In this episode, we talk about the new Audit History add-on for Accessibility Checker, and take stock of what we’re thankful for in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Mentioned in This Episode
>> CHRIS HINDS: Welcome to episode 42 of the “Accessibility Craft Podcast,” where we explore the art of creating accessible websites while trying out interesting craft beverages. This podcast is brought to you by the team at Equalize Digital, a WordPress accessibility company and the proud creators of the Accessibility Checker plugin.
In this episode, we talk about the new audit history add-on for Accessibility Checker, and take stock of what we’re thankful for in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday.
For show notes and a full transcript, go to “AccessibilityCraft.com/042.”
Now, on to the show.
>> AMBER HINDS: Hi everyone, it’s Amber, and today I’m here with Chris.
>> CHRIS HINDS: Hello, everyone.
>> AMBER: And Steve.
>> STEVE JONES: Hello.
>> AMBER: And this is our Thanksgiving Accessibility Craft episode, and I have made Chris and Steve’s day with the beverage that I suggested we drink.
>> STEVE: Yes.
>> CHRIS: Yes, so we’ve got Jones Soda Co. Special release, Turkey and Gravy Soda.
>> STEVE: Jones Soda. No relation to me.
>> CHRIS: No.
>> AMBER: Oh, you mean you don’t make turkey soda every Thanksgiving to drink with your family?
STEVE: No, no. [laughs]
>> CHRIS: [chuckles] OK, I love the back label. The start of the description is, “It’s back,” with, like, 50 As in between.
>> STEVE: Oh, really?
>> AMBER: Yes, so they don’t sell this year round.
>> CHRIS: “For a limited time, you can experience our infamous Turkey and Gravy Soda. Grab a bottle while you can, and bring your holiday gathering where your vegan buddies can partake. Or check the whole bottle if you dare.”
>> AMBER: Yes, I had to check that, so I’m a vegetarian, and I was like, I knew this soda existed because I think I’ve seen a hilarious YouTube video about it. I’ve never tried it, and I was, like, “OK, that would be funny.” But then I went, “Wait, is there actually turkey in this?” But no, it is vegan turkey-flavored soda. [laughs]
It has a very dice photograph of a turkey surrounded by fruits, orange and grapes. I don’t know if anyone actually place their turkey that way, but there is no turkey harmed in the making of this soda.
>> CHRIS: There might be humans harmed in the drinking of this soda though. We’ll see.
>> STEVE: Yes, yes. You remember back in the 90s when Jones Soda came out, and you could send your photo in it and they would put it on the bottle?
>> AMBER: I think you still can. Look, it says that.
>> STEVE: Yes. That’s what reminded me that they still do that, but in the 90s, that was kind of a big deal, right? You know, you send your photo in and then you go to the store and look for your picture or something.
AMBER: They always put it on ones that they sell in the store, not just ship you one?
>> STEVE: Yes.
>> AMBER: I thought you meant you could buy your own.
>> STEVE: No. They print them on the label.
>> AMBER: So it’s not necessarily like pictures of people? It’s not, like, a picture of me. It’s a photo I took?
>> STEVE: No, it’s a picture of your face.
>> AMBER: Oh, it is? OK.
>> STEVE: Yes. [laughs]
>> AMBER: [inaudible]. It’s not, like, a landscape, portrait or something? [laughs]
>> STEVE: Yes, I mean, it’s kind of like that Coca-Cola campaign that they had with your name on the bottle, you know?
>> AMBER: Oh, yes, where they had the bottle things. It’s a little bad because I don’t know if Jones Soda counts as craft soda anymore. It’s possible. It’s owned by a really big company now, but it’s Thanksgiving this week, so it seems like we should be drinking something festive.
>> CHRIS: Festive.
All right. Well, normally, I’m excited to try things, but maybe we should just get this over with.
>> AMBER: All right, all right.
>> CHRIS: I’m going to twist the top off of here.
>> STEVE: Do you think they have fruits on that platter because there’s fruits inside the drink?
CHRIS: I don’t know. [crosstalk ]
>> AMBER: All right. Wait, I’m smelling it. It doesn’t smell like anything really.
>> CHRIS: No.
>> AMBER: Does it smell like anything, Chris?
>> CHRIS: Definitely doesn’t smell like turkey.
>> STEVE: I don’t know. It smells like a ginger, almost.
>> CHRIS: I’m getting kind of a Play-Doh vibe.
>> AMBER: All right. I’m going to be brave and take a small sip.
CHRIS: Yes. Bottoms up. Here we go.
>> STEVE: Turkey and Gravy.
>> AMBER: Well, that’s a little weird. OK, I haven’t eaten turkey in more than 20 years. Does it taste like turkey?
>> CHRIS: No, not at all.
>> AMBER: Not at all?
>> STEVE: Doesn’t taste like gravy, either.
>> AMBER: No. I mean, it’s pretty sweet. Also, you know what I just realized? It says it’s a product of Canada. [laughs] Our Thanksgiving beverage comes from the country that doesn’t care about Thanksgiving.
>> STEVE: Oh, they don’t?
>> CHRIS: Yes.
>> AMBER: Well, no. Thanksgiving is American holiday.
>> STEVE: Yes, yes, yes.
>> CHRIS: They’re pandering to the Americans.
>> AMBER: OK, so it does not taste like turkey or gravy. What does it taste like to you?
>> STEVE: I don’t know.
>> CHRIS: Yes, I’m a little stumped on this one too. I am reluctantly going to take a second sip of this. I really don’t like it.
>> AMBER: [laughing] I think you’re right. It tastes like Play-Doh.
>> STEVE: Play-Doh. It just says, “Carbonated water, salt, natural flavors, caramel color, potassium, sorbet, sodium benzoate.
>> AMBER: Yes. [crosstalk ] There’s nothing to flavor this. [chuckles]
>> STEVE: It doesn’t tell you.
>> AMBER: Whatever natural flavors are, so salt, that’s what I get. It must have a higher salt content than the average soda.
CHRIS: Yes. I was thinking it was going to really salty. I get a hit of salt at the beginning, but then they’ve still sweetened it, and that’s the part that’s weird, so I get salt and a little sweet, and then a miscellaneous flavor that I can’t really taste on the nose to me.
The first smell it took me to was like when you open a little tub of Play-Doh and that smell that hits you of, like, the fake salty dough stuff, and that’s kind of what it smells like, but on the palate, I don’t know. I don’t really taste much of anything other than salt and a little sweet and light carbonation, but no, I get zero turkey. I don’t get any herb flavors. I don’t get black pepper. I don’t get anything that I would expect to taste. L
In my head, what I thought this was going to be is, I was going to drink it and I was going to taste a little salt and maybe a very slight sweet undertone, and, like, some black pepper, and some sage maybe, and like those kinds of herby flavors, but, you know, I don’t think there’s such a thing as a turkey flavor extract, right? And you can’t really bottle and carbonate turkey stock.
>> AMBER: Well, could you not? [laughs]
>> CHRIS: I don’t know.
>> STEVE: Turkey itself alone doesn’t have a ton of flavor, right?
>> AMBER: So they did a good job?
>> STEVE: But gravy does.
>> CHRIS: Yes.
>> STEVE: So they probably should have leaned in on the gravy side.
>> AMBER: Or they kind of added a little cranberry, right? That’s reminiscent of Thanksgiving dinner, cranberry?
>> CHRIS: Well, that’s the other thing I’m not tasting. It’s like the caramelization, the Maillard reaction on the outside of meat, or when you’re caramelizing a piece of meat in the oven or in a pan. That has its own distinct flavor, like, that caramelized meat flavor. That’s also not here.
I don’t know what to say other than it sucks.
It is pure gimmick, which I expected, so I’m not disappointed. It lived up to my expectations. My expectations is that it was going to suck, and it sucks.
>> AMBER: So I do not think this is the grossest drink we have drunk on this podcast, surprisingly. I thought it would be.
STEVE: Oh, no, not at all.
>> AMBER: I thought it was going to taste like weird, cold, fizzy broth. That’s what I expected. What I think chicken broth or turkey broth must taste like from my memory way back when I was a little child, and it doesn’t. This is more drinkable than some of the other things.
You know, the thought I had, though, is I’m drinking it cold, and now I sort of wonder since it’s like a turkey, maybe this is supposed to be drank warm.
STEVE: Mine’s room temperature.
>> AMBER: Oh, OK, so it still doesn’t have extra [inaudible]. I was wondering maybe the cold just distracts from it, but no.
>> STEVE: The cold might make it better.
>> AMBER: Yes, I don’t know
>> STEVE: Yes. Now we have a whole case of it to crack open at Thanksgiving with our families and see what they think, right?
>> AMBER: I know. That sounds like we’re going to have extra ones. I’m going to give them to the kids with their Thanksgiving dinner and be like, “Look, we got you a special soda. While mommy enjoys her glass of champagne, you get to drink turkey soda.”
The question is, will they be brave enough to try it?
>> STEVE: Yes. Yes.
>> CHRIS: I’m calling it now. The three year old’s going to cry.
>> AMBER: You think so?
>> CHRIS: She’s going to see the picture on the bottle and tears are going to fly.
>> AMBER: Oh, man. Well, we figured this week since it’s a week that we should all… Hopefully, we’d like to do the whole month of November at our house being thankful, but I sort of thought it would be fun just to do a little recap of some recent stuff that’s been going on in our land with the Accessibility Checker Plugin, and just in general talk about some of the things that we’ve been thankful for that have happened around accessibility or in our own.
So I don’t know if either of you want to start off with anything.
>> CHRIS: I think, for me, one of the bigger milestones for us as professionals and us as a company was getting the investment from Amelia Capitol [phonetic] and Yoast and Marieka. I am incredibly grateful to them for believing in us and believing in our mission and deciding to invest, and I think that their involvement and their advice has already helped us in some ways, and has also lent itself to just our legitimacy in the marketplace in general, but that’s definitely top of the list for me.
STEVE: Yes. I think from the software side, I’m thankful for the strides we’ve made with the Accessibility Checker. We won the GADD Award this year, and Amber is flying out to accept that on our behalf and be there to represent us, right? I think there’s some fundraising and some other things going on that night as well, right?
>> AMBER: So for people who are not aware, that’s the Global Accessibility Awareness Day Foundation, which was founded by Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion, and they originally started it with the event to help raise awareness. That always happens in May, but the foundation has gone beyond the event.
This year, they put out awards for software or other initiatives that have helped to put accessibility forward, and we were one of the three winners of the GADD Awards, which was really, really amazing to get that, so we were in good company, and I was really excited to go to the awards, which I haven’t gone to yet when we’re recording this, but by the time it’s released, I will have come back, so for us, it was really exciting to see that, and also just to see other people who have also been making strides in accessibility.
I know one of the other award winners was from a Unilever brand because of things they did to make product labels more accessible to people who are blind, which is huge.
If you imagine, here, we’re always talking about the beverages that we like to try. Well, could you imagine if you couldn’t access the ingredients on those, and you don’t even know, “Is this turkey soda vegan or not?”
You wouldn’t get to try it, right? So, really, accessibility touches so many parts of everyone’s day-to-day lives, even beyond the web.
I know we mostly talk about web here on this podcast, but there’s a lot of people doing amazing things out with accessibility in the built environment, and in product packaging, and that kind of stuff, were doing really amazing things, and from a gratitude standpoint, I think all of them deserve some sort of shout out for all of the hard work that everyone has been doing this year, and I feel like I’ve seen a lot of increased traction on that in the last year, especially.
CHRIS: Yes, and on that traction front, I’m super grateful to our partner network, like all of our agency partners, some of the hosting and maintenance company partners that have come on. They are playing a role in the growth, not just of our company, but also the bigger picture of accessibility awareness in general, promoting that to their customers.
I want to shout out particularly WordPress VIP. I want to shout out Convezio, JJ, and Lone Rock Point, who built the NASA website. Also just some of our smaller but very important partners, like Bet Hannon over at AccessiCart has been a huge help to us this year in sharing things, getting the word out, even referring customers.
So I’m just incredibly grateful to this growing network of professionals that we have kind of allowed to coalesce around us that are caring about accessibility, that are promoting it, and that are sharing with us in the benefits of that from a business standpoint, but also just uplifting all of WordPress and making it more accessible, and I’m just excited to see more and more people see this and come on board, and start to appreciate the value that this can bring, not just to their business, but to their customers, and to driving WordPress forward as a whole, so the partners have been great, and I’m looking forward to bringing more in.
>> AMBER: Yes. You’re talking about increased traction and more people spreading awareness. A really good indicator of that, which we saw this year… Chris and I are both on the organizing team for the WordPress Accessibility Day Conference, and then I was able to team up with Bet Hannon and Joe Dolson to make it its own nonprofit this year, which we were super excited about, and we had set the goal of having… Well, it felt like a stretched goal of 2000 people registered for the event.
In 2022, there were a little bit over 1600 people who had registered. This year, we weren’t sure if that 2000 was going to happen. It felt like a big stretch, but we ended up with 2,158 people who attended WordPress Accessibility Day from 70 different countries.
We were able to donate $2,500 to Knowbility, which is a nonprofit that’s located near Chris and me down here in Austin, that focuses on web accessibility.
So I just feel like, in general this year, I have seen so much improved traction on awareness and people being willing to speak up and talk about accessibility, and I’m seeing it happen in a lot of WordPress and even non-WordPress events, where even if there’s only one talk, but previously they never had any talks, and now they’re realizing, “Hey, we need to have someone come and speak about accessibility,” and I think that’s really awesome.
>> STEVE: Yes. I would add on to that, like, being thankful for the community, and like you stated, the traction. I think even year over year, I’ve seen such a shift year over year, where we would go to a conference and talk about accessibility, and it’s kind of like this small thing. Now it feels like it’s coming to the forefront, and the awareness of it is becoming huge, and it’s no longer just a little thing tagged on at the end of a project, right? It’s becoming a core requirement of a lot of people’s projects.
So, yes, so thankful for the community, and I think all the work that everybody in the accessibility field is doing is making a difference.
>> AMBER: Yes, so 6.4 came out not too long ago at the beginning of November, and we’ll have to put a link in the show notes to all the accessibility fixes that were made in WordPress 6.4.
>> STEVE: 6.3 came out? 6.4.
>> AMBER: 6 .4, November 6th. It has not come out yet. I’m talking in the future because I like to [crosstalk ].
STEVE: Oh, yes, sorry.
>> AMBER: Steve’s, like, “No, it’s not. What are you talking about?”
>> STEVE: I spoiled it. [laughs] Spoiled it.
>> AMBER: It’s all good.
>> STEVE: This is Steve from the past speaking.
>> AMBER: Well, we’ll have to put a link, but the other thing I’ll say on that is, so if you look at the list, there’s a bunch of people who contribute. I mean, I’m excited. I don’t know if you wanted me to say it or not, but 6.4 has a patch that Steve submitted, which we previously talked about in another episode, but that’s really neat, I think.
STEVE: Yes. I always welcome the pat on the back, you know?
I always welcome putting the focus on me, you know?
>> AMBER: But I think, too, Joe Dolson does a ton. Alex Stein does a ton, and both of them, this year, were able to start getting funding.
I’ll shout out GoDaddy because GoDaddy pays for Joe’s contribution time. Up until like for the past 10 years, he’s been a volunteer, and they recognize that what he’s doing is important and they wanted to step up and pay him to contribute to WordPress, which makes it a lot easier for him to contribute more, and I think it’s really cool when companies do that, and I think it really helps move the project forward.
>> STEVE: Yes, and both of those guys were instrumental in helping me get up to speed with contributing to Core with this latest release. Joe reviewed my patch, so I’m thankful for those guys, too, in many ways.
>> AMBER: So should we talk a little bit about our audit history add-on that we will have released? Or we can say we recently released, [laughter] depending on whether we’re talking as current or future selves.
STEVE: Yes, yes, yes.
>> AMBER: So tell us about that, Steve.
>> STEVE: Well, we’ve put together an add-on for the Accessibility Checker Pro Plugin that allows you to track your audit history over time, and in recent updates, we updated full-site summary, so basically, before, you had your summary on your post, or you could see a summary of the accessibility of that particular post we released, and this was around August, I think. We released an update where you have full-site audit history in the pro plugin, so you can kind of get a snapshot of where your whole website is as a whole, and now we’re creating an add-on that will track that over time.
So basically it’s a snapshot of the full-site stats every 24 hours, and it has a table where you can read URL count, past test, errors, contrast errors, warnings, et cetera, and the amount of change from scan to scan. We have a nice graph on there where you can track the percentage past in the issue count. There’s filters to filter out by date ranges, and there’s a CSV export.
So I think this was born out of a lot of conversations that Chris and Amber had with clients, so this was kind of a client-driven feature.
Chris, do you want to speak to that, the feedback that you got from some clients?
>> CHRIS: Yes. I think particularly the larger organizations and also the agencies, like government, higher education, large, or mid-sized agency, they want the ability to show or prove that they are making progress. They need to show a trend line, and this could be for numerous reasons.
On the agency side, they want to be able to show their customers a steadily declining list of issues, thereby implying that they’re finding and fixing problems, and making progress over time. Or if they’re already at 99% compliance, that it’s staying flat, that we don’t have an increase in issue count, right? Or a decrease in percentage of past checks, however you want that reflected.
On the government or Higher Ed side or organizations that are receiving some sort of public funds, they really wanted to be able to show that they’re monitoring this for compliance reasons.
So if you think about an organization that gets pulled into something with Office of Civil Rights, or they get a formal complaint from a law firm or something like that, or they’re just reporting to stakeholders as part of a general compliance or risk management report, the ability to show, “Hey we’re watching this.” “Hey, we’ve got all this history we can show that we’re keeping an eye on our accessibility, that we’re maintaining standards based on these automated checks.” That is something that, with our software, was not available to them previously, so it’s a nice extension, because it just builds on the value of Accessibility Checker already being right there and kind of in your face inside the CMS versus being an offsite tool.
Obviously, there are offsite tools that offer this kind of thing, but they’re not present right in the CMS, so we’re kind of taking and trying to create a best of both worlds scenario with this.
>> STEVE: Yes, totally, so Amber, existing customers of certain levels will get immediate access to this add-on where they can go to the dashboard on the “My.EqualizeDigital.com” site and they can download the add-on? And what levels is this going to be available for?
AMBER: Yes, so it’s included at no extra cost when you purchase a small business or an agency plan, so that’s a five or 25 plan, or anyone who has a custom enterprise plan with us is also just going to get it.
We’re not currently offering the audit history at the pro level. “Professional,” I think is what it says, where there’s just one site, but maybe that’s a reason to upgrade.
I will also say that this week, the 20th through the end of November on November 30th, we are having our Black Friday sale, because you know all of us WordPress companies, we do Black Friday for more than just one day, so It’s 40 percent off right now, so maybe a good reason to upgrade and get that audit history.
Although, if you already have a license, it’s available in your dashboard, and you can just go log in and download it for free. Cost you nothing.
I’m really excited. I’m thankful for you, Steve and Matt, our developer on our team who worked to build this add-on and make it a reality, because I know sometimes Chris and I come and we’re all, like, “Hey, the plugin should do this.” [laughs] And it’s, like, “Oh, man, you know how hard that is?”
>> STEVE: Yes. [laughs]
>> AMBER: So I definitely appreciate that, and on the tone of gratitude, I’m thankful for all of our customers who have purchased the plugin, and who give us feedback, and who tell us ways that we can make it better, because we are constantly striving to do that, but without feedback, it can be more challenging, so we really appreciate everyone’s support, both that you’re willing to invest in our product, and also that you’re willing to give us feedback and give us ideas that we can continue to build into it.
>> CHRIS: Absolutely. Absolutely. Got to echo that gratitude for all of our customers, whether they’re just using the free version of the software and they’re recommending it and posting a positive review about it. We’re super grateful for that, because that gets the word out to our paying customers whose financial support directly impacts our ability to improve and extend this product, so whether you’re a one side, a five side, a 25 side, there are improvements for you coming down the pipeline, and it’s because of your investment that we’re able to do that and that we’re able to make this product better, so huge, huge amount of gratitude for all of our customers.
>> AMBER: Yes, and I think it’s probably worth leaving there, because we’re going to have a short episode this week, let everybody, hopefully in the US, spend lots of time with their family. Everyone outside the US maybe gets things to slow down a little bit if you do business in the US, but otherwise, we just want to say thanks to everyone.
If you’re feeling brave, you can go order yourself a Jones Turkey and Gravy Soda. Not saying we recommend it.
>> STEVE: Just drink some chicken broth. It would be better.
>> AMBER: It would be better, [laughter] to get yourself some warmth.
You know, that’s actually a question. We didn’t talk about that, but we have a soda stream. Chris, can you put broth in that, and make yourself carbonated?
>> STEVE: Ruin your soda stream.
>> CHRIS: Yes.
That would be a single-use soda stream at that point.
>> AMBER: OK, maybe not. Yes. As the vegetarian in the group, I’m not actually sad that it’s not possible to make meat pop, because I don’t really think we need meat pop.
>> STEVE: Yes, yes.
>> CHRIS: Yes.
>> AMBER: But whatever you are drinking, I hope that you enjoy your Thanksgiving or your non-Thanksgiving this week. Cheers.
>> STEVE: Cheers.
>> CHRIS: Cheers to that.
STEVE: Happy Thanksgiving.
>> CHRIS: I will not be holding up my soda though. I’ve got my hibiscus tea to wash that flavor away.
>> STEVE: I’ve got my diet coke.
>> CHRIS: Yes. All right. Bye everybody. Happy Thanksgiving if you celebrate. We will catch you on the other side of this lovely holiday.
>> SPEAKER 1: Thanks for listening to “Accessibility Craft.” If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe in your podcast app to get notified when future episodes release. You can find “Accessibility Craft” on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and more, and if building accessibility awareness is important to you, please consider rating “Accessibility Craft” five stars on Apple Podcasts.
“Accessibility Craft” is produced by Equalize Digital, and hosted by Amber Hinds, Chris Hinds, and Steve Jones.
Steve Jones composed our theme music.
Learn how we help make thousands of WordPress websites more accessible at “EqualizeDigital.com.”