070: See you at WordCamp EU!, Community Beer Co. Strawberry Shortcake


In this episode, we share how to find and engage with us at WordCamp EU 2024, the importance of including new voices as we build accessibility awareness globally, and what we’re most looking forward to experiencing in Italy. Equalize Digital is a small business sponsor for WordCamp EU 2024.

Mentioned in This Episode


>> CHRIS HINDS: Welcome to Episode 70 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 share how to find and engage with us at WordCamp EU 2024, the importance of including new voices as we build accessibility awareness globally, and what we’re most looking forward to experiencing in Italy. Equalize Digital is a small business sponsor for WordCamp EU 2024. For show notes and a full transcript, go to accessibilitycraft.com/070.

Now, on to the show.

>> AMBER HINDS: Hey, everybody. It’s Amber, and I’m here today with Chris.

>> CHRIS: Hello, everyone.

>> AMBER: Steve.

>> STEVE JONES: Hey, everybody.

>> AMBER: It is WordCamp EU week. Not really, but it will be when you’re listening to this.

>> STEVE: In the future.

>> AMBER: In the future. This episode is going to be all about WordCamp EU, which you might have known from Chris’s canned intro that probably already told you that. We’re going to be talking about it, and we’re going to have a beverage.

>> CHRIS: I’m excited. By the way, those intros aren’t canned. I record them for every single episode, even the part that I say the same thing every time. I can almost say the first part without reading it now, now that I’ve done it like almost 70 times.

>> STEVE: Speaking of canned, right?

>> CHRIS: Yes, speaking of canned. Very good segue.

>> AMBER: Wait. Is bottled beer necessarily better than canned beer?

>> CHRIS: I don’t think so.

>> AMBER: There’s zero difference?

>> STEVE: Yes.

>> CHRIS: I don’t think there’s a big difference.

>> STEVE: Maybe it’s the experience. Maybe you feel more fancy drinking from glass than from aluminum. I don’t know.

>> AMBER: You mean, you aren’t going to feel fancy, Steve, drinking from this beautiful beer we have that looks like it’s made for children? [chuckles]

>> STEVE: Yes, I know.

>> AMBER: It’s actually horrible when I say that.

>> STEVE: Do you know how hard this was to keep away from the kids?

>> AMBER: Chris-

>> CHRIS: My favorite dessert, by the way.

>> AMBER: [inaudible] describe it. What is it?

>> CHRIS: It is a golden ale. It’s brewed by Community Beer Co., which is a Texas brewery.

>> AMBER: In Dallas.

>> CHRIS: Five and a half percent alcohol by volume. Beyond that, I honestly don’t know a whole lot about this beer. It jumped out to you on the shelves, Amber, I think, when you were walking through one of our local grocery stores because here in Texas, we have beer here in the grocery stores and wine.

>> AMBER: I guess. Okay, here’s why it jumped out at me. First of all, the can is largely pink. It’s called Strawberry Shortcake Ale. It has a very nicely illustrated strawberry shortcake with what looks like a bunch of whipped cream and a strawberry sitting on top of it in the middle, and then all around that, there’s little tiny strawberries that are just in a diamond-y pattern with white polka dots. It’s so cute.

>> STEVE: It’s very girly. [laughs]

>> AMBER: It’s very girly. I like girly things. I’m not going to lie. Purple and pink are my favorite. If you go look at my personal blog, you might be able to guess that.


>> CHRIS: I will say I appreciate that it says, “Cheers, y’all,” at the top.

>> AMBER: That’s how you know it’s a Texas beer. They pretty much all say, “y’all,” on them. Maybe beers from Alabama say that, too.


>> STEVE: Amber and Chris, since they’ve moved to Texas, or Chris, back, the, “y’all,” meter has gone up. [laughs]

>> AMBER: I didn’t used to say it at all, because I did not grow up here, but I do say it a bit more now. All right, so it says it’s golden ale with real strawberries and vanilla beans. I really want to taste this, and I want to see if it tastes like a strawberry shortcake. I think it’s going to be good. I want to know what you guys think before you open it. Is it going to be good or horrible?

>> STEVE: It sounds horrible. [laughs]

>> CHRIS: All right, while y’all open that, I’ll get the pour here in my trusty Accessibility Craft Podcast-

>> AMBER: That’s so you can see what color it is. Is it going to be pinkish?

>> CHRIS: It does have a reddish-pinkish hue.

>> AMBER: Oh, it smells kind of strawberry-y.

>> CHRIS: What’s interesting, I’m noticing already, is that the head is not very creamy or pronounced.

>> AMBER: Oh, yes.

>> CHRIS: It’s already gone.

>> AMBER: It went away. You’re holding it way too low. You’ve got to hold it higher, Chris. Yes, it’s already gone. This is the same color that that Prickly Pear Seltzer was, was a pinkish color like that.

>> STEVE: A little lighter.

>> AMBER: I haven’t tasted it yet, but I think it smells really good. I don’t know.

>> CHRIS: [inaudible] definitely getting strawberry on the nose.

>> STEVE: I’ve got to get real close to it. I’ve got to sniff it real hard. [laughs]

>> AMBER: Oh, man. It has a strawberry flavor.

>> STEVE: [laughs] Chris almost [inaudible]

>> AMBER: He’s swishing it around.

>> CHRIS: I almost [inaudible] on my monitor.


>> AMBER: What do you think, Chris?

>> STEVE: Tastes like beer.

>> CHRIS: Yes. I agree. It does. I don’t know. It leans more towards the light beer side of the spectrum, like a Bud Light or a Coors or something like that.

>> AMBER: Really?

>> CHRIS: Yes. It has that kind of skunky lower quality beer taste. I’m not getting a lot of complexity. It’s very flat, not bubbly flat, but just flat on the flavor. That’s definitely in the meh category for me, which I know is a really technical rating.

>> AMBER: Meh.

>> STEVE: Tastes like my grandpa’s beer. [laughs]

>> AMBER: I don’t know. You’re a little bit meaner to it than I am, but I would not describe it as skunky. I think it tastes better than a really, really cheap beer. What I will say is, I don’t know if I’m buying the real strawberries, because it even leaves like a strawberry aftertaste. It’s got to have artificial flavor. It’s too strong, I think, the strawberry to be real.

I don’t buy that it’s real, but maybe it is. I don’t know. Definitely, it’s strawberry-y.

>> STEVE: Are you getting strawberry?

>> AMBER: Yes.

>> CHRIS: I think what it is for me is-

>> AMBER: I might get the vanilla.

>> CHRIS: -it’s light bodied. It’s flat in terms of flavor, one note. There’s not a lot of complexity there.

>> AMBER: I get strawberry and vanilla, [inaudible]

>> CHRIS: It’s acceptable. It’s not bad like I don’t want to take another sip, but it’s definitely just in the meh category for me. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it in terms of smell or taste.

>> AMBER: You also wouldn’t buy it again?

>> CHRIS: No. I don’t think I would, not even for the novelty factor of the can.

>> STEVE: It’s like you go somewhere, and you see it sitting there at a bar, and you’re like, “Oh, I’ll try that.” Then you open it, and you’re like, “Great. Now I have to stand here and drink the whole thing.”


>> AMBER: You don’t have to. You can always set a drink down and be like, “Never mind.”

>> STEVE: I know.

>> AMBER: We’re not in college anymore. We’re not poor. We’re just like, “No, this isn’t worth drinking.”

>> CHRIS: It’s not so horrible that Steve’s putting it down and immediately going for his Diet Coke. That’s how I know something’s bad.

>> AMBER: You don’t have to rinse your mouth out, so that’s good.

>> STEVE: Yes, it’s the kind of beer that I can tolerate. It’s super light and sweeter.

>> AMBER: Well, it’s not bitter at all. The darker beers that I like to drink typically are pretty bitter, and this definitely doesn’t have that. I pulled up his website because I was curious, and they said it’s brewed using a unique malt fill to emphasize bready and biscuity flavors, followed by a trip through our hop gun, I have no idea what that means-

>> STEVE: A hop gun.

>> AMBER: -for spicing with vanilla and an infusion of strawberry. Clean, crisp, and mild with minimal hops to showcase the dessert character. This is a memorable dessert craft beer experience. Do you think they’re thinking that you would actually have this beer with dessert?

>> CHRIS: I feel like if I had this with something fatty like heavy cream, I would lose the beer completely.

>> AMBER: It would overpower it?

>> CHRIS: I don’t feel like this has enough acidity and body to compete with a whipped cream. Even though the whipped cream’s cut obviously with a lot of air, I don’t know, and shortbread’s super buttery, so there’s just a lot of heaviness there, I would not pair this with something heavy. Maybe if I were just having it with a literal bowl of strawberries, that might work.

>> AMBER: A bowl of strawberries is not dessert. That’s just food. You wouldn’t have strawberry shortcake with your strawberry shortcake beer?

>> CHRIS: Maybe I’m wrong. I wonder too, as I taste more and more different beers and get outside of what I would normally buy, which is almost nothing ever because neither Amber or I or Steve are big drinkers. This podcast is pretty much where we taste things, I think. As I taste more on the beer side, I don’t know really that this is a bad beer. It may just be a personal taste thing. There’s probably people out there that would love this beer because it’s more basic and light bodied and doesn’t have a lot going on, whereas the beers I like the most are the ones that are the Belgians where they’re fermented twice and then again in the bottle, they’re heavier and more complex and more to think about.

>> AMBER: They say that it pairs well with silky chocolate mousse cake. You don’t think so? You think that would be too heavy?

>> CHRIS: Let’s go get some silky chocolate mousse cake. We should do that for science.

>> AMBER: The moment you have chocolate mousse cake, everything tastes better.

>> STEVE: It’s for science.

>> AMBER: It’s for science, yes. I know. I still think that Chris needs to start sending us food pairings to go with our beverages. We could just have a meal during this podcast.

>> CHRIS: If you want to start seeing food and beverage pairings on the podcast, I was just going to say we need a few hundred more people to go buy Accessibility Checker and that’ll fund that effort. No, in all seriousness, that would be fun to occasionally do a beverage food combo. Maybe we can work that into 2025’s marketing budget, Amber.

>> AMBER: I’ll tell you what. We’re going to sponsor an event one of these days where we’re going to have– Of course, the only reason why we’re selling this plugin is to fund our cool, fun Accessibility Craft Podcast.

>> STEVE: Yes, that’s the only reason.

>> CHRIS: No other reason.

>> AMBER: We’ll invite all our listeners and you will do a beverage and food pairing. Everybody go buy the plugin. Speaking of sponsoring events, this week we’re going to WordCamp Europe for the first time. I’m so excited.

>> CHRIS: Yay.

>> STEVE: Yay. [laughs]

>> AMBER: Steve is not so excited. Oh, come on, Steve. You’re not excited?

>> STEVE: Oh, I’m excited. I’m totally excited. I’m nervous/excited. The travel has got me nervous.

>> CHRIS: My excitement is tempered with the 16-hour international flight over an ocean, but I am excited. I’m really, really excited to be among the– what I feel like is the other third of WordPress itself that we pretty much never see except through the internet, the other segment of the community, and also, obviously, really excited to go to Europe for the first time in my life and excited to be in Italy. That’s a pretty solid spot to land for a first trip to Europe.

>> STEVE: Yes. Same here.

>> AMBER: I’ve been to Italy for lunch one day. [laughs]

>> STEVE: For lunch? [chuckles]

>> AMBER: No, for real.

>> CHRIS: You’re making yourself sound like one of those billionaires that’s like, “I’m craving pasta. I’m going to get on my private jet and go to Italy.”

>> AMBER: When I was in college, I went to France with my French class for a month and we were in Antibes, which is on the Mediterranean in South France. You can ride the train everywhere. One day we rode the train to Italy, ate lunch. I bought a pair of shoes, which I still have. Maybe I’ll take them back, take them there. They have really high heels though. I don’t really wear high heels anymore. Then we rode the train back to France. It was kind of fun. You can’t do stuff like that here. It’s too big. It takes us a whole day just to leave Texas.

On the note of what we’re looking forward to, I too, I’m also really interested to get to meet– Of course, we have some friends from the WordPress community who live in Europe who will be there. Of course, our investors, Joost and Marieke with Emilia Capital will be there. We have some friends in the accessibility community. Ryan Rettfeldt will be there. Anne [inaudible]. Some different people. Stefano, I think I saw, is speaking. It’s cool to get to meet them in person, but I’m also really interested to just go to sessions and hear how people are talking about WordPress outside of the States and see, “Is it different?” I don’t know.

>> CHRIS: I do feel like there’s usually a lot of optimism that swirls around WordCamps in general, whereas I’ve noticed of late, not to drive us down any tangents or any rabbit holes, that in the Twitter sphere, at least, a lot of the conversations around WordPress, at least in my feed, have been skewing a little more negative vis-a-vis, being secure and enterprise-ready and, is the growth trend flattening? Et cetera.

I’ll be interested to see if any of that broader WordPress-as-a-platform conversation ends up being reflected at this WordCamp or if it’s not there at all and everyone’s just talking about how great WordPress is and nothing is wrong. There’s nothing bad happening ever, which is usually where WordCamps end up, which I think makes sense as a flagship event of an entire platform that’s controlled to an extent by the organization that holds the keys to the platform in a sense, even though it’s open source.

>> AMBER: I don’t know. It will be interesting to see how the conversation is different. It’s also hard too, sometimes at the bigger events because they attract so many people, but they’re typically the professionals first, the meetups or even a local WordCamp might attract more just typical users through business owners that happen to have a WordPress website, but don’t work in WordPress as their job. I do think there’s just, in general, a different vibe at these flagship large events anyway.

>> STEVE: I think especially too, since the local ones are less and less, it seems like it’s consolidated to some of the bigger ones.

>> AMBER: I know here in the States that they really have not had much luck with local WordCamps returning. I know I saw WordCamp Phoenix, one of the organizers who’s been the lead organizer for a really long time, wasn’t super happy with how it turned out this year. I don’t know if that’s the same in Europe or if Europe has had a bigger rebound. I don’t know if either of you have heard.

>> STEVE: I don’t know. I know here in Ohio, ours haven’t really come back. We used to have pretty decent ones in Cincinnati and Dayton and Columbus. I don’t think we’ve had those since COVID.

>> AMBER: Well, let’s talk about what’s on the schedule for this on the accessibility front, because there are four accessibility sessions that you can go to. I would love to encourage everyone to go to these because I know I’m going to go to them, but I think it’d be good if we can pass the accessibility roads.

>> STEVE: Is there one in particular that we know somebody that’s speaking at?


>> AMBER: Well. I’m giving a accessibility testing workshop, which is actually, bring your computer and I’m going to have you do things. It’s interactive. It’s not just, sit there and let me show you things on a slide deck. It’s only 45 minutes long. The last time I gave an accessibility workshop was at WD Campus and they gave me four hours.

>> CHRIS: Amber, just to make sure our audience is clear, by the time they leave this 45-minute session, they are going to have an equivalent level of expertise to you, right?

>> STEVE: Yes.

>> AMBER: I’m going to do my absolute very best.

>> STEVE: Take it from me, Amber can put you to work quite well in 45 minutes. [chuckles]

>> CHRIS: You’ll definitely learn stuff.

>> AMBER: That is 9:15 on June 15th.

>> CHRIS: I was going to ask you, Amber, what are some of the things people can expect to take away? At a high level, what are you hoping to get people to do?

>> AMBER: The biggest thing with my goal whenever I propose an accessibility testing workshop is, I always write this in the description, you don’t have to be a developer. I really want people to just know that there are things they can do without being technical that can help them identify accessibility problems that need to be fixed. Now, can they always fix them if they’re not a developer? No, maybe not, but it can give them a list to go back to their developer or to go find a developer with to get them to fix and know how to actually assess their website.

We’re going to talk about a couple of tools, a browser tool, Accessibility Checker.

>> STEVE: That’s a good one.

>> AMBER: We’re going to do some keyboard testing, and then we’re also going to have the opportunity to turn on a screen reader because that is a big goal that I have is I want people to know how to turn on a screen reader, how to do the basic– No one’s going to be an expert screen reader user, but there are basic keyboard commands that anyone can do to be able to test things. I just want to make that not be scary. I think sometimes it can be scary. At least I know it was for me the first time I turned it on and it started talking to me, and I’m like, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to make it stop.” It’s very overwhelming.

My bottom line goal on this is I’m trying to make it not overwhelming for everyone, any human being, it does not matter your skill level or where your expertise lies.

>> CHRIS: To that end, I was just going to comment that I was editing Jen Harris’s talk that she did on quick accessibility audits today before this recording. I end up listening to chunks of meetups through doing that. One thing that she said that I thought was a particularly salient point is that actually, if you think about it, most everyday screen reader users are not going to be expert level screen reader testers or users.

When you’re starting to use a screen reader, and this is something that I need to internalize as someone who very infrequently turns them on, but it’s actually useful and helpful for even someone who is a total beginner to do it, and that you should not be afraid of it. Shout out to Jen, and I’m glad that screen readers will be a part of your thing. What were you going to say, Steve?

>> STEVE: I was just going to mention that if you’re looking at the schedule or as they’re calling, the program, and you look at 9:15 on June 15th, the workshops actually are on a separate page. They don’t have them listed out on that. It just says, “See dedicated page for information.” You have to jump over to the workshop page to see details on each one of those.

>> AMBER: You do have to pre-register for the workshops.

>> STEVE: Oh, you do?

>> AMBER: That’s what it says.

>> STEVE: When does that start?

>> AMBER: I think it started already by the time this airs. It might have started already right now as we’re recording this a couple weeks in advance.

>> STEVE: They must have sent out an email or something.

>> AMBER: I don’t know. It does say that on the main workshops landing page that they want you to pre-register. I’m not totally sure why. Do they have enough tables [inaudible]

>> CHRIS: Maybe a limited capacity issue or something.

>> AMBER: You guys might be standing in our booth, which we’re going to talk about in just a little bit, but let’s talk about some of the other things that are on the schedule. Elena and Kiara are going to talk about digital and linguistic accessibility techniques for deaf people. I think that’s pretty neat, talking about different levels of hearing, different levels of language knowledge, use of sign language. Probably captions are going to be covered in this. You don’t frequently see a lot of accessibility for people who are deaf or hard of hearing outside of, have captions or have transcripts. It’ll be interesting to see if they have more advice on this for website owners.

>> CHRIS: This one seems really exciting, and it makes me think of something, Amber, that you just shared with me recently, that you and Steve both learned on a call that one of our customers, longtime customers, actually has hearing difficulties that we were never aware of, and this guy runs consultancies and a massive publishing company and multiple things. The idea, I think it was said in this talk description, that there’s a misconception that deaf people are ignorant, but it’s actually due to a lack of accessibility to culture and information that people think that, and it’s a bias.

It’s interesting to just point out that even one of our own customers, and we had no clue until two days ago, and we worked with him for years. Again, this guy runs multiple companies.

>> AMBER: We worked with him for five years, and he mentioned that he was going to have surgery, and he was hoping that he would have full hearing for the first time in his life. You never know what sort of situations people are in and what they might be relying on as far as assistive technologies or lip reading or just all sorts of different things. I think that’s why we talk a lot about how important it is to just have everything be accessible as a baseline because you don’t want to force people to have to ask you to support them.

>> CHRIS: All right. This next one on the list, I really hope is a packed room considering where WCEU is taking place, but the European Accessibility Act Explained. I’m excited for this one, and I hope it’ll catalyze a lot of organizations to start taking action and to start adjusting their practices and hope that it’ll lead to positive outcomes.

>> AMBER: Rian Rietveld is giving this one, and, of course, she is a very well-known accessibility expert in the EU. I’m sure she actually came on WP Product Podcast, and we talked a little bit about the European Accessibility Act. We can link that in the show notes. We had someone else, but at our meetup, talk about it. Anyone who’s not coming to this, they’re not going to be at WordCamp at EU, but they want to know about that, we could probably throw a link to the European Accessibility Act meetup presentation because we have that recording available as well. It’s really timely. Those laws are going to be in effect starting June 2025, so, you’ve got a year.

>> CHRIS: Then this last one, accessible presentations for WordCamps and meetups, which is presented by Stefano. Amber, didn’t Stefano present at our meetup at one point?

>> AMBER: Oh, my gosh, yes. He gave a talk. I was blown away by, first of all, how incredibly smart he is, but also talking about technical things. I know, Steve, you’ve previously told me you wish there were more technical talks and things like that. This specific one isn’t, but at our meetup, he talked about the mathematical formula that you use to measure fonts. I don’t even know. I was like, “I didn’t realize developers did that much math.” It was intense. [chuckles]

That was one of the ones where I was like, “I have to watch this twice to totally understand everything he was saying.

>> STEVE: Right. That’d be a good one to go to.

>> AMBER: This one is talking about presenting, which I think is great, because all the time, I think there are presenters who just don’t think about the fact that people might not be able to see your slides.

>> STEVE: Right. That’s a hard one.

>> AMBER: I know you did a lot on that, Steve, when you were presenting, because you gave a talk last year at WordCamp US, and you even had code.

>> STEVE: Yes, totally. I tried to read out, speak as much of the code as I could to give an understanding of it. I will say, even at that there was one time I’m giving the talk, and I mentioned the URL or something. I didn’t read out the URL.

>> AMBER: Oh, you said, “It’s on the slide.”

>> STEVE: Yes, I said, “URL’s on the slide.” I didn’t speak it out. I started to go on, and then there’s Amber in the front row, like, “Say the URL.” [laughs] There’s Amber keeping me accountable as well.

>> AMBER: Even at our GAAD event, we had a panel discussion, and there was someone on the panel who I had to prompt. They had put a URL on their slide, and I was like, “Oh, can you tell us what that URL is?” It’s hard. We’re all taught, I think, generally, just make slides. I think, in high school or college or whatever, they’d be like, “Don’t read what’s on your slides, they’re supplemental,” except for the thought of, if people can’t see them, you actually do need to make sure all of the words that are on the slide are verbalized, too.

I don’t know. This should be interesting. I’d imagine he might talk about things like color contrast or if you’re preparing PDFs of your slides, make sure they have alt text.

>> STEVE: That was a hard thing with that speech I gave was that I created it in SlidesJS, a npm package where you could roll up these JavaScript slides and stuff. I wanted the font size to be bigger, but it kept wrapping. I was like, “I can’t fit all this on one page, but it needs to be legible.” Especially the size of room, you don’t even consider that sometimes when you’re making slides. The size of the room that we were in was massive. If you’re sitting just halfway back-

>> AMBER: 50 rows back.

>> STEVE: – it would have been difficult to see the text.

>> AMBER: It’ll be interesting to see what Stefano has to say about that. Everyone who’s listening, please go support all these speakers, not just mine. Go to all the other sessions about accessibility. I think it’s really important. I also think it helps the organizers, too, to see, “Oh, a lot of people are going to these accessibility sessions,” and then they’re like, “There’s interest in this. We will want to make sure we have more accessibility talks next year,” those sorts of things.

>> STEVE: Cool. There’s more, though. We’re not just speaking. What else are we doing?

>> AMBER: We’re going to have a booth.

>> STEVE: We’re sponsoring.

>> AMBER: You can find us in, I think they’re calling it Small Business Alley.

>> STEVE: There you go.

>> AMBER: The cattle pen.

>> STEVE: Is that spelled A-11-Y?

>> AMBER: No.

>> CHRIS: I was appreciative that the Small Business Alleyway was on the way into the main exhibitor hall and not at the back of the exhibitor hall behind a door. Shout out to the WCEU organizers for making sure that smaller sponsors have visibility, too. We appreciate that, and I’m sure all the other ones do.

>> AMBER: On your way to grab your remote control cars and Yeti water bottles and really, really-

>> CHRIS: Your Xboxes.

>> AMBER: -expensive swag, we will be there handing you stuff.

>> STEVE: Yes, that’s right.

>> AMBER: Beer koozies.

>> STEVE: Beer koozies? Strawberry shortcake beer koozies?

>> AMBER: You can put it on soda can coolers. I don’t know if they call them koozies in the EU. They’re the foam things that go on a can, but I was looking at swag, and we’re going to have some with our alligator mascot on them. That’ll be fun.

>> CHRIS: Yes, that will be fun. There’s actually more that you can get at our booth besides swag. There’s another thing that we’re doing that even potentially, if you go to our website now, there will hopefully be a mechanism in place for you to sign up, and we’re going to send emails about it. Amber, Steve, do you want to tell us what y’all will be doing for people during the event?

>> AMBER: Yes. We’re going to do free micro-audits. They’re 15, 20-minute meetings with either me or Steve, and we will look at any webpage you want and help you figure out how to fix it. We did these at WordCamp US. I think they went pretty well. I don’t know if you have any takeaways from the ones that you did at WordCamp US or what people might be able to look forward to if they register for one of those.

>> STEVE: No, I thought it was extremely helpful for all the people that registered. I found it fun. Sometimes at these events it’s hard to make connections with people. You have small talk and stuff in passing. We lucked out that we had– there were tables behind our booth. It’s like, you get a few minutes to sit down with somebody, get to know them real quick and their website and some of the struggles that they’re having and some of their concerns. They’re obviously aware of accessibility and they’re obviously aware that they probably need improvements. I found it a pleasure. I thought it was beneficial for us and for them.

>> AMBER: Actually, I really enjoy looking at stuff and then trying to figure out, “Well, why was it like that? How would I fix it?” It’s like a puzzle. I don’t know.

>> STEVE: It’s hard to keep it within the 15 minutes because you start talking. [chuckles]

>> AMBER: The way we schedule these is, even though there’s two of us, you can only book one in any time slot. We don’t do two. That way there’s buffer. If Steve and I alternate, if we need to go 30 minutes with someone, we can, and we won’t have someone else waiting. It is hard to do short. We’ll be doing that, which is super fun.

I got Braille Legos, which you may have seen on our social media that we’re going to give away. We have a couple of boxes of those with the English alphabet. I did debate because when I went to order them, they also had a Spanish alphabet and a French alphabet. I was like, “Should I get some of those too?” Then I worried that I was going to have to try and match people with the language during the giveaway, so I ended up just getting English. If they go over as a hit, maybe next year we’ll show up at WordCamp EU with Spanish and French also.

>> STEVE: That’s pretty cool. I don’t remember if we agreed to this, but are we going to open one and have it available to play with or not?

>> AMBER: I think we might. I was debating because I was like, once we open it, we’re probably not going to give it away. It’s like, do we want to give away four or three? Because I bought four boxes. They’re not exactly cheap.

>> STEVE: I say it selfishly because I just want to play with Legos. [laughs]

>> AMBER: You just want to play with Legos. We definitely might open some if you want to come by and feel them and see what they’re about and have fun writing words in Braille. Of course, we’re going to be next door to our friends at the A11Y Collective who does a lot of– They have education and courses and that kind of stuff. We’re teaming up with them on a flyer, which is kind of fun. I’m excited about that also to be next door to people that we’ve met virtually but never in person.

>> CHRIS: There’s a little accessibility row of two booths in a row, which will be fun.

>> STEVE: It’s Small Business Alley, A11Y.

>> CHRIS: Yes, there you go.

>> STEVE: Speaking on accessibility, we’re going to run a discount on our Accessibility Checker plugin. Is that correct?

>> AMBER: Yes. There’s going to be a 20% discount for WordCamp EU attendees. That’s another reason to pop by. There’s going to be a QR code on our booth. You can scan that with your phone and that will give you the opportunity to enter to win the LEGOs, get access to the 20% discount for Accessibility Checker, a bunch of that kind of stuff. It’ll be fun.

>> CHRIS: We’ll have visualizations of Accessibility Checker in action hopefully at the booth. I think they’re supplying us with a screen. Then during the times that I’m at the booth at least, if there are people who swing by who want a quick demo of the software, I’ll be able to provide that or set up a time to give a private demonstration depending on level of interest and what you’re looking to do.

I will be running around the event probably like a mad person because I’m starting to work on scheduling a bunch of meetings with a bunch of different partners right now. Shout out to many of those folks who might be listening to this. I’m super excited to see some of you in person for the first time, which will be really fun.

>> AMBER: We totally forgot what else or who else is going to be at our booth, which is kind of fun. We have an honorary team member coming.

>> STEVE: Honorary team member. We’re going to make this a double date, right?

>> AMBER: Yes.


>> AMBER: Steve’s wife is coming to WordCamp EU.

>> STEVE: My wife will be there working the booth with us.

>> AMBER: Has she ever been to a WordCamp, Steve?

>> STEVE: She has not been to a WordCamp, but she’s heard a lot about them. She has picked up the slack here at home while I’m away at those.

>> AMBER: She gets to enjoy coming to Italy.

>> STEVE: That’s right. We can’t just have one Equalized Digital married couple. We’ve got to have two. We’re going to have the Equalized Digital double date in Europe.

>> AMBER: We’ll all have matching polos. It’ll be so cute.

>> STEVE: It’ll be the cutest thing you ever saw. [laughs] We’ll be drinking strawberry beers together. It’ll be so cute.


>> AMBER: Probably we’ll be drinking wine, actually.

>> STEVE: That sounds more European.

>> AMBER: We had a WordPress Accessibility Day organizer meeting this morning before we recorded this podcast. I was talking to them about our booth and some of our swag. They were like, “Well, it’s Europe. You should just have bottles of wine.” I was like, “I don’t know if I’d be allowed to come back to a WordCamp if I was handing out–” I don’t know. Maybe. [chuckles]

>> CHRIS: Would someone buy a bottle of custom blended wine that has Allie the Alligator on it as the central thing? I don’t know. Maybe.

>> AMBER: Well, Whiskey Web and Whatnot has that podcast.

>> STEVE: The octopus?

>> AMBER: Whiskey Web and Whatnot. Have you heard of that podcast, Steve?

>> STEVE: Yes, but isn’t it a little octopus-like character?

>> AMBER: Yes. They have a little octopus mascot, which is cute, because their agency is called Ship Shape or something like that. He’s floating in a ring. They actually bought– I’m going to butcher the technical thing because I don’t know. I’m going to call it the wrong thing, and people who know about whiskey are going to laugh at me. They bought a barrel or something of whiskey and got it bottled from a really well-known– They probably made a lot of money. It has their label for them because it was labeled for them. It was really cute. I don’t know. Maybe someday we can white-label someone else’s beer.

>> STEVE: There you go. [laughs]

>> CHRIS: That would be pretty awesome.

>> AMBER: We have never done wine on this podcast, so I don’t think we’re going to start, so [inaudible]

>> STEVE: No, we did a non-alcoholic wine once.

>> AMBER: Yes, that one was very good.

>> CHRIS: Yes, we did do one.

>> AMBER: I don’t want to white-label that one.

>> STEVE: It was nasty.


>> CHRIS: Maybe we can get big enough that we can convince Coca-Cola to do a special Diet Coke release with Allie the Alligator on it.

>> STEVE: Allie, that ecological Diet Coke.

>> AMBER: Didn’t someone say once you can go order Coke cans with your name on them?

>> STEVE: With your name on it. Do they still do that?

>> AMBER: I don’t know. We could go do that. I don’t like Coke. I’m never going to help Coke promote, except for we literally do it on almost every podcast episode.

>> STEVE: Hey, I’m addicted, Amber. I can’t help it. This is how all of our work gets done is the caffeine that comes from it.

>> AMBER: All right. Circling back to [inaudible] These episodes get especially fun when we like or we don’t think the beer is gross. I think a bigger topic that I want to talk about besides, of course, we’re going to be there and we’re excited about it and we hope everyone will come say hi to us, is a deeper conversation about how much do we think accessibility talks or workshops or vendors being present at these events actually help the ecosystem to learn about accessibility and to make more accessible choices?

The reason why I ask this is because we all know the reality of, what, 96% of websites, whatever that number is this year, based on WebAIM’s most recent thing, have accessibility problems. I looked at the beauty of WordCamps is their schedules and everything [inaudible] I went back to 2014 and looked at every schedule for the past 10 years.

With the exception of 2021 and 2014, they had three or four accessibility talks every time. It’s about the same number that they are currently having now. Do we think that makes a difference? Are people leaving WordCamps and saying, “I went to this talk, I’m going to do something different?” Or do people just attend, go, “Oh, that was interesting,” and then throw it away?

>> STEVE: I think awareness and advocacy is a huge component of pushing accessibility. I think there’s a practical component to it of application and adoption that I think may be more lacking than the advocacy side of it. I think, for years there’s been a lot of talk about it, but there’s not a lot of walk about it. You know what I mean? We need a good transition from advocacy to application.

>> AMBER: Why do you think it is that people are willing to talk about it but not actually do it? Is it because their clients aren’t willing to pay for it, or the log didn’t exist and now they do, so maybe that will be different? What do you think?

>> STEVE: Of course there’s a financial component to it. We’re an accessibility agency. There are special challenges around monetization of accessibility. To some degree there could be even perversions around the monetization of accessibility, where if too much attention is given to the monetization that you make certain decisions in that regard where accessibility actually sacrifices.

I think that’s definitely a valid point is that it’s hard to get clients to pay for it. Chris could probably speak to this, we don’t even sell accessibility as a feature, right?

>> CHRIS: Yes.

>> AMBER: If you work with us it’s going to be accessible. The parts we built are going to be accessible.

>> CHRIS: There was a time, many, many years ago, like eight, nine years ago, when accessibility was treated more like a feature or an add-on. We obviously had some baseline stuff at that time that we tried to include just by virtue of Steve’s work, but if they wanted the full audit done and everything like that, then it was treated like an add-on or an optional component. Which I think is how many agencies are starting to approach this, is they’re out there, they’re trying to identify a partner, and they’re trying to just add accessibility as an option.

>> AMBER: A line item on the invoice.

>> CHRIS: Yes, a line item on the invoice that’s its own thing that can be struck off if it’s inconvenient in terms of timeline or budget.

>> AMBER: Oh, go ahead, Steve.

>> STEVE: I was just going to tag that, I said this in a previous episode, but we try to change the heart. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. I think these laws, with the recent changes to the American Disabilities Act and with the recent changes coming to the European Accessibility Act, they’re going to change their heads. If you’re building accessible stuff, like Chris said, you’re truly future-proofing your website and you’re future-proofing yourself from litigation.

>> AMBER: There’s been these sessions at these conferences, and WordCamp EU, by my understanding, is huge. It’s the biggest WordCamp in the world with thousands of attendees that go. We haven’t seen some ripple from these talks. Is the problem that there’s not been enough education on how to sell it, or how to convince clients to invest in it, or how to convince your boss if you’re working in-house, and that’s why?

That’s what I’m trying to figure out. There shouldn’t be three sessions. 50% of the sessions should talk about accessibility in one way or another. Maybe that’s their focus, but they might mention something. What is it that would actually make a difference from these conferences that would have the ripple when people leave the conference that make them go, “I need to start making things accessible”?

>> STEVE: That is such a huge question. It has to be put into practice. It’s not enough to do lip service to accessibility. It really has to be put into practice.

>> AMBER: Maybe there needs to be follow-ups, though, too, because it’s one thing if you’re new and you go to WordCamp and you go to a talk and you– Even your navigation talk, if I went to that and I wasn’t a developer, I’m not a developer, and I’m like, “Oh, this is really interesting.” Well, first of all, I don’t even remember if the recording was available right away. If I have to wait and then I have to go find it on WordPress.tv and then I have to study it and then I have to review all the code and then I have to spend time practicing it, then maybe I need to also get somebody to give me feedback on it before I can actually put into practice what I’ve learned.

I don’t know if there’s something like, “We need local meet-ups to almost follow up.” Last month’s WordCamp EU-

>> STEVE: That’s a good point.

>> AMBER: -this was a topic, “Let’s all meet together and talk about how we can actually put it into practice.” That’s what I’m trying to think. I feel like there’s something that as community leaders we need to do so that people don’t just attend, go to the session, go, “Oh, that was interesting. I took notes and I never look at them ever again.”

>> STEVE: It’s a behavior change, and you know how hard it is to change human behavior. It really is difficult.

>> CHRIS: There’s two things that change human behavior. There’s the stick and the carrot. Those are really the two things. To be frank, with accessibility, I feel like we’ve had a bit of a lack of both of those things in terms of, well, A, awareness that a carrot exists and appreciation of that, and B, governments just either abdicating their responsibility to enforce this to the courts and lawyers, or B, just having lackluster laws in general. I think that those things are being corrected.

Amber, you attended the White House thing for GAAD just yesterday, and they were saying they want to accelerate accessibility enforcement.

>> AMBER: By attended you mean I watched the live stream on YouTube. I did not go to the White House.

>> CHRIS: I wasn’t trying to play it up that you were at the White House. Sorry. That’s not how I meant that.

>> AMBER: That would have been super cool, though.

>> STEVE: Yes, it would have been.

>> AMBER: Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion were there, the founders of GAAD, and I admire them very much and enjoyed meeting with them last fall. It would have been very cool. I was watching it, and I told you about something that you were going to say. Sorry I derailed you.

>> CHRIS: I was just going to say that in that session you attended, they said that they think that the pace of regulatory expansion around web accessibility in the United States is not moving fast enough.

>> AMBER: Maybe Rian’s talk is the talk that’s going to get everybody to take action.

>> STEVE: That’s the talk that’s going to scare everybody.

>> AMBER: Probably Rian [inaudible] scary.

>> CHRIS: What I was going to say is, if we want to change human behavior, there has to be that element of the stick the idea that there is a real consequence to doing nothing or doing a subpar effort.

>> AMBER: Chris, it sounds like you need to start applying to speak at WordCamps.

>> CHRIS: I did. WCEU did not accept my application to talk about this. That’s okay.

>> AMBER: They probably have a one-speaker-per-company rule.

>> CHRIS: Yes, they probably do. You always win if it’s between the two of us.

>> STEVE: Hey, I won last year.

>> AMBER: That is true.

>> CHRIS: That is true. Seriously [inaudible] last year.

>> AMBER: I did not get selected to speak at WordCamp US last year, but Steve did. We just traded around. Maybe Chris would get to speak at WordCamp.

>> STEVE: It was probably merely on the fact that you spoke the year before. They were like, “We’d rather have him.”

>> CHRIS: There’s a point I’m trying to make. There’s a point I’m trying to make here-

>> AMBER: Oh, sorry.

>> STEVE: Sorry.

>> CHRIS: -which is just that I think that a lot of agencies and freelancers have maybe taken one crack at selling accessibility, but they’ve just said, “Hey, do you want accessibility?” All the SMBs and all the people who just don’t get it, they’re like, “No. No, I don’t want that. That has nothing to do with my priorities or what I care about, or I don’t think my customers have disabilities,” because they haven’t been educated, and the agency hasn’t been educated on how to actually approach selling this stuff. The no-brainer accessibility sale is someone coming to you and saying, “I need accessibility.”

The actual challenging accessibility sale that is still entirely possible, and I’ve done it multiple times over, is the person who doesn’t know they need it, but needs it, and teaching them and showing them that they need it. That’s the real sales challenge, and that’s where the money is, is in those engagements, because you’re going to differentiate yourself from the nine other salespeople going after that same project. That was the point I wanted to make.

>> STEVE: It’s a great point. I think to that, and just to be clear, Chris is not saying he’s selling accessibility. He’s just showing why Equalize Digital is different, because accessibility is just how we do it. He’s not saying, “You could buy the accessibility or we could just still do you a website.” No, this is how we do it. We sell it this way. We code it this way. We design it this way. That’s just how we do it, and that’s what makes us different from other people.

>> AMBER: You can make all of your website projects that you build accessible first and never mention the word “accessibility” and sell them based on quality code or optimized SEO or whatever you want, and then just sell them at the price that you need to sell them to to cover the work that includes accessibility.

>> CHRIS: By the way, all of those things benefit your customer and get better results and justify you charging higher rates. It’s not just adding something on that someone doesn’t need. It’s a universal need that has universal benefit.

>> STEVE: Absolutely.

>> AMBER: You’re right, circling back to my original question. It’s a little bit of a confluence of there wasn’t enough external motivators, and maybe there’s some talks missing that actually help people figure out how to translate the dev aspects of it or the theoretical aspects of it into literal business operations. So if you’re organizing a WordCamp and you’re listening to this, I would say maybe you want to think about that, and not just for accessibility. I think probably for a lot of the topics that happen there, I don’t always see enough business talks at WordCamps that are like, “How do I actually make this work in my business?”

There were a few people. Chris Lema used to do quite a few. I don’t know if he’s going to as many WordCamps anymore. Troy Dean sometimes would talk about business kind of stuff at WordCamps. I haven’t seen a lot. There used to be Pressnomics that Paisley ran, which was like a WordPress business conference, and that conference was great. I feel like that’s missing. If we want people to actually be able to take things and translate them to the reality of how they build and how they operate, I think we need more of those talks.

>> CHRIS: Practical advice. That makes me reflect on something that was said about the previous WordCamp US by someone very high up in government who attended. I don’t want to out who it was, but it was a conversation I had after the fact. They said that they were genuinely surprised at, as a practitioner of WordPress, just leading an organization who’s trying to use this platform and get better at it, how useless that event was, because they felt like it was all about just networking and high-level conversations, but no actually getting into implementation or the practice of actually doing things and getting the result in WordPress.

I think shifting back to making these events have utility beyond networking and business stuff. As the sales guy, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think that there’s a real truth to this, though, that the most useful part of the event for the majority of the attendees should not be the hallway. If it is, you have a problem.

>> STEVE: I think that speaks to the multipurpose of these events are– yes, there are the solopreneur WordPress user, there are the small companies like us that are more there to be inspired a bit, to go to some talks, but to also do some promotion and some networking. You’re totally right. I think moving into application is definitely a huge part of getting this done.

>> AMBER: This leads me to the thing I wanted to discuss with you all, which I thought was interesting, since I spent the time to look at 10 years of WordCamp EU schedules, because I do weird things like that. [laughs]

>> STEVE: Yes, that is weird.

>> AMBER: Shout out to Rian, who has spoken almost every single year since 2014. There were quite a few years where it was her and Adrian Roselli. It is the same people and the same voices. How many WordCamps have I spoken at? It’s a lot. I’m not saying I don’t want them to pick me. I like when people pick me, but at the same time I feel like we need to figure out how to get more people involved and vocal in promoting accessibility and giving those talks that are actually going to motivate people to leave and take action and not just be like, “Oh, that was an interesting talk.”

I don’t know if the fact that the same five people gave accessibility talks for 10 years of WordCamp EU is a symptom of speaker selection bias, which I’m sure does exist if you’re like, “Well, this person is the top accessibility expert in Europe or one of them.”

>> CHRIS: You can’t help it if you’ve seen the name 20 times.

>> AMBER: Of course you want to pick them.

>> CHRIS: It’s human nature to go with the known quantity.

>> AMBER: I will tell you, for WordPress Accessibility Day last year, we had zero returning speakers. We were really intentional about that. Every single person was a first-time WordPress Accessibility Day speaker. You don’t want to give the impression that there’s only 10 people who care about accessibility in WordPress. That doesn’t help anyone, I don’t think, because then it’s like, “Oh, this isn’t that big of a deal. If it was a big deal, there would be more than these people.”

>> CHRIS: Otherwise, all the external observers who aren’t deep in accessibility are just like, “Oh, it’s Adrian Roselli again,” half-eye roll, and then they go to a different talk.

>> AMBER: Even though he’s very awesome.

>> CHRIS: Yes, he’s very awesome. I’m just saying from their external perspective, they may see that as stagnation.

>> AMBER: Well, if there’s not new voices coming in, I do think it doesn’t help the cause or draw more attention. I don’t know if you guys have thoughts about, what could be done about that?

>> STEVE: There’s not usually much harm that comes from promoting more diversity of thought. It’s like, somebody can have some pretty awesome name authority about their brand or their name to speak, but believe it or not, even some little guy coming in can have an idea that hasn’t been presented yet, that can really change things or make people have a paradigm shift in their thinking.

I think having more voices from, like you mentioned, from a sales perspective, my talk last year from a developer perspective. I’m a little biased but I would definitely like to see more technical people talking about accessibility and making it practical within there

development workflows and things like that. I think the more we can have people from a wide range of accessibility, I think it has to be a net benefit.

>> CHRIS: I would love to have, particularly going into next year, the major flagship events challenge them to have a track dedicated to technical implementation of accessibility that is taught by multiple developers in multiple focused sessions. Like, I would love to see accessible theme development, accessible plugin development, accessible content. All of these things. Accessibility considerations for multimedia on websites. There’s probably more I’m not thinking of, like having a track that focuses on all of those–

>> STEVE: Core.

>> CHRIS: Yes, core.

>> AMBER: You know what would be interesting on that note? This is something WPCampus does. I mentioned at the top that I gave an accessibility workshop at WPCampus last year, and it was like four– It might have been five hours. It was almost a full day. There were breaks in the middle and they came back. There was food. Also, AccessU does this too. The shortest session at AccessU is 90 minutes. Some of them are like three-plus hour long. I think what would be interesting is if these WordPress events had contributor day and then had workshop day where it is one workshop that you are in all day for whatever the thing– or maybe two if you want to have a morning and an afternoon. Then you have the typical 50-minute session day or two of those if you want it to be four days. I think this year they’re going to have showcase day at WordCamp US, which will be interesting to see what that turns out to be. I think that is probably something when we’re talking about making this really actionable for people is you can’t just have these short little overviews. Honestly, that’s why WordPress Accessibility Meetup, when we started talking about doing one, I was like, “They’re not going to be an hour. They’re an hour-and-a-half.” Even that sometimes I feel like is barely enough depending on who the speaker is and the topic.

It’s interesting, because people say to me all the time, “People show up for that and they stay?” I was like, “Yes, we have–” They don’t all stay till the end. A lot of people leave at the hour, but I would say like 70% to 85%, depending on the topic, will stay the whole time, and sometimes we even go an extra 15 minutes. I think that’s something that I would love to see WordCamps do more of is have these more in-depth, long sessions where you can actually really maybe do some work or put something into practice. That’s what I think– on any topic.

Imagine if you’re trying to learn Git. Wouldn’t it be so cool to go to a WordCamp and be able to go in a four-hour class where literally someone’s like, “Hey, we’re going to all do this together. We’re going to sign up. I’m going to teach you all the commands, how to use command line, how to set up a local environment, how to push and pull.” In the end, you’ll have less doing all those things. You can’t do it in like 15 minutes.

>> CHRIS: I bet that room would be packed with junior devs, standing room only, if they actually did that. I bet it would.

>> STEVE: I would love to speak at that and talk about how to write a proper commit message, or a PR description.

>> AMBER: Oh, you don’t like WIP?

>> STEVE: No, geez. I was talking to Chris, I was like, “I don’t even know what that means.”

>> CHRIS: Or labeling your pull request, pull request.

>> STEVE: Work in progress.

>> AMBER: Work in progress. I had to ask Steve. I was like, “What is commits on our repo that’s just like WIP?” I don’t even understand what that means. He’s like, “It means work in progress, and I’ve already told that developer he’s not allowed to do that.” [laughter]

>> CHRIS: Oh, men.

>> AMBER: Anyway, this has been fun. I’m so excited for WordCamp EU.

>> STEVE: Yes, same here.

>> AMBER: Also, we see each other once a year in person.

>> STEVE: Yes.

>> AMBER: I mean, I see Chris all the time, but Steve. It’s fun to be in person as a team. Excited about everyone we’re going to see. Please if you’re listening, come say hello to us. If you want to do a micro-auditor, if you just want to come by and grab some swag, or you don’t want any swag, you just want to say hello. We would love to say hello.

>> STEVE: See you all there.

>> CHRIS: All right. Safe flights. Safe travels. We’ll see you in Italy. Bye.

>> AMBER: Bye.

>> STEVE: Bye.

>> CHRIS: 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. 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 Hines, Chris Hines, and Steve Jones. Steve Jones composed our theme music. Learn how we help make thousands of WordPress websites more accessible at equalizedigital.com.