That's, that's super interesting off the checkout that, Apple event and just to get that perspective from them yourself, Dena is interesting and yeah, right away you create some affinity and some loyalty back to Apple, even as an able-bodied person, right? Just the fact that they're able to, to address that to that extent, is, is quite impressive.

0:18:26: So, moving on to some of the next point here, and we've touched on it here, right?

0:18:32: Executive buy in, that top-down, you know, cultural initiative and how that permeates throughout an organization?

0:18:41: Yeah, that's a key factor here and you know, at the end of the day, what allows an organization or what factors contribute to an organization sort of adopting that at a high level and permeating throughout an organization?

0:18:55: So, how do organizations prioritize it? What's driving that as an imperative or not?

0:19:00: What are some of those factors that are pushing leaders to begin adopting more progressive access digital accessibility programs?

0:19:12: Dena, maybe we'll go to you, I think maybe what you're touching on there at the end of the last segment is applicable to start the conversation here.

0:19:21: Yeah, I mean, I think, again, right like Katherine said, people do this for a lot of reasons, right? They do it from the strictly compliant.

0:19:31: reason, right? Which, you know, causes buy in from a holy cow, we are in financial trouble, reputational, trouble. But I think again, I would go back to humanization. So I think about Satya Nadella, who is the CEO of Microsoft, who has a child. I think he's, he's actually older now with a disability. And so for him, it is, it is a, an incredibly real experience. And I've watched him stand up in front of tens of thousands of developers at their conferences, and just how that community, this is just what we do. This is Microsoft, we make products for everybody.

0:20:18: And so, I think, you know, again, it's, I think there's, it's one thing to do this from the compliance perspective, it's a whole other.

0:20:29: To, show that community, the company, that you are leading.

0:20:34: That you have an investment, like a true investment in how this goes.

0:20:44: Goes back to the core values of the organization, and the leaders, and you know kind of being more embracing of, of these as a kind of tenants to the organization, to Kevin.

0:20:57: But to Kevin's point earlier, though, a lot of companies have that in their handbook. I think they go, yeah, we D&I, that's our value.

0:21:05: But when it comes to, you know, walking out that walk and truly demonstrating D&I is a value, many of them don't.

0:21:16: So they write it down, but they don't live it.

0:21:20: Well, I think that's what I mean, I think, Dena, you hit it exactly on, right? I mean, this could be part of their social response about responsibility, but do they really value that? I'm gonna make the numbers when you look at it. What is the 60 million adults in the US live with a disability? It's roughly one in four.

0:21:37: I think I read that one in five, have a disability that may affect their ability to use the internet.

0:21:41: So it's very prevalent out there, and it's true. Most companies seem to only do this when they're forced to do it. And when they're forced to do it, they're doing the bare minimum.

0:21:52: And I think part of that is getting lost in how much there is to do. With not knowing where to start.

0:21:59: I have seen companies that have, as you mentioned, a digital accessibility leader or an accessibility leader, and it's a smaller group, and how they get that throughout the organization, it's challenging, and how they get buy in from everybody else when. typically, one of the questions asked is, can you show me the value from doing it.

0:22:18: And, sure, you can look at value and ROI which we'll get into later, but it's not just about that.

0:22:23: It's about being, as you said, being inclusive, making sure that everybody has reduced barriers, the same opportunity to do whatever they need to do, whether it's in an organization as far as working, whether it's shopping on the internet there’s so many different aspects of it.

0:22:38: I think companies have a tough time knowing where to start.

0:22:44: Can sit in this I would definitely agree with that, Kevin and it is a challenge understanding with weird aside. And it's quite interesting for me, because I'm based in London, and I work, primarily, with a lot of North American clients, as, as well, as in Europe, and there's definitely quite a shift in a divide between, you know, the conversations. I think America is very much driven by risk mitigation. I'm afraid of lawsuits. Whereas, in Europe, it's about talking about that value that it can bring to the organization, and, you know, more of that human element.

0:23:20: So, it is two different, kind of, two different conversations that I'm having in terms of driving the accessibility initiatives across, you know, the two different regions.

0:23:34: So, let's kind of move the conversation along here, why so?

0:23:38: Yeah, we have established that is challenging. And, yeah, there's a number of factors that are kind of driving prioritization of this.

0:23:48: But maybe just to dig into kind of make it clear, right?

0:23:51: In terms of the perspectives, we're sharing from the panel, like, why is it so hard?

0:23:56: What makes digital accessibility challenging project to take on and to be successful with?

0:24:05: Maybe Dena, I think you started the last one. So we'll stay on that trend if you want to kick us off on this.

0:24:14: So, I think, I think Katherine, I think it was Katherine.

0:24:20: Who hit it might've been Kevin, but knowing where to start, thing I think is really important. I mean, I, when we used to leave our homes and go places to live events, you know, I, I used to hear a lot from people. You know, somebody made me the accessibility program manager for our enterprise, and I have no idea what to do first.

0:24:45: And, so, I think, like, it is, at first, they're very overwhelming. Like, how do you even scope something that big, let alone, like, actually, solve a problem that big?

0:25:00: So, I think it's partly that, and then I think, again, when you have a really large enterprise like Wells has 250,000 employees, right?

0:25:11: It's hard to centralize effort because you've got businesses who have these brilliant accessibility subject matter experts in them who have these fabulous ideas, who, who have initiative, and they're passionate, and they're committed. And so they start to do their own amazing thing. Then you talk to other businesses, and you find out that they are doing their own amazing thing. But they're trying to achieve the same goal, right.

0:25:43: So how do you, how do you literally find all the projects and initiatives in an organization that is that big?

0:25:56: Yep, and I think, Katherine, maybe, that hit some a bit for you, too, in terms of your role at Crownpeak.

0:26:03: And working with, you know, governance teams to enable those programs to start to implement.

0:26:11: And think through execution. So, any other sad that it's, yeah, so definitely, when you're feeling about how people, a lot of the organizations I speak to, when I start to talk to some of these developers or content editors, they've never encountered anyone who would be using any type of assistive technology they've never heard of. Or some of them, I've never heard of, the main types of screen readers. Or how people would actually use them to interact with content.

0:26:39: So, to me, it's a lack of understanding of the problem and how they actually fix it, because they've never had any experience in terms of integrating.

0:26:50: You know, they thought about how they would create this great experience for people who would be interacting with the site in this way.

0:26:56: I think there's also a lot of disabilities out there that they need to consider that they haven't, you know, autism or dyslexia. About how they would be interacting with the content. So, it's such a broad range of things that we need to cover, and people do find it overwhelming, but once you start to talk them through, this is how they would be navigating the website. This is how they would be interacting with the content. You know, how do these images make you feel? How would you like? How can you then translate that experience to someone who can actually see what's happening on the screen?

0:27:29: So, it's really about just talking them through understanding each of those different people. And I think another one of the challenges, as Dena was saying, is you've got all these people doing really great initiatives, but they struggle to be able to talk to people and other people in the organization to really, you know, shout out loud about what they're doing to spread the word. So, it may supporting them, and being able to, you know, get the more higher top level buy in to create, you know, to push it out inside the organization, is one of the key things I really push for.

0:28:04: I agree, trying to operationalize something like this across a large organization, is extremely challenging. And whether it's accessibility, whether it's data governance, whether it's data privacy, trying to get everyone across the board, on the same page with something that they don't fully understand. what it means, let alone. how to follow the processes that may be there, is a challenge.

0:28:27: And I think even if there is an accessibility group responsible, all the other groups that need to help implement these standards, these processes, are also so busy with everything else they're doing. And they see it as, oh, now I've got to do something more.

0:28:41: I've got to do something extra; I don't have time.

0:28:43: And you know, to do this point, there are groups that can do it really, really well.

0:28:47: But having that cohesion across the organization and really getting buy in across and making sure there's the time to do it that's challenge across large challenge for large organizations.

0:28:57: Yeah, excellent point there.

0:29:00: The idea that, you know, this is just something else, right, to tackle in my day job, so why do I also have to do this?

0:29:08: Kind of goes hand in hand with this. How do you scale it?

0:29:12: Operationalized and Scale program, across a large, complex organization?

0:29:19: So, that's, yeah, that's understood, I think. And we articulated that. Well, you know, from, from each of you in terms of what those specific challenges look like.

0:29:28: And we did touch on in the beginning that, that there are companies out there that have embraced this, well, and are, are implementing, um, yeah, successful programs.

0:29:40: So, wanted to spend a little bit of time talking about the solutions, you know, what?

0:29:45: What's out there, what, what have you guys seen in terms of practical solutions, things that have been adopted at organizations, whether it's best practices as technology, it's its services, tools, et cetera.

0:30:01: That or methodologies, right? It could be, you know, focusing their efforts in certain aspects of the life cycle of digital accessibility.

0:30:11: So, what have you guys seen out there that that seems to be working well for, for larger organizations?

0:30:18: I think I did for the touch on this university, executive, buy in, and the last question, but ultimately, it's about those governance processes and governance programs, to me being able to roll those out with a focus on digital accessibility. This really allows organizations to do it while, you know, And I think it's also really important to emphasize that, you know, a lot of organizations have these problems, is, you know, these problems aren't unique to a specific organization. And that once you do get that buy in, of rolling out that governance process and those governance programs.

0:30:55: And there's always a few, kind of speed bumps in the beginning, which can cause a, few issues. But everyone does eventually get on board and it does, you can really see this change inside the organizations and tons of inclusivity, how they are actually building out these digital experiences and people just upskill. And they get all these different skills.

0:31:16: And it's really interesting to see buy in across the board.

0:31:22: It's definitely sorry, I'm gonna jump in real quick. Just Buy in is so critical. Right, and you're looking at solutions that involve technology, process, governance, training, and culture, There's so many different aspects to it.

0:31:34: So we've seen companies, while they're trying to address the problem of both kind of, the lack of understanding, and being so big, is prioritizing your needs, right? You can't tackle everything at once, and really make sure you're focused on a roadmap, you've got something tactical that you can start with. And then start embedding it in the process, right?

0:31:50: Rather than trying to get everyone in the entire world or organization bought in, start small, right, and then start spreading it from there so you can start getting buy in from people actually seeing the value. I'm sorry Dina, go ahead?

0:32:04: I was just actually, I would agree, I think, a couple of things, Right? Getting a baseline.

0:32:09: Like, so, for us, right, we have almost 700ish in digital assets that are public facing, right? So, getting a baseline of, OK, where are we? Right? What is the state of our inventory, and then, coming up with metrics? So, how do we know if the baseline is getting better or worse? Right?

0:32:32: And also, being able to, you know, help at least figure out what that done might look like.

0:32:40: But I think the buy in piece, you know, one of the things that that we really try to do, my group really tries to do, is identify our most important stakeholders, and, and really, kind of bring ideas to them to say, OK, so, we're thinking about doing this thing. Like, do we love it? Do we hate it? Like, what, what are we thinking about this?

0:33:07: And it gives us a chance to hear, kind of, like we were talking about, before, these amazing perspectives around how they are having to deal with things at the business level. Because from this sort of enterprise standpoint, we don't always get to know how hard it might be for them at the business level. And so, to hear them firsthand, say, Yeah, that might be a great idea. But that's never going to work for us in our business, because if XYZ so, they, they bring up things that, you know, I may never have even thought about, or they may come up with an alternative to, the idea that we've come up with, that is way better than my idea.

0:33:54: And, so, it gives, it gives us the ability to hear them and to help, I hope, from my Wells people here, to help him feel involved in the way that we're defining where the enterprise is going and, and I think for us, that has helped us be successful.

0:34:19: You know, in terms of, just not doing things that contradict the needs of the people that we need the most.

0:34:33: Great.

0:34:34: Yeah. There’s some good detail there in terms of no buy in. Is how does that process play out.

0:34:42: You know, what are the elements of delivering more organizational buy in?

0:34:48: And I think that engaging stakeholders across the business is key.

0:34:54: To feel like there's some, some level of ownership and influence, and alignment, really, in terms of their direction and strategies, kind of brings us to our next point here, around business impact and value.

0:35:11: Because, to achieve, buy in and get an organization aligned, there needs to be kind of a transaction, right?

0:35:20: There needs to be identification of value.

0:35:26: ROI associated, like what's in it for me, right? Well, I'm going to buy in, but why?

0:35:31: And that's where it gets interesting, and I think that's maybe in terms of, the maturity of the, the market overall, we're starting to get more mature, I would say, in terms of the ability to articulate value around digital accessibility and what it means from a business impact perspective.

0:35:52: So, it's an interesting area. It's, it's hard to pin down, I think, in a, in a very quantitative way.

0:35:57: But I wanted to start to get some, some perspectives from the panel here on ways that, that's been delivered or approached with clients and your own organizations?

0:36:13: And Chris, I think that's a challenge. Just as you said, right, ROI, key performance indicators can be tricky with accessibility.

0:36:19: So I think that companies struggle to put a value on the impact of potentially losing or not converting a disabled customer. How do you measure something? It says, that doesn't happen.

0:36:31: I mean, we've worked with companies, kind of, as Dena said. You catalog and prioritize your digital assets, and you create a scorecard to give you the ability to track your time, track your progress over time until you meet those goals. And, again, as Dena said, you've got to understand what those goals are to show that you're meeting them.

0:36:48: The real value that you're getting is the customer satisfaction doing the right things for your customer.

0:36:54: So it can be hard to measure that and put an ROI to it. How do you measure satisfaction and knowing that you're doing the right thing?

0:37:01: Dena, are the things you've done at Wells Fargo or other companies?

0:37:07: Well, I think what I would add to this is probably my personal perspective of being in the community, which is that I think there's a lot of misconceptions around, you know, we're not going to have very many users with disabilities. They don't really have a lot of market power, and they don't really have a lot of money. Like, I mean, really, what's the point in capturing this market? There's very little value in it.

0:37:34: And so, for those in the financial services industry, because I know that there are quite a few of you on the call.

0:37:42: Some of the statistics that we use that are pretty powerful are that, you know, especially for something like wealth management. Right?

0:37:52: That, when you get to the population of people in the United States, that are above the age of 64, that about 75% of that population has some sort of disability.

0:38:07: And, at the same time, that population, above the age of 64 controls, something like 80% of the United States has available financial assets.

0:38:20: So, when you hear a statistic like that, you know, is that really a segment of the population that you want to isolate because that doesn't sound like a very smart business decision to me, Right?

0:38:33: And so, you know, trying to find those types of no shock and awe statistic I think is really important. Or statistics around the fact that, you know, the population of people with disabilities in the United States, it's about 57 million people.

0:38:54: Well, that's, that's the population of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and all of the Caribbean Islands combined.

0:39:02: So just imagine just wiping that entire part of the planet off your map of customers.

0:39:12: Yeah, not to mention that element of connections, right?

0:39:17: The 57 million Americans in the US, to all have friends and family members that all talk, right? Absolutely.

0:39:25: Absolutely, right, and that whose decisions are influenced by the accessibility of the products and services that, that they have a choice of buying, right, That, Yeah, you know, what, if my mom, sister, whatever, can't use something, then, I'm not investing in it.

0:39:47: Yeah. I would also definitely agree with that.

0:39:49: A lot of the times, when I'm thinking about, you know, the impact of a website or how people interact with it, I do think of people like my grandparents, who not only would potentially struggle to interact with some of the websites or technology, but they also find it overwhelming. You know, they scared of interacting with the internet. So, being able to, and, especially with a lot of things, going digital, internet banking, paying bills, you know, giving them the ability and giving them that power. You know, they find it in empowering. But as a family member, I'll recommend things to them or specific brands that they can interact with, that, I know are safe and easy for them to use.

0:40:30: So, it's not just about, you know, designing for a specific pigeonhole, there’s a is really big market out there.

0:40:42: Great stuff there, really interesting. I think, yeah, that that actually does come out a lot, you know, which is great. And in our client and prospect interactions, is trying to help them frame, you know, value and impact. And it starts with measurement as you all mentioned. Right, that's, a imperative. That's table stakes, really, from our perspective that you have to start to measure this stuff, to understand impact over the long term.

0:41:12: So, it begins there, and then, understanding the market and impacts.

0:41:19: Yeah, one of the stats that always jumped out at me was a survey where 71% of disabled users responded that they would, click away from a website, or bounce out of a website.

0:41:32: If, if it's not accessible on the homepage, that's huge. Right? 71% of those 57 million Americans.

0:41:41: Won’t, interact beyond the first page of a website.

0:41:47: It's the same with Apps. Yeah, It's the same with that If I open an app, and that home screen that I see on the app isn't accessible. I'm like, I'm out.

0:41:58: Gonna delete this off my phone right now, because I can't even get past the home screen.

0:42:03: Yeah, and that, that's a great way. You mentioned apps and, you know. Right away, my head. goes,

0:42:11: Like obviously, the direction of the world that we're living in, everything's moving to mobile. And apps are as ubiquitous as websites, if not more even.

0:42:23: And, this kinda goes back into this understanding of the current state of accessibility and the world we're living in.

0:42:30: And you know we'd be remiss not to sort of acknowledge that the dynamic nature of the world we're living in due to the pandemic’s impact and know the events of the last year.

0:42:44: So, curious, right?

0:42:45: Always, interesting to hear the impact the pandemic’s having on different facets of life.

0:42:52: But on this this topic in particular Digital Accessibility, what are some prognostication?

0:42:59: What have you seen actually start to change? Maybe Dena if you want to start on that topic.

0:43:07: So, I mean what I will say is that you know as somebody with a disability the pandemic has changed everything, right.

0:43:15: It's changed so much of my ability to do things independently. It’s like some stupid things, right? Like, so, clothing. when I buy clothes, right? I go to a store, I touch the fabric, the style of the thing, and now it's all online, right. So, OK. I'm relying on somebody else, going, what do you think, and, and their opinion, right? So, there's, there's stupid things like that.

0:43:49: But then there's more. I have concerns like as we roll out vaccines, right, and we're supposed to be notified when it's our turn, so to speak, and we're able to register online. While doing a lot of things online, as someone with a disability takes a lot of time. And you hear about these scheduling systems crashing or becoming completely full within minutes. While it takes me more than minutes to make an appointment. So, what is that gonna look like for somebody with a disability?

0:44:30: How accessible is it going to be?

0:44:36: Be notified that it's your turn to schedule your turn to, even just from a physical perspective, to get to the place where you're supposed to be vaccinated, because it's your turn.

0:44:50: So, I mean, I think there's some real implications to how we will continue to be impacted.

0:45:01: Yeah, that's a massive impact. I can imagine that would be a struggle in terms of being able to interact with it. And I think, also, with the speed that people are trying to build those websites or those experiences and put them out. That they're probably not putting accessibility necessarily at the forefront of being able to build out those digital experiences, and making sure that they're accessible, and breaking down those barriers. I can, also imagine, there's a lot of complex language on those websites as well.

0:45:31: So, it's a struggle for people to understand, the benefits of the vaccines Or, you know, how they would impact in. So, it's definitely a massive change. But, also, I think, one of the other things I've seen from an impact in digital experiences, and Kevin touched on this in the beginning of the webinar, as companies taking a broader approach to diversity and inclusion, they're taking a lot more seriously now. Are they thinking about how they can actually operationalize it to focus on those different markets, especially since everyone is working from home now, as opposed to being able to go to shops and interact with their products?

0:46:13: I think you both said it very well. Clearly, there's a huge impact. And there's a lot more people talking about it.

0:46:19: The big question as well, all the talk about it, all the concerns, which are obviously very valid concerns, translate into more and more companies actually doing something about it.

0:46:28: Clearly, there are a number of companies that make this a priority, but there are even more that don't. And so it's a question of what is it going to take?

0:46:36: Is the pandemic making everybody working and shopping from home, going to be something that pushes people over the edge to really make this a priority?

0:46:45: Is it going to take a big fine or lawsuit?

0:46:47: What is it going to be to go from all the talk to the actual doing?

0:46:57: Yeah, great perspectives there.

0:47:00: You know, what we'll have to see or I hope maybe we'll have a chance to do State of Digital Accessibility in 2022 with this group, then we’ll reflect back on the continued impact of the pandemic in 2021 and where we sit a year from now.

0:47:20: But that was the last kind of prepared topic for us, and we're happy to jump into questions now.

0:47:27: So, for those of you in the audience, the chat function on the webinar tool is available there. If you want to input some questions that you have, could be anything. It could be relevant to the topic we covered today or are not. Welcome your questions over the next 5 to 10 minutes or so.

0:47:48: So, we'll pause there for a second for people to start to funnel their questions in.

0:47:54: I had one, maybe just to kind of kick things off, and it's really one aspect we touch a lot on in the discussion so far is just the legal aspects of digital accessibility, and we touched on compliance as a driver for action.

0:48:13: That is, where we can kind of debate, you know, the merits of that.

0:48:20: And if that's truly the most effective way to deliver success with a program. The reality is that is a core driver of activity in the space.

0:48:33: And, a lot of the legal frameworks that are out there and the ADA.

0:48:37: And the reference to WCAG are the precedents of using WCAG as a framework to guide those legal applications is, is something that's continuing to evolve.

0:48:53: And in a big part of the industry. We saw in the last month or so, you know, WCAG 3.0 come out and their first draft of that set of new guidelines.

0:49:05: So, I wanted to kinda give the panel an opportunity to, to share any of their perspectives or takeaways from that new issuance from WCAG and what they see in terms of the current legal framework, and so forth.

0:49:22: I was just going to say, you know, when we talk about shock and awe statistics, we got a brief.

0:49:29: Not too long ago about sort of the increase in incidents of lawsuits between 2019 and 2020. And one of the things that struck me was, yes, there was this increase obviously marked increase in lawsuits and there has been every year since like 2016.


0:49:51: But 1 of the statistics was that in the last six months of 2020, which, coincides with the pandemic being at its height.

0:50:01: That there was, there was an average of one accessibility related lawsuit filed every day for the last six months of 2020.

0:50:15: Wow.

0:50:18: I mean, it's interesting to see what companies actually do with that and whether they'll start to be more proactive.

0:50:25: Certainly, in the past, right? As you said, there were a lot of lawsuits that came up.

0:50:28: Most companies would look at that and say, what's the bare minimum that I need to do it in order to comply with that demand letter, and in order to kind of brush this aside versus, hey, there's a real problem here. Let's figure out how to do something across the organization.

0:50:45: So maybe as there's, as you said, more and more data coming every single day maybe as the fines become bigger. It feels like companies do look at that and say, when I'm making a decision, do I make a decision based on cost and is it cheaper to expect these lawsuits and pay something off?

0:51:02: Or to actually do the work.

0:51:04: And I think in the past, certainly, a lot of companies have looked at that and say, well, it's too expensive, I don't know where to start. We're gonna get lawsuits, we’re gonna get fine, so great. Well, we'll pay that because it's less expensive to do that than run a program.

0:51:17: Hoping that we'll turn around a little bit.

0:51:20: Well, I think the reputational damage to is something where there has been more leverage. Right, if you think about the dominoes lawsuit, in the accessibility community, all you have to do is go, yeah, talk to Domino's, about like how it, how it works when you go all the way to the Supreme Court.

0:51:39: To try to tell them you don't have to do accessibility and you get shut down, and every single person in the accessibility field watches you fight against being accessible.

0:51:52: I think it's going to take, and unfortunately probably, a couple more things like that. That's the perfect example.

0:52:00: I was just going to say, in the industry. I think, with a lot of the organizations, one lawsuit they could potentially afford to pay or kind of pushed to the side, but now organizations are getting 2, 3, 4, 5, and that definitely starts to add up.


0:52:17: You don't want to be that organization who has that kind of pile, a stack of lawsuits sitting there. So, definitely starting to operationalize those processes and programs and moving towards building those inclusive experiences.

0:52:32: So, getting some questions in here, now from the audience. I appreciate everyone providing those questions. Getting a few around kind of tactical items of implementing the programs that we're talking about.

0:52:49: How would you recommend starting? and would you run an audit and then make decisions from there?

0:52:55: Would you use other good tools out there, technology? Of course, Crownpeak offers some technology, so there's an answer to one of those, but we’ll let the panelists respond as well. What digital tools would you suggest a large corporation use to implement and manage digital accessibility?

0:53:13: Some of those smart tactical elements of how you would recommend companies do this.

0:53:24: So, I guess what I would say is, particularly if you're coming into a company where you've got some people that are already trying to do this work, ask them, right? Like, what's going well? What's not going well? What do you need? If you could make a problem, go away today.

0:53:49: What would your problem, what would that be, right? I think, again, so important.

0:53:57: The people that are fighting this fight, every day, will tell you what they need.

0:54:04: And, yes, you need tools. You need training. You need a baseline, like you need all those things.

0:54:11: But one of the key ways, I think, to know what you need is to listen to the people that are trying so hard to do this already.

0:54:24: At Crownpeak, we speak about, a maturity curve where people are when it does come to digital accessibility. I think it's also important to emphasize that no two organizations at the same, so it is really about talking to the people who are on the ground, understanding the knowledge, understanding the gaps, and what they want to achieve, and how far away they are from getting there. And, you know, automated technology, I think, has a great benefit in terms of understanding the baseline of where you are. Obviously, if a website has a lot of issues that would have, you know, it might be there to kind of start from scratch. And, you know, redo the whole website.

0:55:05: As opposed to, trying to tape over the problems that, you know, automated technology definitely allows you to get, that, baseline, and then you can kind of move, try to understand where you are on that digital maturity curve, when it does come to a fully accessible. Experience.

0:55:26: Okay.

0:55:28: So, another one, this is a good question. This idea of how you get started, and how to how to kinda build a program, so as a company, it starts it’s journey in terms of becoming more accessible.

0:55:45: In the absence of an executive sponsor, or executive buy in, as you put it. How else do you recommend getting the word out across the org, regarding digital accessibility best practices?

0:55:56: You can't go up to your VP and sell him and get him to, just to shout from the rooftops that this is an imperative, you can't do that. What else can you do? How do you start to do that? From a more grassroots perspective?

0:56:12: Is the essence of the question.

0:56:14: So, I'm just going to be really honest and say that without executive buy in, you can have the most passionate, brilliant, innovative people.

0:56:29: You can try really hard to do change management.

0:56:32: But fundamentally, if you don't have executive buy in, it doesn't work. It just doesn't.

0:56:39: I completely agree.

0:56:41: Because you need the time, you need the funding, you need the goals that you're all trying to accomplish and get aligned. You absolutely have to have that executive buy in. Couldn't agree more Dena.

0:56:52: I mean, you need to set the Satya Nadella's who get up in front of their company and say, I'm not asking you to do this. I'm telling you; this is this is who we are.

0:57:06: Absolutely.

0:57:08: I think that that's a great kind of clear response.

0:57:12: You really can't, you need that leadership.

0:57:15: And it's like with other aspects of organizational health and performance, leadership really does need to help drives imperatives and priorities and action. So, great question. Great way to end the discussion here.

0:57:32: and just wanted to thank everyone again for joining us today. Thank you to the panelists, Dena, Kevin, Katherine. Fantastic discussion.

0:57:43: Really appreciate spending the time, it’s a fascinating topic, as I hope everyone who's listening felt engaged in the topics as well.

0:57:54: I'm looking forward to maybe another session like this in the near future.

0:57:58: And, you know, as I mentioned at the top end of the discussion. We'll be sending out a recording and transcript will be made available of the webinar. And please feel free to reach out to Crownpeak, Logic 20/20, and Dena for any follow-up questions or feedback. So, with that, I'll say thank you, and have a good rest of your day.