PR & Lattes

GAAD Special - A latte with Karl Groves

May 15, 2024 Matisse Hamel-Nelis
GAAD Special - A latte with Karl Groves
PR & Lattes
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PR & Lattes
GAAD Special - A latte with Karl Groves
May 15, 2024
Matisse Hamel-Nelis

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode, Matisse chats with Karl Groves, a pragmatic solution-finder and thought leader in the accessibility industry, about issues with what is being sold as accessibility overlays.

About Karl Groves
With 20 years of experience in web development, usability, and accessibility, Karl Groves is widely regarded as a pragmatic solution-finder and thought leader in the accessibility industry. As CEO of AFixt, Karl focuses on pragmatic and efficient ways of improving the accessibility of websites and software.

Connect with Karl:
LinkedIn
X (formerly Twitter)
Mastodon

Websites
KarlGroves.com
AFixt
Eventably

Learn more about overlays

Overlay False Claims
Overlay Fact Sheet

Resources

WebAIM
LinkedIn Learning

Connect with PR & Lattes:
Website: PR & Lattes
Instagram: @PRAndLattes
Host: @MatisseNelis

Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

In this episode, Matisse chats with Karl Groves, a pragmatic solution-finder and thought leader in the accessibility industry, about issues with what is being sold as accessibility overlays.

About Karl Groves
With 20 years of experience in web development, usability, and accessibility, Karl Groves is widely regarded as a pragmatic solution-finder and thought leader in the accessibility industry. As CEO of AFixt, Karl focuses on pragmatic and efficient ways of improving the accessibility of websites and software.

Connect with Karl:
LinkedIn
X (formerly Twitter)
Mastodon

Websites
KarlGroves.com
AFixt
Eventably

Learn more about overlays

Overlay False Claims
Overlay Fact Sheet

Resources

WebAIM
LinkedIn Learning

Connect with PR & Lattes:
Website: PR & Lattes
Instagram: @PRAndLattes
Host: @MatisseNelis

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Hello and welcome to PR & Lattes, the podcast where you can fill up your cup on everything PR and communications. I'm your host Matisse Hamel-Nelis. And I am so excited to have you join me today for another special episode of the podcast in honour of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Before we get started, make sure you subscribe to this podcast wherever you're listening to it to get notified whenever we drop a new episode. And this week, it's every day. You can also subscribe to our newsletter by visiting our website prandlattes.com. On the website, you'll also find our podcast episodes and our amazing blogs with new ones being uploaded every Monday morning. And of course, make sure you're following us on Instagram at@PRAndLattes and on LinkedIn, PR& Lattes. On today's special episode, I'm chatting with accessibility guru Karl Groves. With 20 years of experience in web development, usability and accessibility. Karl is widely regarded as a pragmatic solution finder and thought leader in the accessibility industry as CEO of AFixt he focuses on pragmatic and efficient ways of improving the accessibility of websites and software. I am so excited to chat with him today about the inaccessibility of quote unquote accessibility overlays. So grab your latte, sit back and enjoy. I am so excited for today's episode to have Karl on the show to talk about accessibility overlays and all things digital accessibility. Karl, welcome to PR & Lattes.

Karl Groves:

Yeah, thanks for having me.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Thank you. So let's start off a little easy. Can you tell me in the listeners a little bit about yourself your journey in digital accessibility and all that fun

Karl Groves:

Do you have enough time? Because for a while? So, stuff? so my name is Karl Groves. I've been doing accessibility stuff for over 20 years now actually. Good Lord. Yeah, so I started out as a web developer kind of got dragged kicking and screaming into this accessibility thing. Because I'm in the DC area, and because of Section 508 and all that sort of stuff, turns out I liked it. So I got work at SSB BART Group, which is now Level Access, worked at Deque, worked at TPG. I started my own company called Tenon. Tenon was around for 2014 and 2021. Tenon got bought by Level Access in 2021. And now I'm at a company that I just started called AFixt, which is a company that does accessibility remediations.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Amazing. And you also have another little fun thing that you're working on, you want to tell the listeners about that.

Karl Groves:

Yeah, so that is that is Eventably. So Eventably is a events management and ticketing platform. So it's meant for people who want to either do meetups or free community events, or do full on conventions, and expos and trade shows and all that sort of stuff. The difference being of course, that ours is going to be accessible .

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Which is a win and something that is so desperately needed, particularly for PR and comms pros who are putting on these events and conferences and something that maybe doesn't get thought about right off the bat. So this is a fantastic, fantastic opportunity for them to make their stuff accessible. And we'll talk about how they can get involved or how they can learn more about it at the end of the podcast.

Karl Groves:

Yeah. Thank you!

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Perfect. So let's dive into what we're talking about today.

Karl Groves:

Yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Accessibility overlays. You start by explaining to the audience what an accessibility overlay is, and how they are marketed to organizations currently.

Karl Groves:

Yeah, so So I'll give you the non technical description first. And you've seen these, everybody's probably seen these at this point, at the bottom left or bottom right of the website, there's going to be a little icon at the bottom, that little icon has either the universal access symbol, which is the arm stretched down, or it'll have the handicap symbol with this person in a wheelchair. Either way, you click on the little thing, a widget appears. And the widget looks to have the capability of making the website more usable for people with disabilities. So that's really the non technical kind of thing is it presents this this widget. Now behind the scenes, different products do different things. But some of them purport to also automatically fix code level errors on the website itself.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

And why did these overlays initially seem appealing to businesses and organizations who are looking to improve their web accessibility?

Karl Groves:

So they look really appealing, right? Because there's a multiple, multiple reasons for this. Part of the reason is, because there's a lot of litigation around accessibility in the United States, at least in the United States. We have we tend to enforce our laws through litigation, especially when it comes to a private citizen asserting their civil rights they tend to force that with litigation...litigation. Some unethical lawyers out there have decided that this is a great way to make a ton of money is suing getting their pay payday and moving on. So this sort of opened up this cottage industry of people wanting to sell things that make the problem go away quickly because accessibility is kind of nebulous, you know, digital accessibility, especially, you know, physical accessibility is one thing you can sort of see, you can see dips and curbs and the, you know, the railing or the larger size, bathroom stalls. And so these are really tangible kind of things are easy to see. And it's also easy to understand like, oh, yeah, that's yeah, we need to make it so somebody with a wheelchair can get into the place. You know what I mean? Digital accessibility is a far more squishy, it's far more nebulous. People don't understand how to do it, they don't understand why it's important. They don't understand a lot of stuff about it. So having somebody sort of swoop in and say, Hey, we got this, we're going to do this for you. We're going to be just put this little thing thingy on your website and all your problems magically disappear. It's beautiful. It's like a perfect storm. Big problem, easy solution.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

So you mentioned that they some of these overlays are promoting that they could fix the accessibility issues at code level, can you share some of the more technical or key technical limitations of overlays that prevent them from actually being effective solutions?

Karl Groves:

Well, there's a lot of them. So let's talk about that widget itself. The widget itself actually can be disruptive for people who use screen readers, particularly. Because what'll happen is the widget has its own accessibility problems. Quite ironically, we did a study of these during a during that lawsuit where I was an expert witness, and we studied a bunch of them. And one in particular, I'm not going to name search for the case, if you want. And what we found was it actually introduced new accessibility problems, because the people who coded it didn't really understand accessibility anyway. There's also a lot of other problems with that, which is that, which is that you're introducing something that is, that is adding stuff to your code. And I don't want to say arbitrary ways, but it is a really complex problem, right. So let's talk about the some of the technical problems. One is that there is a there's a lot of things that you can do to improve accessibility with what I call third-party code, to be a little less technical about it, I can put JavaScript on your site, that that makes improvements after the page is loaded, that's a real thing. And you can actually do that and it's in it's in, it's relatively easy to do. And so you can indeed fix a lot of problems that way. Some of the other things you can't do, unless you're willing to overreach, would be things like fixing colour contrast problems, fixing text alternatives for images, I'll get back to that in a second. Fixing labels for for things. Because there's a there's a context to the entire page, that is important to understand, when you're trying to make it accessible. And these third-party, we just don't know, they don't understand that context. I'll give you a couple of really good, really good technical examples. And the first one is, as I said, I will get back to as the alternative text for images, when you have something visual on the page is a couple of things that that could be, it could be something that's just real purely decorative, it can be something that is provides additional context or, or makes it easier to understand, or the non visual or the what we call non-text content, the image itself could be critical for understanding. And these widgets, these the quote unquote, AI image recognition that they use doesn't understand any of that sort of stuff. And also can just plain get it wrong. So and that was another thing that we found in that case that we were working on is the AI image recognition didn't...First off, it could get it could often get the thing wrong entirely. And that's just a shortcoming of AI image recognition. But the other part is it didn't understand context, it didn't understand why this picture was there. So couldn't understand any of that sort of stuff. And then there's another really, really big one that's sort of geeky, which is what we call components or web components or component driven architectures that what the UI is created in a way that we have a bunch of key things that are on the page that are based in code that we call a component. If you look on your favourite websites, you're always going to see that there's going to be like a The logo on the top left a search box on the top right, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Those aren't repeated throughout the site. They're one piece of code. That's, that's, that's rendered to the screen as part of the entire what we call a view. And architecturally, these things have their own behaviours and their own, what we call states and properties that they manage internally. I know this is really, really geeky, but think of it as a thing. That man is, is what it's doing on its own. And what happens is, you can't penetrate that with third-party scripting. Because you can, you can try to modify the initial state of it. But then as soon as it changes its state. In other words, let's say it's a, you know, Google, and you can type on the search field and a bunch of recommendations come down. As that's happening. events happen, properties and states are changing. And that third-party script from the overlay can't understand what's doesn't know what's going on, can't detect it, and it can't change it. So there's all sorts of other complex behaviour, things that are going on, that the overlay can't even touch.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

So how does this...How did these overlays put organizations at risk for non compliance with web accessibility regulations and potential legal challenges? If they're saying, Hey, we're going to help you be accessible?

Karl Groves:

Right? I think that there's, I think that the, the big problem is sort of how they're marketed, that there's the other problems that I mentioned before, which sometimes the widget itself could cause new accessibility problems. But that's not a universal problem. It's not like all of them have that. A lot of them do, but not all of them. The big challenge, the big risk that it puts in terms of creating additional problems where you is when you trust that it's doing the job on its own. So what I mean is, we talked about the automated repair, some of them were really cool, in that they have custom repairs, what that means is that the company has a additional services that you can pay for that they will scan your site, run some testing, do their own custom fixes. Now, there's a little bit of brittleness to that anyway, but I'll ignore that for a second. What happens is you say I put this widget on my site, I'm good. That's not the case. They can't fix everything I taught. I've talked about how you could fix some things. And that's a good thing. They can't fix everything. So you think as a customer of it, well, I'm done. Right? No, you're not, that's probably a portion of what you were you shouldn't be doing. I think you can do it without the overlay in the first place. But let's just for sake of argument, let's say you're doing it anyway, you're still not done. Right. So trusting, trusting that salesperson says don't worry about this, we got this, that's the biggest problem is saying, oh, yeah, we've put this on there. The other thing, too, is not going for those custom fixes. Because this is, so at the very lowest bottom end. It's like $49 a month for some of these things, right? But you get nothing. Like you get just the widget to get the all the custom repairs on it. So that's really, really, really, really expensive. If you're a big website, big e-commerce website that's superduper expensive. And frankly, speaking, brittle, like I said a second ago, because what happens with these custom repairs is as soon as somebody else manages the site, right? Because you websites are living things, they always change, you're always adding content, you're always maybe changing products, or whatever, as soon as you make changes, then all of a sudden, those custom changes are broken. And so now, you're in this state where you're sort of beholden to this thing. It's really, really expensive, and not able to make changes on your own site, lest you break that stuff. So there's a whole host of like, website management challenges that comes up with this, that even if you're paying for the top tier of service, you still have to stay on top of all this other stuff, and probably start getting to the point where you're managing your own accessibility without having to deal with that stuff.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah, and one thing I think that gets forgotten about is the when folks think about accessibility, they think it's just a checklist. I'm meeting WCAG or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and if they are checking those boxes, whether actually doing that or not, depending on the overlay. They're forgetting about the user experience.

Karl Groves:

Yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Can you speak a bit about the impact that overlays typically have on that user experience, particularly for those who are using assistive technology?

Karl Groves:

Yeah, that's been a that's a frequent. That's a frequent complaint from people because they can...it seems as though some of these products were made by people who don't understand the way screen readers and stuff work. And that's semi-ironic, as well. But a lot of the complaints that you get from people who use screeners is that these things can be overly verbose that if you turn on the so called accessibility mode that's enabled by this thing, what you actually get is a worse experience. Because now the screen readers announcing stuff, it's repetitiously announcing things, it's it's not allowing you to manage what's called focus focus, it's a programmatic thing where you're interacting with the controls on the on the page, and there should be a certain order of it that's natural and easy to, to use. So there's all these other things that happen that are actually negative, negative to the experience, and a lot of it has to do with either the widget itself being inaccessible, or these quote unquote, improvements, that are actually more disruptive. It's gotten bad enough that there are there is people who've made a chrome and a blind engineer, made a Chrome extension to remove it. So it's got AccessiByeBye. And it's a it's a Chrome extension that that screenreader users install, to eliminate having to deal with those things. Yeah. What it surprises me that in today's world, that it's still something that, you know, these, these vendors of overlays are able to get by and sort of wiggle their way into organizations and businesses say, Hey, this is what you need. What are those typical misleading claims that you've heard in your research and everything that these overlay providers are using to convince companies that their solutions are the comprehensive and effective, you know, one stop shop?

Unknown:

Yeah, then there's a bunch of them. There's a website that, that I created called OverlayFalseClaims.com. Where we, we, it's more like an article than, than a website. But the the article is, you know, titled truth and advertising doesn't exist for overlay vendors. And the main article just has a series of claims, that, that they that they typically will use across the industry, not specific ones, you know, so that the number one thing that they say is, adding the product is the only thing that the customer needs to do for accessibility, which is, which is shocking, to say the least, because, you know, you they say that, they say that, all you have to do is, is install our thing with a single line of code. And that's all you need to do for accessibility. When the truth is that if you examine their features, first off, that's just not true. And second, second of all, what they do facilitate doesn't even get you to where you need to be anyway. And so that's the second follow on is to say, by using the product, the customer site will become compliant with whatever standards there are out there - ADA, WCAG, EN 3015 49 for the Canadians, the Accessible Canada Act or AODA, you know, they'll say, oh, yeah, these these are the these are all you need to do to become compliant. And and that's really, really risky. If we think about it this way. Section 508in the US, the EN 3015 49, which is the European thing. They both contain functional performance criteria, which says basically, you can meet all these technical standards and still be non compliant, if it doesn't work for people with disabilities. And we already talked about how these things can sometimes be a net negative for accessibility. And the other one is that there is some of these laws are also based on the on WCAG, which is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. That's a technical standard that outlines what it looks like to comply and outlines several dozen success criteria. And if you meet the success criteria, then you're considered compliant. The converse is also true. If you do not meet every single one of those success criteria, you're non compliant. And so that's where a lot of times it can be, you know, really easy to show that these things just can't do that. And I've already provided some examples, which is like where it gets the text alternatives wrong or, you know, that sort of stuff.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah. From a PR standpoint, so the listeners are mostly working in public relations, communications, marketing, that sort of thing. It can seem like a quick fix and you know, with everything going on quick fixes tend to be things that they gravitate towards. But with overlays, they can have a negative impact on themselves in the organizations. What type of mishaps Have you seen, if you will, from a reputation standpoint with organizations and companies using overlays? And then it's sort of coming to be that not that accessible?

Karl Groves:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, you know, there is real risk of reputational harm. When it comes to someone who has a decidedly inaccessible site, who also uses one of these things that's like the magic magic formula for really looking bad from a from a PR standpoint, because because they've done a bad job of accessibility to begin with. And then they add this thing on is a bandaid. And, and so that'll that'll make its rounds really quickly among people who are who are concerned with accessibility and stuff like that. So that's a, that's kind of a big deal. The other part, too, being the risk of litigation. So one of the big claims that these overly vendors will say is, oh, this will save you from from your legal risk. That's really, really not the case. As a matter of fact, there's rumours that some of these lawyers specifically go after companies that use that, not as a not as a vendetta thing, but almost as a symbol that these folks are sensitive to this and yet aren't no are not willing to go the full path of accessibility. And so that's certainly the case. It's definitely the case that there's no, there there is no... no shielding from this, because I get it. So I get an email every morning of new lawsuits that have been filed in the US system. And sometimes I'll take a look and see who it is, especially if it's a name I recognize. It's a company I recognize. And I'll take a look at sometimes they'll see the little widget thing there and be like, that didn't say.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

yeah. Yeah. And I think that's sort of where a lot of companies and organizations rely on what we have the little icon, it means that we're accessible.

Karl Groves:

Yeah, yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Right? So we're good. We're we're trying we're doing things. But like you've said, there are so many issues that occur with overlays that they don't provide that sustainable long-term solution for web accessibility. So what do you recommend for those companies and organizations who are like, we want to do this the right way. But maybe we don't have capacity, or we just don't know where to start?

Karl Groves:

Well, that's where that's where this becomes a challenge, that I really do sympathize with people. We've had customers come to us, for instance, in the past, who said, Oh, I need an audit of my website, because a lot of people have heard, oh, you if you have accessibility problems, you should get an audit. And then you talk to them, you know, you're on the phone. And then he realized that they're really just a small business, a teeny, tiny, small business, they didn't pay much for their website, maybe they're on a Shopify store. And they just used a theme that they found somewhere, maybe they paid $450, for a theme, and now they're dealing with a lawsuit or something like that. And so I have a lot of sympathy for people who are in that situation. Because in some cases, I've had to recommend people, we're gonna throw your website away and start over. And that's, that's really a hard thing to stomach. For some people now, there's so there's a couple of ways that you can deal with this. One is, if you if you're on a WordPress site, or WooCommerce, or Bigcommerce, or Shopify or any of these sort of big platforms. The one thing you can do is start with an accessible theme. How do you know that? You don't. Sorry. But now, you're going back to Shopify as as an example, actually, Shopify offers eight free themes. I think they're eight. I think they're adding more but no, one time was eight. Those free themes are accessible from the get go. And so that's that's the number one thing to keep in mind is there are themes out there that are free or low costs that are already accessible. And so you can find those for WooCommerce and things like that to just using Shopify as an example. The next one is get educated on accessible content. Now, there's a ton of resources out there maybe maybe with the with the the podcast, we can get some links for some free training organization called WebAIM has some really good stuff out there. So there's lots of resources out there to learn how to manage the content excessively. And then the other part is when you're shopping for it with designer web developer, do, make sure you vet them, don't just look at how beautiful their work is. I know, I know, personally, that that's, that's one of the top ways of vetting somebody. Does their stuff look great, and not nice to not only look great, but be accessible as well and verify that and not just ask them, Hey, is your work gonna be accessible? Because they're gonna say yes, because they want the money, right? They want to close the deal. So but so verify it somehow. Verify it by looking at their their other stuff, or maybe find somebody who knows accessibility to verify it, or hire somebody, this is my little sales pitch, hire somebody like me, who knows how to do this stuff in first place. Because it's a really, really important thing to just get it right the first time and keep it right, get it right the first time by hiring a developer who knows what they're doing. Keep it that way, by learning how to manage your own content in a way that's accessible.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah, and when hiring a vendor to the web developer or somebody to create the website, what are those types of questions they should be asking aside from the obvious well, is your stuff going to be accessible? What sort of questions that will make them think and really answer in a way that will provide them with more insights on, Yes, this is the right vendor for us.

Karl Groves:

I guess one of the first things you could ask them is, do they have to do any of their developers hold the CPWA certification from IAAP on a personal level, you know, I do have my own hangups a little bit about the whole certification idea, because I don't think they're rigorous enough personally. But the CPWA, the the requirements to get the CPWA not only our knowledge requirements, but experience requirements as well, you have five years of, of actual experience doing accessible web development. So when you're looking for a vendor, see if they have certain people who have certifications in this, because it means they take it seriously. And they put the work in. Some of the other things to ask is like, what do you do to ensure that this stuff is accessible? And specifically, maybe ask what tools they use and how they use them. This is a really great way to weed out people who don't know what they're talking about, because they won't give you any specifics, like the lower the detail is, when they respond to this, the more likely it is that they're full of it. The you know, so in other words, I can give you specific questions to ask them. But some of these other some of these initial questions I'm saying are the good ones to weed out the people who just don't know what they're doing. The other thing that I would look for is just ask them what they do for accessibility. If they say, Hey, we can make your website accessible, it's going to cost X dollars more, that's another reason to walk away, right? Because a person as a web developer who's focused on accessibility, after a while, it just becomes how you do things, right. Everybody does their job the same way. Right? Regardless of what your job is, you're doing your job the same way over and over and over. And so for me, for instance, all of my work is accessible and secure by default, because it's just been doing things for a long time. Yeah. Yeah,

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

that's a great point, you. And also, I find that in a lot of cases, those developers who don't necessarily know accessibility as well as maybe they promote themselves to charge significantly more to make something accessible versus it just being accessible, because that's how they build it like you say you do.

Karl Groves:

Yeah, yeah. Now I do. I do charge a premium for my stuff, too. But that's, regardless of who the customer is. And accessibility and security is free. Because you're getting a premier service. If somebody says...You're it's...it's $1,000 for non accessible and $1,800 for accessible, whatever their pricing structure is. And you're like, Dude, why are you charging almost twice as muchfor this?

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah. It's because they may have to do the research.

Karl Groves:

Right? They might have to. Exactly.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Yeah, yeah. So let's say a company or organization has purchased a subscription or was working with an overlay vendor. And that's now on their site. They're stuck in a contract and so on and so forth. What tips or advice would you provide them to ensure that their content is still accessible, even though there are those shortfalls from the accessibility overlay?

Karl Groves:

Yeah, well, that's a good one. So there's a couple of things that are really really important. By volume. The colour contrast is a big deal. In colour contrast, problems, impact people who are colour deficient, either through colour blindness or other other visual visual impairment or something like that. And these tools are not going to fix that. So that's one thing I would do really, that's a high impact thing is check the colour contrast of your site, especially your text, and anything that people are using to click on, if somebody clicks on it, somebody has to read it, then those are the things to pay close attention to, with with respect to colour, or with with with respect to accessibility. The next one will be text alternatives, making sure that you're using text alternatives correctly. In your CMS, regardless of what CMS you're using, there is going to be a way to add text alternatives for each time you add an image. So make sure you go through and those things are all correct. And then the other thing too, is just make sure the content itself is well structured. And what I mean by that is use headings correctly use bulleted lists correctly, all that sort of stuff. And like I said, there's there's gonna be some resources that you can use to learn about these things. But it's not rocket science. And some of that has to do some of that particularly has to do with like writing style, and just how you structure content and things like that. Do that, and you'll be pretty far down the road. Now, if you have really a high level of interactivity. Like if your website has a lot of interactive stuff on it, that's when you probably do want to bring in a specialist who knows how to do this stuff. But really quickly the stuff you can do on your own text alternatives, color contrast, and good structure to content.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Excellent. So how can PR and communications professionals better advocate for proactive, authentic accessibility best practices within their organizations?

Karl Groves:

Yeah, well, I think I'm gonna steal one from my good buddy, Billy Gregory, his approach was just to do it. You know, when Billy worked at, I think he worked at Deloitte and Canada before he worked at TPG. And his approach was to just do it. Just to do the accessibility, just be the person doing the thing, is a huge way of doing advocacy. Especially if you show people this is another one that is I still, I'm gonna steal this one from a customer. There was a developer that I interact with when I was working at the College Board. And the cool thing about this particular guy was not only was he just doing it, like Billy did, but also showing how cool it could be. So in other words, you're you're going to make improvements, you're going to be making improvements to what you do in a way that impacts real people, share it, share it with somebody say, look, this is the before and after, of the thing I was working on. And these changes, which were relatively simple made this made this big impact on how this works. And seeing that something cool, and seeing it as something that that is an improvement in the way you work and then just sharing it with like, co-workers and peers. That's a great way to advocate for it.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Amazing. And we talked about resources before so we mentioned WebAIM what other resources do you recommend for those who are wanting to learn more and build on web accessibility and content creation?

Karl Groves:

So there's a there's a number of free course or I don't know if they're free, free or almost free courses that are on lynda.com from people like Joe Dolson, Marcy Sutton, Gerard Cowen, people like that. So there's some really good resources out there for if you're not, you know, if you don't want to read a bunch of stuff, but you do want to, like watch some videos on that's a great way to do it. There is a Slack channel or Slack community, it's I think it's web- one wide on slack.com. That's a great community of people. The WebAim, webaim.org, also has a mailing list. I know this is really old school, this email discussion on this kind of topic. But what's great about it is it goes back all the way back into the early 2000s. As a matter of fact, you can see me in posting there back in, I think it was 2003. Some of my earliest posts there. And what's great about that community though, is it's not like a mailing list where people like get angry at each other and flame each other and call each other names and are nasty or whatever. It's really, really friendly atmosphere, people helping one another. So you can go there and ask for advice. You can ask yours stupidest question you ever come up with, and people will politely answer it without calling you stupid. Like, that's the kind of community it is. So I always recommend women, they were critical in my own development of accessibility person. So I love that one.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Excellent. Excellent. And if you could give one piece of advice to an organization that's evaluating accessibility solutions right now, what would it be?

Karl Groves:

Well, I would, I would say, ask for proof. Prove It, right if somebody makes a claim, regardless of what the claim is, ask for proof, actual proof, independent proof if possible. The other thing too, is Google All right Google somebody's Google the product, Google the solution, Google the claim. See, see what other people have said out there. Those are going to be the those are going to be the big biggest things. Salespeople, regardless of what they're selling, want a sale, right? It's matter of fact, they're their very livelihood is based upon their ability to sell stuff. So I don't want to say salespeople are liars because I do sales myself. But keep in mind that their goal is to sell you something that they believe that you need, you need to be the one to determine whether you actually need what they're selling.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Amazing. This has been such a fantastic chat, Karl, I really appreciate it. But before I let you go, I have one question. I asked all my guests. Okay, since this is PR & lattes, what is your favourite go to caffeinated beverage?

Karl Groves:

I am boring. Plain old coffee. Yeah.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Amazing. Again, thank you so much for being on the podcast today, Karl. And thank you for being part of our special for Global Accessibility Awareness Day. If people want to get in touch with you or follow you on social media and learn more about Eventably, where can we find you?

Karl Groves:

Okay, so I'm on all the social medias as Karl Groves, that's K-A-R-L G-R-O-V-E-S. That's the username on Twitter, LinkedIn everywhere else. If you see a guy that has big, big muscles, that's not me. That's Karl Groves, who's a younger dude in England. But in them for the most part there. It's Karl Groves everywhere. So progress on LinkedIn, Mastodon and Twitter. My own website, my my company websites, is AFixt, afixt.com. Eventably, is literally that, eventably.com. And my own personal website KarlGroves.com K-A-R-L G-R-O-V-E-S dot com. So those are the three to go to. And follow me on LinkedIn connect with me on LinkedIn, because I also publish some good stuff there as well. Twitter's politics, and yes.

Matisse Hamel-Nelis:

Definitely follow Karl on LinkedIn and really everywhere in my opinion, but that's that's maybe a little biased. And we're not sure we have all that information in the description of this podcast, so it's easy for everyone to access again, Karl, thank you so much. Thank you. You've been listening to a special episode of The PR & Lattes podcast. Make sure you stay up to date on all things that are happening with PR & Lattes by visiting our website prandlattes.com. You can also follow us on social media,@PRAndLattes on Instagram and PR& Lattes on LinkedIn. Thank you so much for listening to this special series in honour of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. We'll have a new episode for you each day this week focused on a different aspect around digital accessibility and communications. So make sure you're following PR & Lattes, wherever you listen to your podcasts. I've been your host Matisse Hamel-Nelis. And I can't wait to share our next episode with you with a brand new latte. Until then, bye for now.