Morey Creative Studios President Talks Accessibility on ‘HubSpot Community Developer Show’
Morey Creative Studios President Jon Sasala was a featured guest on the recent season two opener of ‘HubSpot Community Developer Show,’ the inbound marketing and CRM platform’s monthly video podcast, contributing to a wide-ranging conversation around the current state of digital accessibility.
Hosted by Dennis Edson, community manager at HubSpot, the episode included insights from HubSpot experts Tanya Scales, a technical lead at the company, and Jon McLaren, a senior developer advocate. The panel was rounded out by Sam Proulx, accessibility evangelist at Fable—a leading accessibility platform powered by people with disabilities—and a top voice within the accessibility community.
Accessibility as User Experience
Kicking off the podcast, Proulx and Sasala offer an expanded definition of accessibility that goes beyond simply offering access to technology or solutions, and instead focuses on experience.
“When we talk about accessibility, it's not enough to be merely usable. We want products that are equally functional and effective and efficient for everyone,” shares Proulx. “If it takes me nine times longer to perform an action on some piece of software than it perhaps takes one of my coworkers, that's not necessarily viable for me. So I like to expand the way we think about accessibility beyond just the ability to access something, to the ability to have the same kind of efficient, enjoyable experience that anyone else would have with a product or service.”
“Accessibility can be intimidating and confusing and feel like there's so many components to it,” agrees Sasala, “and it's not just about ‘Can somebody eventually get to an outcome?’ To simplify it, accessibility is just user experience. There are innovations that come from addressing accessibility that everybody gets to enjoy. I just read an article about the new AirPods and how they have these accessibility features that everybody uses and appreciates. A lot of Bluetooth [headphones] when you take them off, they'll keep playing in the speakers—but with the AirPods, when you take them out, they stop.”
That innovation, Sasala notes, is an important accessibility feature for those who rely on screen readers—a solution that makes it simple to pause in the middle of an article that also offers an enhanced user experience for anyone who uses the product.
How the Pandemic Sped Up Accessibility Adoption
A key segment of the 90-plus-minute conversation focused on the rapid changes in both awareness and implementation of accessibility-focused solutions since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic—and even in the year since the show launched its first episode.
“What COVID really brought home to people is that the internet is just totally essential to everything that we do,” explains Proulx. “And that has had wide implications for the way that people think about accessibility. People are now coming to realize that it's not okay for the one in five people with the disability to be completely locked out of certain digital experiences.”
In addition, he continues, many smaller companies have come to realize the importance of providing accessible experiences as a direct result of pandemic-related impacts to their businesses:
“The mom and pop pizza shop on the corner might have had a little website, but it might not have been integral to their business,” says Proulx. “And now it's become integral. And what that has really brought home to people is that ordering and e-commerce tools need to be accessible by default, because there are all of these small businesses that are coming online as their primary mode of engagement...If a family business with three employees has to hire an accessibility expert in order to become accessible, their tools have failed them.”
“I think we are coming to realize the responsibility that tooling companies have to create accessible experiences and to give great accessibility education to the businesses down the line that rely on them to serve their customers,” he adds.
Check out the full episode below, or find it on YouTube:
Learn more about how Morey Creative Studios is leveraging HubSpot’s industry-leading tools to help clients provide accessible experiences, or get in touch to discuss how we can help you keep up in a rapidly changing landscape.