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Home » News » Access Granted: Design Hammer, Part 1

Access Granted: Design Hammer, Part 1

Ablr's Mike Iannelli talks to Save from Design Hammer on the Access Granted podcast.

Access Granted: Design Hammer, Part 1 transcript. Tune in wherever you listen to podcasts.

Mike Iannelli: Hey everyone. Welcome to Access Granted, a podcast powered by Ablr. I’m your host, Mike Iannelli. And today we’ve got Dave Shepley on the show. Dave’s a development strategist over at DesignHammer, an award winning web agency in North Carolina. But Dave isn’t just your average development strategist.

He’s a powerhouse behind the scenes, ensuring smooth operations with accessibility always in mind. Dave is also a dear friend and longtime supporter of Ablr. So stay tuned for his insightful thoughts on all things accessibility and web related in today’s real world. Dave, I’ll turn it over to you for a minute.

Give me sort of a little background on what you do there. Cause I, your titles are all. Over the place. But I want to kind of hear exactly what you do there. Cause I know what you do, but I want you to explain it for us and our audience.

Dave Shepley: Sure. So, um DesignHammer has been around 23 years this month, which in the web development design strategy industry is, is a long time.

You know, I can barely remember what the web was like in 2001.

Mike Iannelli: Was it around?

Dave Shepley: I remember moving down here in 2002 and we had to print the maps off of MapQuest.

Mike Iannelli: Oh, and dude, the advertising was incredible. Do you remember that? That was an ad space. If you print it off and you had the free banner ad that came with it.

Dave Shepley: So DesignHammer’s been around 23 years, um, started by three partners who are still involved today. Do, uh, web strategy, design, development, usability, analytics, and accessibility, thus the conversation today. I’ve been with the company just over four years now, which I’m one of ten employees. I’m the second shortest tenured employee at the company, if that tells you something about how many folks stick around.

Mike Iannelli: Wow, really?

Dave Shepley: It’s also different. You come from the agency world and the average tenured employee is like a premier league manager. It’s like eight months, you know? So the fact that our developers have all been around for 10, 12, 15 years, I think says a lot about the company.

Mike Iannelli: That says a tremendous amount about the company. And truthfully, you guys should be broadcasting that. That’s amazing.

Dave Shepley: We try.

Mike Iannelli: Yeah. I had no idea you guys were, I mean, they’re great folks. I mean, I met a lot of the guys, but I had no idea they were there for 10, 12 years. That’s incredible.

Dave Shepley: My, uh, made up self important title is development strategist, which essentially means I was hired to be a project manager, but that turned into sales, marketing, business development, um, some project management.

Mike Iannelli: Yeah, it feels like you do a lot, man.

Dave Shepley: Kind of own the life cycle of a client. I always think about the the character from office space that, um, he’s like, what do you do? And he’s like, my job is to meet with the people, to talk to the people. I’m like, that’s kind of what I do, but hopefully I’m not that guy.

Mike Iannelli: So tell me, you know, one of the things that, how we got introduced and I, man, I’ve, you’ve been around the Ablr scene for a long time. I mean, even John’s book signing and all the events we do. And even when you walked in here, I was like, you know, you’re a master networker. I do want to know about like, is that you are always moving and shaking and talking to people and you know, a ton of people tell me about like, what, what drives you to do that?

Because I think it’s pretty badass what you do there.

Dave Shepley: Part of it is necessity. We are largely a referral based business. So the way you get referrals is either by having your clients do the work for you or showing up to things and meeting people. I joined DesignHammer about six months before COVID.

And I’d be interested if Ablr has any insight to this. But the one thing that, that I did lean on during COVID was the use of, you know, apps and delivery services. And still today, I prefer Instacart over actually walking into a physical grocery store. And I wonder how that helped folks with visual impairments.

And if they’re, you know, I know that there’s that big lawsuit against Domino’s?

Mike Iannelli: Yeah, it was Domino’s

Dave Shepley: because their website was not accessible, but you know.

Mike Iannelli: Well, truthfully, Dave, that, you know, COVID, John and I were talking about the other day, it kind of helped launch a business. I mean we were launching it, building it and then this happened and we were like, Oh, what are we doing?

You know, how are we, this isn’t going to be good. You know, we were in the middle of a pandemic and, you know, everyone’s shutting down. And, and so the beauty for us though, was web stats and web data usage was. You know, through the roof

and all this new technology and assisted and screen readers and everything, everything now, assisted tech is really driven the future for our industry.

Um, you know, we talk about Ablr Works. I mean, our workforce development program is incredible. You got folks today that have never had an opportunity to work, right? It’s always been sort of, hey, you know, your on disability, here’s your paycheck, you know, you can only work a limited amount of time. Now, all of a sudden, the world has changed and that’s, that’s why our organization is, is really growing.

Accessibility is the foundation. But now when you look about the future of employment, you’ve got an entire group of individuals, this untapped talent that has been on the sidelines for so many years and all of a sudden now we’ve got tech, the work from home aspects of it were major because now you’re talking about getting into the office for folks with disabilities an hour and a half to two hours, even if they’re 15 minutes away with ride sharing apps.

So the game has changed significantly and technology has been a major driver of that and COVID was a major driver of that too. Yeah. So I think your point is right. Dead on.

Dave Shepley: I’ve always wanted to ask John, you know, how he gets to the office every day, whether his wife has to drive him, whether he is now able to like call up an Uber.

Mike Iannelli: He does. Yeah, he does Uber. And, uh, I know that his father, I’ve seen his father drive him a few times. I keep telling him he needs to get a self driving car so you get himself there.

Dave Shepley: There’s small fascinating things that you learn when you start to think about how folks would, you know, visual impairments.

Mike Iannelli: We take it for granted every day. Absolutely. You know, the whole world isn’t aware of inclusion, no one’s really considering or thinking about how other people are functioning every day and that part, there’s a click there, that sort of proximity aspect of being around folks with disabilities and having that empathy, that’s really what’s missing, you know. And and for me personally it was it was a game changer for me because I had never really been exposed to folks with disabilities. I met John four years ago, and it literally changed my life and It’s like, how do you take that?

I’d love to put it in a pill, you know, create a pill that creates empathy. So take this pill and you’ll be an empathetic individual. You get to see and see what other people go through every day. Cause in this industry and what we deal with, accessibility, wonderful, great starting point.

Truthfully, though, it’s just not enough. But with that being said, I want, I want to talk to you about accessibility because one of the things I love about what you’re doing, um, and I think DesignHammer too. I mean, I mean, David has been great. He’s been a leader in this space. He’s been thinking about accessibility for years.

Dave Shepley: I think 15 years ago, he wrote his first article on it. Accessibility and web.

Mike Iannelli: Which is amazing.

Dave Shepley: Angus, one of the guys that works for Ablr, when he was in community college in 2016, he said that the website that he was at and the online learning tools weren’t accessible.

Mike Iannelli: It’s an afterthought. Now I will say this when we started the company four years ago, and there are other innovators have been doing this a long time, bigger organizations and anyone that that’s out there trying to make a, make a difference.

I’m grateful for whether that we deem them competitors. And I think we’re all in this together. But he struggled a long time with it and the world is radically changing and it’s taking a long time, but it is changing. I mean accessibility, the companies we have 150 brands today we work with and it is starting to make a shift.

You can feel it. It’s in the air. But, but there are still, you know, I think it’s, I think statistically speaking today, I think there’s 94%. I think 93-94 percent of all content is still not accessible.

Dave Shepley: Right.

Mike Iannelli: So yeah, we’re making strides, which is amazing. And we’re making a lot of strides, which is great because of organizations like DesignHammer.

I mean, you guys. I think when we first launched, I’m pretty sure we, we first launched the business, we’ve been working with you since the day we started the company.

Dave Shepley: Yeah. I mean, we took a tour of LCI. In probably 2019

Mike Iannelli: Who did the tour? Was it John?

Dave Shepley: John did it. I think it was before you started. It literally took me 20 minutes into the tour to realize that John couldn’t see.

 Literally the blind leading the blind.

Mike Iannelli: Um, you know, I had no idea that he was blind. Blind when I first met him, because he’s, you know, John has retinitis pigmentosa. So it’s a degenerative eye condition. And I think if you read his book, which have you read his book yet? It’s a good book. I finally read it.

I didn’t even realize what he went through. You know, and so there’s different varying types of disabilities, right? But but to have a degenerative eye condition and to hide that for so long, right, you know 15 years in the life that he went through to get here so it’s amazing and that’s the kind of stuff that what what Ablr is doing is trying to eliminate that, you know, eliminate that fear eliminate that that sort of thinking that you know Everyone is so you know, we are all so different but yet we are all still the same, you know and I think there’s a There’s a process in this whole, this whole world that we’re building with Ablr and other organizations like us.

It’s like, you know, we go to work every day, right? We have, we have a choice every day to do something. And yes, we definitely have to force ourselves to do it sometimes. But when you choose a path that actually matters, it’s fulfilling and meaningful and it’s giving back. And I think if we all can start to think about life a little bit more that way.

Not just about what’s in it for us and what’s in it for our paycheck. And what’s in it for the fancy car, but what’s in it for everyone around us. It’s sort of like the rising tide scenario. And that, that, that’s where my mindset is. Now, am I perfect every day? No, I screw up every day, but big picture. It’s like, that’s where I think we need to be.

And that’s what I want to do. And that’s what we’re trying to do with Ablr. One of the things that, that a reason why I wanted to bring you on is there for me, you know, I’ve spent 25 years or so, I think in advertising, maybe. I don’t even know about 25 years. Um, I was a president of an agency. I was an executive at agencies, owners of agencies, whatever.

Regardless, I spent most of my career helping other businesses make more money. Whether that’s through website development, analytics, media analytics, whatever it is, creative. Um, but one of the things that was a shock to me is I, I, you know, when I met John, part of the story is I heard a screen reader for the first time on that tour and I had never heard that before and it was sort of a shock to my system and I, I joke with people on all my calls and I was like, it was like God came down and kind of like punched me in the stomach, and was like shaking me like wake up. You’re looking for purpose. You’re looking for meaning and um this is it.

Um and I realized at that point I never even considered, never thought, it just wasn’t, it wasn’t anything that ever came into my mind was ADA or WCAG or accessibility or usability or compliance. It just wasn’t there. You guys are a little bit different though, you guys were sort of ahead of the game with that, as an agency.

You’re always thinking accessibility. You’re always thinking in advance. And you have been for years. So it’s really great to see that, what you guys are doing. But tell me about where that came from, what drives you to think about accessibility in that way all the time?

Dave Shepley: Sure, well I think, you know, David has always been big on, writing about Usability. The, uh, company tagline for a long time has been building smarter websites, which, you know, websites aren’t smart, they’re websites, but building them smartly in a way that, you know, makes sense, and a way that makes sense is that everybody can access a website.

Um, and if we truly believe as a company, that websites are tools to solve business problems and we’re not using that tool in a way that everybody is equipped to use it, then we’re failing our client.

Mike Iannelli: When we started the company, we thought, hey, listen, every agency is going to want to work with us, right?

Because they’ve got clients, they need to put their, if they’re truly an agency, they need to put their client’s business first, right? That’s their job, the eyes and ears of your client, looking out for their best interests, always thinking ahead of the game for them. And it still surprises me today that so many agencies are, now they’re picking up.

And I appreciate that. I really do. I’m very grateful for that. But some of the challenges that come along with that are some of the overpromising aspects of it. A lot of the people that we talked to today are saying, well, I thought our agency did this. Our agency told us they were going to do accessibility.

Our agency told us we were going to be compliant. And what I’m seeing is, is a little concerning to me because I think if this continues and we have agencies out there promising accessibility using things like automated tools, I think it misleads what accessibility really is.

Dave Shepley: We think about it all the time. And my coworker, Steven, who often joins me on calls is now like writing it in our meeting notes, when I say something like “we design for accessibility,” or “we can provide a VPAT.” We can’t. We can use you to do it. We, ourselves, we design with accessibility in mind, and we run it through checkers, but we don’t do manual tests, and we can’t.

Mike Iannelli: Yeah.

Dave Shepley: You know, we don’t have people on staff who have visual impairments.

Mike Iannelli: And the thing that’s interesting is there’s so many misnomers out there, because, you know, it’s like, oh, well, you know, Google has a free tool or there are these other companies that are these free tools. And listen, free tools are great.

If I was building my own personal website, I’d do a free checker. But the reality is, and they’re getting better with AI, but the reality is they only really acquire about 40 percent of the overall violations, right? And a lot of people don’t know about it, right? So if I’m a marketing director and I’m talking to an agency, I do an RFP and I say, hey, we know accessibility matters, I want to make sure it’s in there. There’s a risk to that, right? There’s a risk to including it if it’s not going to include manual testing. If it’s not going to include testing by folks that are trained, right? Because you have Trusted Tester, you have all this CPAC, you have all these exams. So when you think about usability testing and accessibility testing, it’s not just running it through a screen to see if color contrast works.

It’s not just running it through to see if I have my alt tags. That’s like That is fundamentally basic, you know, basic stuff. It’s when you start getting into the keyboard functionality and the link distinguishability and the way you’re writing your schematics and the way you’re telling your story, those things are, are often undervalued.

I’ve heard this before where “we have testers, we just put blindfolds on” or close our eyes. And, and that, that kills me. And I’ll tell you a quick story about that, which I love, is Shannon is our lead trainer for our workforce development program. She plays darts. And Shannon lost her vision.

I believe she lost her vision when she was eight or nine as a young child, but she’s a dart player. She’s got this really cool apparatus. It’s like a PVC apparatus. And it allows you to use your feet to figure out where you are to measure the dartboard and you can get right in front. You can throw darts.

OK, so she says to me, well, you go first. So I walk up to the dartboard with my eyes open, put my feet where they should be. I look at the board. I close my eyes. And I throw a dart.

Dave Shepley: No where close.

Mike Iannelli: Actually, pretty close. Now here’s the difference. And she’s always close, right?

Dave Shepley: Right.

Mike Iannelli: Where I try to draw this parallel is that it’s the same as sort of usability testing.

So you can walk up to a computer and you can look at it and you can close your eyes and put a screen reader on and go, that doesn’t work. Right? Same thing. I can walk up to the dartboard, close my eyes, throw a dart, and hit the board. Not all the time, but when you walk up to the dartboard with your eyes closed the whole time, and you twist yourself around a little bit, and then you get up there with your feet and find it, and then you try to find your bearings, and then you throw the dart?

Dave Shepley: Right.

Mike Iannelli: I didn’t hit the board one time. Not one time. So, it’s the same thing with testing. You can’t just put on a blindfold, walk up to the computer, and test it.

Dave Shepley: Right.

Mike Iannelli: And so, what, what’s difficult is that I believe that, you know, And I still believe the industry believes as well that usability testing is a manual process.

It’s using native screen reader users who live and breathe every day using it, and they are trained and certified to do the work. That is I think is one of the big differences versus, hey, we can do this. And I think we simplify it like it’s not a big deal. When in fact, it’s actually an extremely big deal.

So talk to me a little bit about manual testing. Talk to me about your thoughts on that because you guys do. We work together from the very beginning up front scoping things out to the very final product. So whether we’re doing remediation work with existing clients, or we’re working together on new clients. Talk to me a bit a little bit about manual versus automated and I want your opinion on that

Dave Shepley: So we’ve done a couple projects together over the years and until recently it’s been mostly reactive, I think. And you and I had a conversation maybe a year and a half ago about how you want the process to be more proactive. And, you know, you guys preferred brought in as early as possible. So we have a client that we’re working with right now, actually. And they’re building a clinical trials, uh, research portal brought Ablr on, from the beginning from, um, wireframes, really, because,

Mike Iannelli: You know, why? Yeah. Talk about why that’s important from the beginning.

Dave Shepley: It’s helpful because you’re not then getting to a beta delivery of a website, which is typically when somebody would think to, now let’s test for accessibility, then you’ve got to go back and redesign things.

Mike Iannelli: Exactly.

Dave Shepley: So it’s almost like you’re, you’re pre costing yourself more money by waiting until beta or final candidate or having it live and having an issue.

Then you’ve got to go back. Um, and that manual testing caught things that, um, Frank, our lead designer had run it through ARIA testers and had done all of the kind of automated testing. Didn’t catch it.

Mike Iannelli: It’s one of those areas where we have to, as leaders and agency leaders, we have to be smart about what we promise our clients.

Dave Shepley: What would you say about accessibility to an agency right now?

So a couple things. One in the last three weeks, I think I’ve had that conversation at least three times with customers or potential customers who are like, well, it doesn’t apply to us for X reason, either they would be self excluded from using the site anyway, or they’re in an industry where you couldn’t be blind to be in the industry, you know, whatever it is.

And we do our best in every sales call to be up front about accessibility and say, is this a cost that we need to factor into an estimate for you? Because when we estimate, we throw everything in there that we can think of so that we don’t deal with things down the road. Um, I think the “you’ll get sued” mentality is not the way to go.

Like I don’t think we’re at the point now where the fear factor is how you get people to buy in, but you also, people sadly don’t often want to pay for empathy, right? So we can get people most of the way there, even if they don’t want it, just because that’s how we think. Um, but even if we design a website, work with you to make sure it’s fully accessible, that’s unfortunately not the end of that journey for them.

Because then they have content creators, right? Who are putting in the words, putting in the images, putting in new stuff once the site’s been launched. That’s often where things go off the rails is

Mike Iannelli: That’s exactly where they go off.

Dave Shepley: You know, you’ve got a 24 year old, 48 year old, doesn’t matter entering content.

And all they’re doing is thinking about entering content.

Mike Iannelli: That’s right.

Dave Shepley: Because they haven’t been trained to think, okay, did you put that link in correctly? Yeah, I think Sarah gave a brief talk on social media, social media. That’s right. And now every time I do a LinkedIn post, I think about if I’m posting an image, am I putting an alt tag?

Mike Iannelli: Yeah.

Dave Shepley: So that John knows what I’m doing

Mike Iannelli: and I fail at that I think still, but that was a great training and that, you just nailed it too. It’s like one of the, one of the parts of the process is, you know, and, and you know, this, I mean, obviously there’s multiple ways to go about it, but the end, the fifth step of, of the accessibility process at Ablr is monitoring and training.

And the monitoring is exactly what you said. You, you know, you work hard, you built this universal experience. Everything is, is dialed in. You’ve got WCAG working, you’ve got your VPAT, you know, everything is solid. And then you open up the site and you’ve got hundreds, if not sometimes thousands, even if it’s just five people that are editing the content and it’s a, it’s a dynamic experience.

And so all of a sudden, all that work you put in can, you can lose out pretty quickly.

Dave Shepley: And it’s education and repetition.

Mike Iannelli: That’s right.

Dave Shepley: I think is the key. I mean, I’ve had some client sites recently where

Mike Iannelli: Best practice, yep.

Dave Shepley: At the tail end, I’ve been responsible for uploading the images, you know, and you end up uploading 50 images and after a while you’re like, I do not wanna write it in there, ” man, with a bald head and glasses talking into a microphone,” you know?

Mike Iannelli: Why do you gotta say that?

Dave Shepley: But you need to, and you know

Mike Iannelli: You mean extremely cool, kind, collective attractive, bald man with glasses.

Dave Shepley: Those listening to the podcast can believe that. Those watching the podcast, leave that up for interpretation.

Mike Iannelli: Someone has to tell me. Even if it’s me.

Dave Shepley: Um, but anyway, it’s like before getting to know John and before, and you know.

I grew up around people with disabilities basically my entire life because that’s what, I’m the black sheep of the family. I’m the only one who didn’t, hasn’t worked with people with disabilities in their life until now. Um, but I wouldn’t have had the thought or the empathy to think about an alt tag image in every single image.

Mike Iannelli: Yeah.

Dave Shepley: But now I have the education and the empathy and it’s just brain repetition. It’s not difficult uploading something and being like, it’s worth the extra 10 seconds.

Mike Iannelli: Yeah.

Dave Shepley: Or whatever.

Mike Iannelli: Um, I mean the, it’s, it’s interesting. I mean, we think about how far we’ve come, right? I mean, I, remember the days of just working with a small community college just to, just to get them to, to think.

But now what you’re seeing, at least what I’m seeing are folks that are warriors out there, they’re like, you know, and this is, and truthfully, this is really kind of the purpose of this podcast. I was just so taken back by organizations that were like willing to step out there and put their head out there on the line and say, hey, and even employees of companies that maybe they, maybe the company didn’t want to do it, but someone put their head on and said, hey, this is the way we have to do things. And so the point, the purpose of this podcast originally was to elevate our clients and, and it, it will continue to be about the great work that they’re doing because it takes courage. It’s there are early adopters clearly, but there will continue to be early adopters.

And I think, I don’t think we’ve even come close to hitting our stride yet. I think over the next two or three years we will, but the purpose is to elevate. And so that is hard, but when there are organizations, there are people that are doing it. And then what I’m seeing is a lot of the younger professionals, and this is the beauty of it, man, you know, the future is looking bright because we’ve got folks that have been raised with DEI, have been raised with inclusion, have been raised with spirituality, have been

Dave Shepley: and raised with technology.

Mike Iannelli: Yeah, with technology. Exactly. And so it’s beautiful to see these folks out there that are, that are putting themselves out there, that are taking the risks, and I think we’re seeing more and more and more and it’s always this, this idea of a collective.

Dave Shepley: Yeah. I think, you know, part of. What happened during COVID for especially millennials or Gen Z or, you know, whatever they’re called these days.

Mike Iannelli: I don’t even know anymore.

Dave Shepley: When there was like the great resignation, it was because people feel more now and are allowed to feel and express and they were like, I’m not putting up with this. I’m just going to quit because of, you know, not being treated right by my employer. And part of that is employers being seen as this, you know, giant monolith and not bending and not being accessible and being open to people with different experiences and different backgrounds.

Um, the younger generations are going to help lead that movement. You know, growing up, I didn’t have friends that were blind or deaf or, you know, whatnot. Um, I have a five year old, I kind of like try to see the world through his eyes, you know, and kids are so smart these days that like he is a wizard on the iPhone.

Mike Iannelli: That’s amazing.

Dave Shepley: He is too much of a wizard on YouTube that we’ve had to like restrict what he looks at because, you know, you watch closed captioning sometimes on television and he’ll pick out words because of the closed captioning. We didn’t really have that. Like you think about not just folks with visual impairments, but, but folks with the hearing impairments too like, think about, um, closed captioning when we were growing up, you know, like if you were watching a sporting event, when we were kids and it had closed captioning on, it was just gobbledygook, wasn’t even helpful to somebody who was deaf because it was ineligible.

Mike Iannelli: Made no sense. That’s right.

Dave Shepley: Illegible.

And now, um, you know, YouTube does autogeneration, which for the most part I think is very decent. Yeah, I mean I watch people’s podcasts on LinkedIn a lot and its captions are auto generated in it.

Yeah, it’s getting better.

It’s better than it was and kids these days are growing up with that as just part of their life.

Mike Iannelli: You know, you talk about accommodations. You talk about disabilities. We talk about there’s so many disabilities out there and so many people that are afraid to express that they have a disability, whether that’s a cognitive impairment, physical, auditory, visual, whatever the impairment is, or the disability may or may not be.

There’s historically been this fear, and you can understand why. I mean, I say with John, I mean, John lost his vision it was like all of a sudden it’s like, wait, why aren’t, he’s not capable anymore? I mean, why, because he has retinitis pigmentosa all of a sudden? I mean, it’s just, it’s, it’s crazy to me, the mentality that we have, but when you think about so many folks have not disclosed it.

Dave Shepley: Right, I mean, he talks in his book about how he was acting out in high school and even into college. He wasn’t learning well, and it was because he was hiding the fact that he was losing his vision. It was a guy out West, Bona, who’s done some work with Ablr in the past. Um, started to lose his vision at like four years old and his parents were getting so frustrated because they would throw him like the red ball and he wouldn’t know it was red.

He would think it was, he would think it was the blue ball. And they just didn’t understand why, they thought he had a cognitive problem. He had a vision problem, but he didn’t know how to communicate that. Um and I can’t imagine like, you know, going through that and having to learn how to communicate that to people.

Mike Iannelli: Well, I mean, yeah, I can’t, especially at that age when you don’t have the tools, you know, and that must be so difficult for kids. So frustrating for kids. I mean, you think one in four, you know, statistically speaking, at least, um, everything that we’ve heard is one in four folks have a disability. And you start thinking about folks now are saying, wait, I’m comfortable. I’m confident. And at a younger age, I mean, we see, um, the youth is incredible, man. Like disability is not a disability anymore. You know, at least from the, from at least what I see from the people that I see, there’s strength, there’s courage. Parents are raising kids differently today. They’re comfortable being who they are. At least they’re working towards that. And now with more inclusive organizations, inclusive schooling, inclusive people, um, there’s no reason for anyone to feel like they don’t belong in any way.

Dave Shepley: Mhm.

Mike Iannelli: And so I think, you know, not only is technology and the evolution of, of communication, helping us in other ways, but it’s also helping us with empathy. It’s also helping us understand compassion. It’s also helping bring education to the forefront. I do believe this, when your lens changes, you will see more

Dave Shepley: Mhm.

Mike Iannelli: So you know, when you don’t want to see and you don’t want to acknowledge and you don’t want to engage, your mind will shut that out.

Dave Shepley: I think that’s where we’ll see that the culture shift or the business shift and people spending on this is when it hurts. Either it hurts somebody’s bottom line or somebody sees something on a website or something that isn’t acceptable and because they have that empathy they say, “well, we’re not using that service anymore.”

Mike Iannelli: This happens all the time.

Dave Shepley: I think a great example is, um, we did three or four, virtual conferences and seminars with John and the crew over the last couple of years and one of the first ones we did, he was. 20 minutes. We had to start our panel 20 minutes late because John was in the application, was told to be “accessible”

Mike Iannelli: I’ve reached out to them three times.

Dave Shepley: But he couldn’t, he couldn’t find

Mike Iannelli: He couldn’t get in it.

Dave Shepley: The screen reader could not find the specific link to turn on his audio and his video. And it was so frustrating. And I think if I was John, you know John’s the nicest person in the world, he would never do this. I’d be like, I’m never using that platform ever again, forget it. You know, they’ve ticked me off and that’s what we need. I think it’s more people to say “this failed and until it doesn’t fail anymore, like we’re not going to use it.”

Mike Iannelli: Well said, man. Hey, Dave, thanks so much, man. Very grateful for you being here. *Mike and Dave shake hands.* Awesome time. Thank you. DesignHammer as well. Thanks for tuning in to today’s episode of Access Granted powered by Ablr. I hope you enjoyed part one of our conversation with Dave Shepley from DesignHammer. Remember, accessibility matters in everything we do and Dave’s Insight have shed light on its importance in web development.

Don’t forget to subscribe for more engaging conversations and discussions. Stay connected with us on social media and stay tuned for part two, dropping soon.