Episode 67

Why accessibility in your product and business is so important with Erin Perkins

There’s no better time to start thinking about accessibility than today! Erin talks about the why and how to make your digital products (and business) more accessible.

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Erin Perkins is a champion for disability rights and an entrepreneur promoting accessibility and inclusiveness. As a deafblind woman, she founded Mabely Q, an independent online business. Erin also serves as a speaker and educator. Her unique experiences foster genuine inclusion, empowering people with disabilities. With Erin’s guidance, businesses embrace diversity and unlock the potential of every individual.

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Free Social Media Scorecard
Accessibility Made Easy
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Find Erin on Instagram
Listen to my solo episode on making your digital product more accessible
Accessible PDFs From InDesign Training

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[00:00:00] Erin: If you’re just getting started with this, my biggest piece of advice is start from where you’re at now. Right, don’t feel like you have to go back and fix everything else. Start from where you’re at now first, get that, get used to that. Know that this is your plan, and then, then you can start going back and fix updating other things, and then you can feel good about it.

[00:00:23] But, do not feel the need to say you have digital, full digital product that has video and everything and you know most of them don’t have captions. Alright, cool, fine. Make note of that. And then, if you’re creating a new digital product, at that point, start adding captions to all your videos, making sure you do that, and then just go from there. Because if you feel like you have to start going back, you’re just gonna get overwhelmed and nothing’s ever gonna get done.

[00:00:55] Rene: Hey everyone. Welcome to Your First Digital Product, a show that helps maxed out service providers create their first digital product so they can gain an additional income stream, grow their impact without increasing one on one work, and experience more time freedom. On the show, I talk to business owners who have launched digital products and dig deep into how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. I’m your host Rene Morozowich. Let’s go!

[00:01:23] Hey, everybody. Today I’m here with Erin Perkins and Erin is a champion for disability rights and an entrepreneur promoting accessibility and inclusiveness. As a deaf blind woman, she founded Mabely Q and with erin’s guidance, businesses embrace diversity and unlock the potential of every individual.

[00:01:41] Hey, Erin, how are you?

[00:01:43] Erin: Hi Rene, How are you?

[00:01:44] Rene: Good, thanks. I’m excited to talk about accessibility, but do you want to tell us a little bit more about you like in your own words?

[00:01:51] Erin: Sure, so I actually started Mabely Q as a graphic designer because that was my background. [00:02:00] And as a small business owner, I was like, alright, I need to keep learning because I feel like that’s the only way to get ahead. And when I started, like, trying to ask the questions from people that I really wanted to learn from, and I would realize like, okay, first of all, if they’re doing a video, how am I supposed to understand the video if it’s not captioned.

[00:02:27] So often when they were like, you know, early bird sales, I would usually miss out on those because I would have to reach out to the people, ask them what the accessibility levels are for that course, and then they would come back to me and there’s been multiple different answers. One, oh, the course is all in text, so you don’t have to worry about that, which is great, easy.

[00:02:56] Or, there’s no caption available. We’re not sure how to do it. Can you teach us? And, at that point, I realized that there’s definitely a gap in the market because most small business owners, you’re little, you’re doing you’re, You’re wearing many hats. And accessibility is not going to be one of those things that are thought about.

[00:03:20] Even though I look at it as accessibility really needs to be a core part of every business when they start up. And so, I because I’ve always had things handed to me in the aspect of, you know, schools would always provide me with access, my parents made sure that I had access, I worked for a corporation, they had all these things in place. Even though there was some workaround we had to do. But where does that leave small businesses? So, I ended up going, I’m like, alright, let me figure this out, let me learn about this. And that’s [00:04:00] how I ended up in teaching accessibility to people. Cause I felt like what’s out there is very challenging and hard.

[00:04:09] And majority of what they teach is website or physical access. They don’t teach about all the other nuances business. And I think that’s like what’s really important.

[00:04:21] Rene: Yeah, I totally agree. I think that as you’re right, as business owners, we’re just, we’re doing everything. So we have to learn about everything. We have to learn about websites and yeah, how to sell our product and how to create it and time management and accounting and billing and accessibility. Like there’s a lot of things, you know, SEO, like there’s a lot of things to learn.

[00:04:42] But I think that you’re right. Like having it kind of as like a fundamental, you know, sort of like, you know, base knowledge, I think, and then to be able to incorporate that into your products and into your services can just make it better and easier going forward. So it’s just something that is good to learn and it’s good for everybody like it’s not just like, you know maybe people think like, oh, you know, I don’t have any customers who might have a disability and I don’t think that that’s a a great great a

[00:05:14] Erin: A lot

[00:05:15] Rene: of people

[00:05:15] Erin: assume that they know their ideal client. And I’m like, you’d be very surprised at what you really don’t know about your customers. Like, if people look at me, you would not know that I’m deaf or blind. Mm hmm. Like, you would not know, because one, I can speak. Two, I can see. But the thing is, like, my vision is slowly deteriorating, so, like, I’m losing that. I I have perfect central vision, but I don’t have any peripheral vision at all. And then my deafness, like, I was born deaf, I wear a hearing aid, I wear a cochlear implant, but when a video is being played, it

[00:05:57] I understand it does not mean that [00:06:00] Like, I have to watch TV with captions. I can’t just sit here and listen to a podcast and not have that.

[00:06:07] Having, like, I do my client meetings with via video because it helps me understand the person better. I have captions. I can see their face. I can catch those nuances. Because, you know, everyone makes facial expressions and stuff. And I need that type of connection. And I think that’s what a lot of people miss, is that your disability is not always visible.

[00:06:34] Rene: And I think that it’s, we, we often think of it like in this black or white, like, you either can see perfectly or you can’t see at all and there’s no shades of gray or hear

[00:06:43] Erin: a spectrum.

[00:06:44] Rene: Yeah, exactly. Right. So, so there are many variations in between to take into account. So I think that that’s, yeah, important to think about it that way. I’m not sure why we think about it that way. We think about like,

[00:06:57] Erin: I, I think I, I will admit, I’ve never necessarily thought about being deaf or being blind in that way until the pandemic because what started to show up for me was that, you know, we would always talk about the autism spectrum. And I don’t even know why that came up, but it was the autism spectrum. And I was like, oh, people can be on any range. I’m like, well, that’s kind of true for deaf people. Because, you know, like, I, I am deaf. I identify as deaf. But I am lucky I have some hearing. I can understand some things with hearing aids. But, and I can speak. But then the, a friend that, they don’t wear hearing aids, but they don’t speak at all.

[00:07:49] And then I have other friends who can talk on the phone, but they still identify as deaf. So I was like, alright, okay, yeah. So we need to start realizing that, that the [00:08:00] spectrum to every disability is not just attuned to how the world has defined it.

[00:08:05] Rene: Right, right. And you mentioned that, um, your, did you say your vision is deteriorating?

[00:08:10] Erin: Yeah, I have, so I have retina pimosa, that is the hearing, hearing version. What I have is Usher Syndrome that affects both my hearing and my vision. So basically it’s like tunnel vision and it goes down, I have about 40 to 50 degrees. So essentially I can’t see the person sitting next to me or, so I have to like scan things more. But a lot of people I know who have this, they’re probably at 5 to 10 degree vision. So yours is definitely a challenge.

[00:08:46] Rene: And, and it’s a good point, I think, to make that, again, things change over time. Even things change with, you know, individual people. So maybe what they could do before they can’t, like, this is not the same, but like, I just got bifocals, like they’re, you know, progressives. So, like,

[00:09:02] Erin: Not, I’m looking forward to that.

[00:09:05] Rene: Not, not great, but it’s, you know, it’s something where, you know, at one point I didn’t need glasses and then I needed glasses and then I need this, you know, so people change over time and it’s not just any one thing. Like it’s, you know, we,

[00:09:18] Erin: Yeah, I mean, this leads me to my favorite quote is like, at one point you will be disabled at any point in your life. So, like, you know, we all, whether it’s permanent or temporary, it’s just like, it’s subjective. Like, breaking an arm or a leg, that is a disability. It’s just temporary, though. So, yeah, I mean, I used to be able to talk on the phone as a kid. Now, if you ask me to talk on the phone, no. I’m like, nope, here, somebody can take the phone. I’m not answering the phone. We don’t even have a landline.

[00:09:53] Rene: I broke my leg last year and yeah, that was a whole new learning experience for [00:10:00] so many things, like, so many things. Like, um, you mentioned physical accessibility, so, like, yeah, buildings and public spaces and things like that, but, but yes, like, now I’m able to walk, but now have a new appreciation for, for things that you just,

[00:10:15] Erin: it’s like, oh my god, so many stairs. Like, no, we’re not gonna do that. There’s too many stairs to go up.

[00:10:20] Rene: Yes. Yes.

[00:10:21] Erin: Or how heavy some of these doors

[00:10:23] Rene: Yes, exactly, trying to, with crutches, trying to open a door. And sometimes, you know, like, there’ll be the button, you know, to open the door. It doesn’t work. Or they get out of sync. So if there’s two sets of doors, one door opens and the other doesn’t. So there’s, there’s that. There’s a lot to it.

[00:10:41] Erin: Yeah, for

[00:10:42] Rene: Totally agree. Yay. Okay, cool. So how, what is maybe like a few things? You mentioned captions on videos. What are a couple other things that we can be doing to help our products?

[00:10:57] Erin: So, one of the things that I encourage people to think about so say, I have a video, and, for my course, so I have a video, and that’s all I provided. That’s not accessible in the sense of, some people might learn differently. Like, watching a video doesn’t help them, like they are learning auditory, but some people learn better reading or writing.

[00:11:27] So having the video with like, coordinate, corresponding text below does help people be able to decide which way they want. They might be able to use like both pieces or they might feel like it’s an easy, like, reading, they just want to read it and then go from there. So it’s like having different ways for people to consume your digital product is usually helpful for many people because not everybody wants to [00:12:00] consume things the same way.

[00:12:02] Like, my husband, he’s an audio learner. He learns best by listening to things and he picks it up. So, it’s funny, we actually get along great when it comes to building and putting things together. Like, we have no problem putting together IKEA stuff. Like, because, like, I can read out the instructions to him.

[00:12:23] I learn better by looking and reading and stuff. And he learns better by listening. So I read out the instructions to him. And then we’re able to put it together. But then there are moments where you’re just like, what are these directions? This makes no sense, no matter what. So, that’s why I suggest with people to think about different ways of how you can present your digital product beyond just the first way you’ve come up with.

[00:12:52] Rene: I don’t want to say it’s not hard, but it, you’ve already created the content. So providing it in a different format is not that much more, you know, you’re not creating a whole new, you know, set of, of materials.

[00:13:06] Erin: You’ve already written it.

[00:13:09] Rene: Yes.

[00:13:10] Erin: So, if you’re just planning on presenting a written content, great, great, that’s easy. But, like, um, the, if you just create a video to go along with it or an audio piece to go along with it can help. But, there are technologies now that more and more people are using different technologies where it can read out the text that is on the screen for you. So, that’s helpful as well.

[00:13:39] Rene: Yeah, that is cool. Like some, some things like in the browser, like Google Chrome or like things. Yeah, that is nice. And I think maybe we don’t know about those things. Like we don’t maybe know that they exist unless we maybe have a need for them or we go out looking. So.

[00:13:53] Erin: Yeah, So, I was, I think I was reading something like more and more people like using [00:14:00] voiceover or something to read out what’s on the screen for them, so that’s great. it’s

[00:14:06] Rene: that

[00:14:06] Erin: and low cost.

[00:14:07] Rene: Yeah,

[00:14:08] Erin: I think it might be free, so you can definitely utilize those things. A lot of, like, browsers like Chrome. Chrome has so many amazing plug in extensions that are phenomenal that you can, like, use and play around with and have that give you that additional piece of leg up

[00:14:28] Rene: Yeah. That’s very cool. And I think, you know, just to go back to, you know, what we were saying about in different formats, like, and then you can market the product that way. Like then you can say, Hey, and I have videos for people who like to learn this way. And, you know, like it’s, I think it can be a selling point too, you know, to be able to showcase that you, you know, care about accessibility and you care about people actually consuming.

[00:14:54] Like, I, I think the point I like to try to make on this show is that we’re not just concerned about sales. Like, we’re actually concerned about people buying and using your product. So, it’s great if people buy it, but it’s better if people actually use it then. So, you know, giving people ways to use it, I think, is important.

[00:15:13] Erin: For sure.

[00:15:14] Rene: Yeah, so any other tips that you have, like, what are some other things maybe that we can kind do to,

[00:15:21] Erin: Have this information in your sales page.

[00:15:23] Rene: Mm-hmm. Mm hmm.

[00:15:25] Erin: Place is probably a frequently asked question. Like, how is this information, how is your digital product being presented to your audience? Share that, you know, it’s a series of videos with, um, accompanying text. Or, uh, like, it’s a PDF downloadable.

[00:15:44] I will say that making a PDF screenreader friendly is one of the most challenging things. That is something that I have not been able to necessarily learn because it’s a little bit, I feel [00:16:00] like it’s very complex to take a PDF and make it readable via screenreader.

[00:16:06] So, one of the things I suggest is if you create a PDF with content, have a Google Doc that you’ve created with headers, using, using headers, like, you know, the style sheet, use that to help break it down so that it complements, so in the event of somebody needing to utilize the screen reader, they can then reach out to you.

[00:16:35] I’m not saying, like, you would want to put the I know a lot of people don’t feel comfortable putting a Google Doc up for people to use, so this might be something that you would consider as, like, having a backup. I mean, I create everything in Google Docs, so I have it ready, so if somebody asks me, it’s not a huge deal for me to be like, Oh, here’s a link to this document.

[00:16:58] Rene: Yeah, I mean, I like Google Docs. I know some people don’t. I know people like that, that sort of PDF and I know it’s polished maybe in a different way, but I’ve had, yeah, some people in the show, you know, talk about like, oh, I like this or I like that, you know, so I think it is personal preference. But yeah, it’s a great point of having.

[00:17:16] And maybe that’s where the PDF came from anyway. It came from Google Docs. So it’s not like you have to maybe recreate it completely. Um, I took an accessibility class a couple years ago from a woman and, but it was web accessibility, but she also had a class about making your PDFs accessible. I’ll dig that out, maybe put that in the show notes for people, but I think that, yeah, like you’re saying, it’s maybe more complicated than people think.

[00:17:42] We think like, oh, pretty PDF, pretty too. Like pretty PDF and all this stuff, but

[00:17:47] Erin: Yeah, I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’m, I have a background and I’m a designer myself. So, like, of course, like, I want things to look pretty. I mean, after all, we’ve invested all this money in our branding. We want to make [00:18:00] sure our branding looks good. A sheet that, appearing that look throughout whatever we’re creating.

[00:18:05] So, it is completely understandable to be like, I don’t necessarily want to give that Google Doc away because it’s not, like, outlining my branding and stuff. Like, you can always just create a quick template of your Google Doc with, like, your logo and just a little thing and then keep the rest of it super simple so that it is readable for the screen reader. So it’s just doing little things like that, I think, give people that peace of mind knowing that if they needed to learn from you and they wanted to purchase your digital product, they have multiple different options of how to consume it. And most of these little add ons is not like

[00:18:51] It’s not like a Like oh my gosh, like, this is going to be so much more. Well, it, it, I, it does, but I will, I do want to clarify, it does add up if you’re doing so many things. But, it’s gonna improve your SEO, honestly.

[00:19:13] Rene: Yeah, and I think it’s and just having that available and like you mentioned like putting in the faq that you know this is this is how the information is provided and if you would prefer or need, you know, Google Docs version or something like that, you know, we have that available. Just reach out to us.

[00:19:27] So, you know, I think that that that is great. So you mentioned so you mentioned the PDFs and Google Docs. Are there any other maybe tools or platforms that you’ve come across like that you’ve found easier to use maybe than others?

[00:19:41] Erin: I don’t know, because like, it’s funny because on Threads, people are talking about binning, I don’t even know what binning I think it means getting rid of. Yeah I’ve seen that too, I think it means getting rid of like you’re, like you’re not going to use like or ClickUp whatever.

[00:19:58] Yeah, like using [00:20:00] the, like changing the tech stack and stuff like that. And one of the things, it is my goal to not conform people to one specific, um, tech stack or whatnot.

[00:20:14] Because I am a huge believer in people finding the tool that works best for them. And like, but I will say, I am a diehard Google Workspace person.

[00:20:27] Like, everything Google, I’m like, just give it to me. If you take it away, I will die. Like, my business will not be able to function without it. So, it’s, it’s really important for me to help people understand that whatever tech stack you’re using, it, whatever course platform you’re using, if you are not sure about it, let me know and let, like, help me figure out how to make that platform better.

[00:20:58] And then we can, like, make sure that whatever course digital product you create is accessible no matter what platform you’re using. So that’s like what I, I don’t like to recommend anything specific in that sense. I can share what I use. I use ThriveCart.

[00:21:17] And ThriveCart Learn for my, like, product and, like, I like it, but I do notice that there are huge accessibility gaps within them.

[00:21:28] So if anybody knows anybody at ThriveCart, please give me a holler.

[00:21:32] Rene: Oh, yeah. That’d be great. Yeah. Because I think that it’s, again, just making these products better and better, easier for people to use. It’s good for their customer base and their, you know, new customers too. So, you know, I think that that’s important. There are so many different platforms out there.

[00:21:47] And I kind of feel the same that I don’t recommend any one but yeah, looking at the features that you need and the price point, you know, again, a small business owner, we can’t just buy the most expensive one out there even though, you know, it might be super [00:22:00] awesome. Like you have to kind of balance what you need, what your audience needs.

[00:22:04] Um, but I love that. So do you offer that as a service? Like, I’ll audit your product or I’ll audit your thing, or, or ask me a question or consult hour, anything like that like that?

[00:22:14] Erin: So, I’m working in several different ways. I’m still in the middle of like, kind of, so, the beginning of this year, I ended up like, kind of like, deconstructing my business, and now I’m like, putting it back together.

[00:22:27] So, essentially, I’ve come up with the Business Accessibility Shop. And that is where you can buy one off things, like if you want to just have a workshop or just focus on email. You can do that. Or if you want to get it all, you can join Successible as a membership and you get access to everything. So you have that.

[00:22:50] And then I do offer like, uh, like a half day accessibility audit where we can either go through everything in your business. Or we can just like really focus on, most people like to focus on one main thing, like I’ve done help people with a podcast, their website, kind of like really help them fine tune it. Basically what I do is I take a look at your process. And then I find all the gaps, accessibility gaps that are missing and help you kind of rebuild that. And then you can also bring me on as a consultant. So if you want me longer term, you can bring me on in that aspect. So I do all those different things.

[00:23:34] Rene: Nice. Nice. And I like that. Deconstructing and, and reconstructing like that is because that is, I think that’s another thing, you know, kind of, this is a side note, but you know, as a business owner, I guess I thought that once I like figured it out, I’d just be good and like, that’s just what I would do.

[00:23:52] And now I’m like, wait, what am I doing? You know, like seven years in and it’s, I don’t know, I don’t know why I’m surprised. [00:24:00] Everything changes. But that was

[00:24:02] Erin: I know, it’s like, it’s like technology changes, what’s available out there changes, so you’re like literally trying to figure out that. I launched Successible last year, almost a year ago today, and it was one of those things where this is what I thought people needed, but then, now I’m like, alright, let me take a step back and kind of like reconstruct it in a different way. So, I wasn’t like really reinventing the wheel so much. It was just like, how can I present this information better to people? And that’s what’s important.

[00:24:37] Like, I found that more and more people wanted just to learn about one thing. Which, I think is completely fair. Like, sometimes you don’t want to get overwhelmed with all the things.

[00:24:50] So, So you might just be like, you know what, I really want to hone in, lean in on the email aspect of my business. Because that’s like what I am focused on this year. And that’s totally cool. If you’re leaning it, like, because you’re creating your digital product, you might be like, alright, can I make sure that this is accessible?

[00:25:10] So like, let’s look at your digital product as a whole and evaluate where you can improve to make sure that moving forward you’re doing things the way that it should be done in a sense.

[00:25:25] Rene: Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, I definitely agree with the overwhelm. I think that maybe those, the days of like those big signature courses have kind of passed where like I, just the thought of like buying a huge course, like, yes, it’s great because it has all the information, but, you know, that information changes.

[00:25:45] Yeah, and I’m I know the answer is no. I don’t have time to do that. I don’t have the attention span to do that. So yeah, what that’s why I kind of promote like a smaller product because yeah, I can it can focus on one thing. Do that thing [00:26:00] well. People can consume it and then they fit you feel better about yourself I think as a as a customer like I bought this thing.

[00:26:06] I did it. I used it. I implemented it. Done. Instead of, I paid a ton of money for this course, I started it, I didn’t complete it, now I feel terrible about myself. I feel bad about myself. And I just don’t think that that’s what we want our customers to feel. We want them to feel good, not bad.

[00:26:23] Erin: Yeah. I agree. I agree with that aspect.

[00:26:26] Rene: So how did you so talking about your own product or products, like how how did you kind of decide, like, oh, it’s time to create something for, like, were people are asking you, you’re just kind of like, I’m going to put this together, like, how did maybe that come about?

[00:26:42] Erin: People are constantly asking me and I personally, I was really happy just doing graphic design because that is my background. I love doing it and I didn’t have to do too much selling but people kept asking me and I would be doing education on Instagram but the challenge was I was kind of tired of doing the work for free.

[00:27:13] Rene: Mm-hmm.

[00:27:14] Erin: Like, just teaching people. I’m like, there’s all this stuff out there. You can do it. But, I also noticed that there was a massive gap in if you want to look for accessibility. Everything that comes up in SEO is all about website accessibility. And, that is like a pain in my side, because, I’m like, it’s not just websites. Like, I have,

[00:27:44] I have no problem accessing websites. That is not a barrier for me. Now, if you talk about podcasts, if you talk about courses that just do video, or audio only, or events like summits, like [00:28:00] whether they’re audio, those are barriers for me, and that’s where I would like, this is a problem and I’m tired of constantly having to ask people to kind of fix it. So I started building out my first product which was the Accessibility Made Easy course.

[00:28:22] It was seven things and it was pretty good but I left that alone and I wanted to find something that really hit people more and kind of like go along with the technology that has evolved over the three years that I have, since I created Accessibility Made Easy.

[00:28:44] So I went with that, and now I feel good because now I’m like, oh, okay, people might just want one off pieces. And that’s totally fine. If they buy one piece and then they come back and be like, you know what? I need you to just, like, walk me through the whole thing. That’s totally cool with me as well.

[00:29:05] Rene: Yeah, and I love that, you know, we do talk about that sometimes on the show, where the product isn’t maybe necessarily just like the money that it makes, but a lot of these products, whenever you create something and showcase something, people consume it and they’re like, oh wait, this is much more in depth than I bargained for, like, can you do it for me?

[00:29:21] Or can you help me do it? You know, and that leads to to a client, right? That leads to maybe participating in your membership or your group program or your one on one and like, that’s an equally good outcome. It does, it doesn’t just have to be like the money that the product makes. So I think there’s, uh, cause I think service providers like to provide their service.

[00:29:40] I don’t know too many that are like, I just want to do products. There are some, but I think that service providers like to provide the service, but having something

[00:29:48] Erin: but it’s also a way for you to build connection with people.

[00:29:53] Rene: Yeah. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mm

[00:29:55] Erin: I like the human connection. I mean, we’re all staying at home by ourselves,

[00:29:59] Rene: hmm. [00:30:00]

[00:30:00] Erin: with maybe our fur, fur animal. Mine’s not with me right now.

[00:30:04] Rene: Yeah. Yeah. For sure. Yeah. So, um, do you want to tell us more about your products? So do you, how many products do you have?

[00:30:11] Erin: So let me kind of like clear off my framework. So, my. So I founded Successible which is based on the words Success and Accessible. So I created that. It’s all trademarked. It’s mine.

[00:30:25] I love it. And I feel like it just rolled off the tongue. So the framework is based on the words Success.

[00:30:33] And basically what it kind of teaches people that in order to be successful, you need to hit Be Accessible in all aspects of your business.

[00:30:44] So, it’s like, your business, email marketing, social media, um, your event, whether it’s online or in person, your podcast, your, um, website. Like, all those things are different pieces. Aspects of your business that you need to make sure that you’re accessible in every single one of these aspects.

[00:31:11] Like, say someone finds you on social media. If your video is not captioned or you don’t have alt text in there. It’s not, and then they’re gonna be like, nope, that’s not accessible to me. So I’m just gonna move on and find somebody else to read. That’s gonna keep them from getting to your website, going to your website and wanting to learn more about you.

[00:31:36] So it’s like, or if someone goes to your website and they’re like, the colors are too hard to read because they’re colorblind. That’s gonna create a barrier for them as well. Or they use your website and they’re using a screen reader and it’s not working, like the screen reader is not really taking them to anywhere that provides them information they need to, want [00:32:00] to hire you.

[00:32:00] So it’s all these different aspects that, if you’re not accessible in one piece, it’s gonna affect how other people see you. It’s the same if someone finds your podcast. Like, I’m least likely, if I, someone tells me they have a podcast, great. Um, I go and I’m like, oh, there’s no transcript available. Now, I will say, Apple has created this where transcripts are available for every podcast. Awesome! But, here’s the thing. Not everyone uses Apple Podcasts.

[00:32:36] So you still need to have a transcript available, no matter, so that it’s available on any platform anyone chooses. But what if I weren’t an Apple user, and I use another, I don’t know what the other podcast platforms are, and use this other platform, but there’s no transcript available.

[00:32:55] Rene: That’s a great point. And it’s kind of like, you know, if you think about, like, the beginnings of websites and the internet, the point was different from, like, a book. Like, a book, you open the book at the beginning, and you read through it in a sequential manner. Whereas, is the web, you know, it’s, it’s a web of, you can go different pathways.

[00:33:14] And that’s a great point. Not everybody comes to your website first. You know, not everybody finds you there. They don’t always just go to your homepage. That’s one thing that, you know, I like to stress to people. They might land on a different page. So if they come to you, yeah, from social media, they might not even get to your website because your social is not accessible, you know, captions and things like that.

[00:33:34] Um, I’ve noticed that. For the podcast when I do, when I share on social media I put the captions on the video, but I’ve also, I upload like the, the SRT file, um, as well. But I didn’t notice that Instagram had the ability to do that. So like the reels just have the captions written on them, which, although I guess you could listen to it too.

[00:33:56] I don’t know. Sometimes I worry.

[00:33:57] Erin: I do not have [00:34:00] Instagram captions turned on by the platform itself because where they’ve set up the closed caption, let me just clarify, the closed captioning where they’ve set it up in Instagram is overlapped by the reel or story caption. Mm hmm. So it’s like you, so I have like my, I’m using one hand that is, this is the caption and then the closed captioning and then this is the reel caption. How am I supposed to read that?

[00:34:33] Rene: Right.

[00:34:34] Erin: So I’ve always turned that off and I want people to add their own captions in.

[00:34:41] Rene: Okay. That makes sense. And it wouldn’t.

[00:34:43] Erin: Easier to read. And plus me, if I just like let it transcribe my own voice, it would not caption it correctly.

[00:34:52] Rene: That makes sense. Yeah.

[00:34:53] Erin: Auto transcript does not think I speak English.

[00:34:56] Rene: Oh. Hmm. You would think that, like, they would tell you where on the reel maybe to put the, if you’re going to put captions on there, like, to put them maybe in a different place, but you have that overlapping, that’s not useful. I did notice some people, if they put it too high, like,

[00:35:12] Erin: it will be covered,

[00:35:13] Rene: yeah, exactly, I’m like, I can’t read this, because I don’t always listen, actually, most of time, I don’t turn audio on.

[00:35:18] Erin: That’s the thing is, is people are assuming that people are, have their audio. I do not know anybody who has sound on their phone.

[00:35:30] Rene: Right. Yeah.

[00:35:31] Erin: Captions are needed for everybody, so.

[00:35:34] Rene: Yeah.

[00:35:34] Erin: If you don’t have captions, you’re missing out.

[00:35:36] Rene: Mm-hmm. Yeah, only every once in a while will I turn the sound on, but then I feel weird. I want to read it. Like I want to watch your face and then I want to read the captions and then I want to go to the next one. Like, yeah, I don’t know why.

[00:35:47] Do you want to share maybe some kind of summary tips for us? Like, whichever, if we, if there’s something we didn’t talk about, we can talk about it. Or if you want to give us our advice, like if we’re just getting started with accessibility in our products.

[00:35:58] Erin: Alright, so, [00:36:00] this is great. If you’re just getting started with this, my biggest piece of advice is start from where you’re at now. Right, don’t feel like you have to go back and fix everything else. Start from where you’re at now first get that, get used to that. Know that this is your plan, and then, then you can start going back and fix updating other things, and then you can feel good about it.

[00:36:25] But, do not feel the need to say you have digital, full digital product that has video and everything and you know most of them don’t have captions. Alright, cool, fine. Make note of that. And then, if you’re creating a new digital product, at that point, start adding captions to all your videos, making sure you do that, and then just go from there. Because if you feel like you have to start going back, you’re just gonna get overwhelmed and nothing’s ever gonna get done.

[00:36:56] Rene: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great point because I think we do that. I think that we think like, okay, now I know about accessibility and now I have to make every single thing that I’ve ever done accessible and everything going forward. And that’s, that is just, that’s too much. Uh, but you could maybe on, you know, you tell me. Maybe on that product, you know, you could say like, if you need a different version of this or something, let me know.

[00:37:20] And then you can create it. I’ve, I’ve had people on the show who have had, um, so they do one in particular, she does like software documentation. I’m like, how do you keep up with the changes on that? And she said, I have a note on every video that says like, if this video is too out of date for you, let you know, if you’re, if you’re seeing this and this video needs attention.

[00:37:41] Let me know. And then so she knows to fix that video. She doesn’t have to fix the ones that nobody ever looks at or cares about. I mean, she may go back to them, but those aren’t priority. The priority, you know, are the

[00:37:53] Erin: What the people are watching. No, I think that’s a great piece of advice. Is that, make, add that [00:38:00] note, like, say like, you know, if you’re watching this and you feel like something out of date, like let the creator know so that they can actually go back and fix it. Because, it, it kind of like takes the pressure off of us. And it also gives us, like, more insight into what you, your audience is prioritizing. What they are like, oh, I am really focused on. Like, I feel like right now, everybody I know is focused on email. Which is fantastic. Like, Instagram, go.

[00:38:35] Rene: Yeah. Mm hmm.

[00:38:38] Erin: Sit over there. Can wait. Let’s focus on email. So, I’m like really leaning into the email accessibility aspect. So, like, so anything related to social media, I can kind of put pause on.

[00:38:52] Rene: Hmm. Yeah. Because.

[00:38:54] Erin: Anybody can do that.

[00:38:55] Rene: Mm hmm. Because it’s hard. It is. It’s hard to do all of it. And just to think about everything you’ve ever created, you know, retrofitting and like that is overwhelming. So, you know, I think it’s a good plan. Yeah. So any other advice? Any other things that people are just getting started that, um, you know, that.

[00:39:11] Erin: I really, I don’t want to overwhelm your people.

[00:39:14] Rene: No, it’s good.

[00:39:15] Erin: So I was like, so start from where you’re at now. Um, think of different ways of how you can create your digital product and present it so that it’s accessible in several different ways, but don’t feel like you have to create it in multiple different forms and then you feel overwhelmed.

[00:39:37] So, like, do what is to your capacity. Like, like, that’s my emphasis is, like, do what you feel like is right for you. That kind of thing.

[00:39:49] Rene: Yeah, that’s great advice because I think that we, I think creating a product can be so intense, you know, even if it’s a small product and then saying [00:40:00] like, oh, hey, and if you have to create it in five different formats too, like, okay, no, not quite, you know, not, not quite. Um, and there are a lot of tools out there, I think now that make it easier than it was before.

[00:40:12] So, you know, I use this. Descript and, you know, I pull the videos in, but the, you know, then the audio, the audio, but then the transcripts are there too. So, you know, that didn’t exist a long time ago. So it’s, it’s getting better, I think, maybe than it used to be.

[00:40:29] Erin: So, would you say where you’re filming right now is using the platform Descript?

[00:40:34] Rene: So this is Squadcast and Squadcast, Descript actually bought Squadcast, but there’s an integration. So after, after I stop recording, it sends, so it records the video separately and the audio separately. So it will send. So each video, each audio in, and then I kind of adjust and correct and cut and trim and, you know, polish it.

[00:40:56] So when I export it, I can export the SRT, um, the TXT transcript, the audio, the video, you know, all those things. And then I put them in different places. So.

[00:41:07] Erin: Nice. Nice. So, yeah, you can also promote Descript. But I’m still like having I don’t feel like I would utilize Descript enough to use it, but I do think it is one of the top accessibility tools out there for people.

[00:41:25] Rene: And I think just having the tools that you need, like, it’s, you know, you’re, you’re, we’re talking about tool stacks, like your tool stack is different from my tool stack, and like, this works well because of the things that I do, but, you know, everybody does different things, so, you know, I don’t know that I’d recommend it if you didn’t have a podcast, like, that’s just kind of what I use for it, but, yeah, finding, you know, whatever you’re going to be creating um, and there may be tools within, like, I’m not a huge advocate of like, and buy this tool, and buy this tool, and buy this tool, like, let’s see what tools, you know, what capacity and, and features the [00:42:00] tools you’re already using have for you.

[00:42:03] Erin: And add to that.

[00:42:04] Rene: Yeah. Awesome. Yay.

[00:42:05] Erin: And you can replace one tool, use one tool to replace three. It’s even better.

[00:42:11] Rene: Yeah. That too. Right. Make it trim. It just simplifies it for you so that you don’t have, yeah, like 57, 000 things. And I don’t know. It’s again, that overwhelm. Yeah. Keeping that overwhelmed down.

[00:42:23] Erin: For sure.

[00:42:24] Rene: I love it. I love it. Yay. Um, so do you want to tell us where we can find you online?

[00:42:30] Erin: Yes. You can find me on maybelyq and M-A-B-E-L-Y underscore Q on Instagram and maybelq all one word dot com on my website. And I do have a social media scorecard.

[00:42:52] Rene: Oh, sweet.

[00:42:53] Erin: A link that I can provide you with so that you can kind of, your audience can kind of use that as a starting point. Cause I feel like social media is one of the easier ways to be accessible from the beginning and then go from there, yeah.

[00:43:09] Rene: Nice. Awesome. Yay. Thank you so much. That’s fantastic. And thank you for sharing all of your experiences and your advice with us today.

[00:43:15] Erin: You are welcome.

[00:43:17] Rene: Hey, thanks for listening. I’d love to continue the conversation in your inbox. Email SUBSCRIBE to hey at yfdp.show or sign up in the show notes to get bi monthly emails about how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. Can’t wait to see you there.