You Should Care About Accessibility

Recently I had a client cut me off mid-sentence with, “I’m going to stop you right there, I don’t care about that”.

I was in the middle of telling him why his current website did not meet WCAG guidelines and how we would fix this during redesign. We moved onto the next line item and I couldn’t stop thinking about why he should care. Everyone should care about making their site accessible.

Let’s say you are building your own store from the ground up.  There are specific requirements that you need to meet so that your building is up to code. You want as many people to be able to enter your store as possible, right? The same thing goes for your website. Your website is your digital storefront and should want to make sure that everyone can interact with it.

According to W3.org, web accessibility is defined as:

Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web and contribute to the Web.

Here are some quick numbers for you. According to interactiveaccessibility.com with data from 2012:

• 56.7 Million Americans (18% of the population) have some type of disability

• An estimated 38.3 Million (12.6% of the population) have a severe disability

• 19.9 Million people (8.2% of the population) have difficulty lifting or grasping, making it difficult for them to use a mouse or keyboard.

• 15.2 Million people (6.3% of the population) have a cognitive, mental or emotional impairment

• 8.1 Million people (3.3% of the population) have a vision impairment and may need to rely on screen magnifiers or screen readers. They might also have some form of color blindness

• 7.6 Million (3.1% of the population) have a hearing impairment. Do the videos on your site have transcripts or captions?

There is a possibility that potential clients can’t utilize your site in some aspect, resulting in them leaving your site. Making your site accessible doesn’t only benefit users with disabilities either but making your site accessible to everyone no matter their situation. It means making your site accessible to users on mobile devices with smaller screens, elderly users with changing abilities, users who are impacted by “temporary disabilities” like a broken hand or people with “situational limitations” like being outside in bright light or in a waiting room where they can’t listen to audio.

Accessibility on the web is important and as a business owner, you should care about if your site is accessible or not.

Webinar: ADA Compliance – From a Lawyer and Designer

Listen to Mockingbird’s Design Lead, Ryan Sprouse and Taft Stettinius & Hollister’s IP, IT and Data Security Partner, Jeff Kosc to get down and dirty about ADA Compliance for websites. This webinar showcases what it’s actually like to interact with the web while disabled, reviews Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and discuss the most current legal thinking and precedent regarding ADA Compliance lawsuits related to websites.

 

Tips to Make Sure Your Website Is Accessible

What is Web Accessibility?

What does the word accessibility mean? A quick Google search on “Accessibility” yields a result from Wikipedia stating, “Accessibility is the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities.”

Google search result for Accessibility

 

Why Does It Matter?

The overall goal of web accessibility is to ensure that a website’s content and functionality is visible and can be operated by anyone. As a business owner you want to make sure that your website can be used by all of your potential clients. In order for you to reach the widest audience possible, your website has to be accessible.

What kinds of disabilities are we talking about?
  • Auditory
  • Cognitive
  • Neurological
  • Physical
  • Speech
  • Visual

Accessibility doesn’t always pertain to individuals who have disabilities. Web accessibility also includes:

  • Mobile devices, smart watches, smart TV’s, etc
  • Aging individuals
  • Individuals who are experiencing temporary disabilities like a broken arm
  • Individuals with situational limitations such as being outdoors where there is bright light or in a library where they cannot listen to audio

How to Ensure Your Website is Accessible:

Listed below are some simple steps you can check to see if your website is accessible on a basic level.

Page Titles:

Page titles are a short description of a webpage. They appear at the top of the browser as well as in the SERPs. They are used by screen readers as well as bookmarks and favorites. Make sure that you have a title that sufficiently describes the content on your webpage.

 

Title tag for Mockingbird website

Alternative (alt) tags:

Alt tags are used to describe an image when an image fails to load. They are also used by screen readers for users who may not be able to see the image. You can check to see if an image has alt tags within your content management system. Make sure that all alt tags are descriptive and specific.

Headings:

Headings are important for the overall structure of the page. Headings are ranked from H1 to H6 with H1 being the most important. Headings are also crucial for people who cannot use a mouse. Headings provide structure for people to navigate through the webpage with a keyboard or a screen reader. Make sure all pages within your website has an <h1> level heading for the title of the page. For more information regarding headings and how to correctly use them, check out Yoast’s outline on how to use headings properly.

Contrast:

It is easy to overlook something as simple as color when it comes to accessibility. Color contrast is important to keep in mind when designing a website. People who have impaired vision may not be able to read content on your website if the colors don’t comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). To check whether your website follows the WCAG guidelines, you can use a contrast checker.

Check Your Site

The simple steps above are just the tip of the iceberg when in comes to web accessibility. Use this outline to quickly check if your website meets some of the basic requirements for digital accessibility and be certain that your website can reach the widest audience possible.

 

To read more into web accessibility, check out any of the websites below.

https://www.w3.org/WAI/

https://webaim.org/

https://www.washington.edu/accessibility/web/

 

Law Firm Branding: Bringing Brand Identity to Life

If you made a list of all the brands you see in a day, you’d probably be surprised. Brands are everywhere. Your clothes, electronic devices, the apps on your phone, your car, the bus you take to work and the cup or mug that your coffee is in. These are all examples that currently surround me as I sit on my train heading into work.

Brand identities allow individuals to connect with your brand, recognize it and believe in it. It encompasses the visual elements of the brand. This includes items like the brand’s name and logo, typography, colors, and any design elements that help set the brand apart from competitors, especially in the minds of potential clients.

Some of the main elements included in a brand identity are:

Logo:

This is where your brand begins to physically take form. We start brainstorming and sketching ideas using all of the research that we have gathered in order to create a logo that reflects your brand image.

Color Palette:

Users connect with color. Specific colors evoke specific emotions, feelings and experiences. Choosing the right color palette for your brand is important. You want to make sure your brand exudes the correct impression to your audience.

Typography:

Similar to color, typography has meaning for your brand as it portrays the value and overall tone of your brand. There are millions of typefaces to choose from and each one can provide a specific mood. Typography also helps with brand recognition (think of Coca Cola or Disney.)

Brand/Style Guide:

This is where it all comes together. We will put all of your brand identity materials inside a brand/style guide that helps ensure consistency throughout any medium that your brand will touch.

Our Plan For Success

Our next and final step in this series is to outline the path we follow in order to help you and your new brand succeed.

By pulling each of the above elements together in a way that represents and reinforces your firm’s core skills and values, you can create a successful brand identity in the eyes of your prospects and clients.

Bird Droppings: Google Takes Its First Steps Toward Killing the URL…and More

Welcome to another edition of “Bird Droppings.” A simple list highlighting recent articles relevant to legal marketing in order to help bring you up to speed with what’s been happening in the industry over the past few weeks! Make sure to check out our upcoming events at the end of the list!

Industry News

Do people care about flashy ad copy? What makes people click on search ads?

Google is notifying advertisers that AdWords Express has joined the Google Ads platform.

Google is partnering with Automattic and WordPress in order to develop a news publishing platform.

Google decides to make unsolicited changes to your campaigns. Advertisers get 7 days to opt-out.

Google takes first steps toward killing the URL

Why Is Content from Google Posts Appearing in Local Pack Listings?

Upcoming Events:

What: Chat Bots: Can AI Deliver a Better, Cheaper, More Effective Chat Experience?
When: March 13, 2019
Where: Webinar
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What: BEDLAM Conference 2019
When: March 29, 2019
Where: Nashville, TN
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What: Digital Marketing for Attorneys
When: April 17, 2019
Where: Webinar
More Information

What: Practice 360 | A Day For Lawyers & Law Firms
When: May 17, 2019
Where: Washington, DC
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What: PILMMA Internet Boot Camp
When: September 12, 2019
Where: New Orleans, LA
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Law Firm Branding: Why Should Your Firm Rebrand

In an earlier blog post titled, “What Is Branding?” our team member Branden outlines what branding means. Unfortunately, many law firms struggle with branding. In many cases, law firms created a brand years ago and haven’t gotten around to revisiting it since. The result? A dated logo, website, marketing collateral and/or a brand image that doesn’t fit the current agency’s personality.  Either way, there are plenty of reasons to consider branding or rebranding your firm.

1. Are you are getting fewer leads than in the past?

2. Are you are entering a new market?

3. Are you introducing significant new services?

4. Has your firm’s growth slowed or stopped?

5. Have new competitors entered the marketplace?

6. Does your visual brand look tired compared to the competition?

7. Do you struggle to describe how your firm is different?

8. Are you losing a higher percentage of competitive bid situations than in the past?

9. Has your firm changed significantly since you last adjusted your brand?

10. Are you struggling to attract top talent?

11. Have your customers changed significantly?

12. Are you trying to figure out how to take your firm to the next level?

Branding your firm, whether you’re revisiting, repositioning or starting from scratch, is a challenge that many law firms will eventually face. With the right plan and process, your firm can benefit immensely with a brand that will reflect your law firm’s identity for years to come.

Also, be sure to check out our eBook, What is Branding? It explains the basics of branding, what our process looks like here at Mockingbird and why you should invest in branding your law firm.

 

Bird Droppings: Google is now rolling out the Google Speed Update…and More

Welcome to another edition of “Bird Droppings.” A simple list highlighting recent articles relevant to legal marketing in order to help bring you up to speed with what’s been happening in the industry over the past few weeks! Make sure to check out our upcoming events!

Industry Articles:

Attorneys that build links with press releases listen up! Google ignores those links and they don’t help your site in search.

Google is now rolling out the Google Speed Update, which impacts the mobile search rankings of the slowest sites on the web.

With Google’s pending Speed Update, gradual improvements to how quickly your law firm’s website loads can impact your rankings “a little bit”.

Avvo’s fixed-cost service discontinued by Internet Brands

Smart bidding is really smart, but its not perfect. Be careful when you make the switch.

Bird Droppings: Voice Search Technology…and More!

Welcome to another edition of “Bird Droppings.” A simple list highlighting recent articles relevant to legal marketing in order to help bring you up to speed with what’s been happening in the industry over the past few weeks! Make sure to check out our upcoming events at the end of the list!

Industry Articles:

Turn your videos and webinars into major link magnets.

Google expands the “menu” option in GMB beyond just restaurants. Add your menu of services today!

Campaigns without keywords are the future!

If you weren’t already posting to GMB, you should now.

Trying to locate your law firm’s Google My Business CID number to keep track of merged or removed listings? Joy Hawkins from Sterling Sky explains how.

With significant changes in local search, contributor Wesley Young provides tips in order to keep your local business in the SERPS.

AdWords has FINALLY implemented notes within their dashboard! Just like Google Analytics annotations, you can now call out significant changes over time.

Google is cleaning up some reviews and is no longer counting reviews from “A Google User” in their totals.

How voice search technology is reshaping SEO in 2018.

Industry Tools:

May 2018 Adobe XD updates.

Upcoming Events:

2018 PILMMA Summit – Sept 12 | St Louis, MO

Local Business Marketing Summit – Sept 19 | Free Online Event

Wistia Releases New Video Player, Vulcan V2

Video is a valuable tool that helps you connect with your viewers. Vulcan V2, Wistia’s new video player, is smaller and faster than their previous video player. The only issue is that videos can add a lot of weight to your site and slow it down. If your visitors experience slow page speed, they are more likely to leave your website. With the release of Vulcan V2, it shows that Wistia cares about the importance of website performance more than others.

Vulcan V2 is half the size of their previous player and is a quarter of the size of YouTube’s. Not only did they create a smaller player but also added a bunch of optimizations in order to increase page load time. Wistia claims that they are seeing pages with Vulcan V2 load 10% faster on average than pages with their last video player, Vulcan.

To learn more about Vulcan V2 or what Wistia has been up to, check out their video on their blog regarding Vulcan V2.