Example: Making an accessible shampoo bottle
Adapt to different learning modalities
The impacts of making learning accessible
Take an accessibility-first approach
Example: Making gameplay accessible
Expand into new spaces (industry, government, higher education)
The value of creating learner personas
Closed captioning is for everyone
Don’t put people at a disadvantage through design
Bring accessibility questions to the table
Drive engagement and involvement
AI and accessibility
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing
Mark Jones, CAE (00:00):
Welcome to Learning by Association, a podcast that’s all about helping associations stay a step ahead with learning, brought to you by D2L. Every two weeks, me and our guests will dive into the role that learning plays in driving associations forward and how it impacts every part of the organization from recruitment, engagement, and retention to membership models, business strategy and more. Get ready to learn together because this is Learning by Association.
Welcome to Learning by Association. I’m Mark Jones, your host, and I’ve got a wonderful guest with me today. Amy Morrisey, the president of Artisan e-Learning. And today we’re going to dive into around what associations are doing and how they’re offering educational experiences that are accessible. But that doesn’t mean just supporting members with disability. It means really how we’re going to look at benefiting everyone. So we’re going to dive into some fun conversation, Amy, and talk about accessibility today and how it relates to learning. And why don’t you give us just a little background about yourself before we jump in and dive into some fun topics.
Amy Morrisey (01:08):
Sure. I’m Amy. I’ve spent my career in learning and development, both instructor-led and now a lot in the e-learning space. I’ve been with Artisan for almost 10 years, and we do a lot of our work with associations and are very passionate accessibility advocates. So that’s who we are. Interpersonally, I’m just a fun person to hang out with. Mark, you know that.
Mark Jones, CAE (01:34):
Oh, of course, absolutely. It’s always fun and a pleasure. There’s been a bunch of fun things that we’ve talked about recently and some great webinars and seminars that you’ve given. You gave a great one at ASAE here just recently at the annual conference. And we’re talking about accessibility and when we think about the associations, a lot of times we like to look at what’s happening in the environment around us, what is industry doing, what’s corporate doing? What are our associations, what’s higher ed doing? And you came up with a great talk track and I’d love you to just touch on that a little bit because I think just hearing some of the things that you did in that presentation, working with Procter & Gamble and other key leaders in the corporate world, really thinking about how accessible it looks. I think it’ll let us dive into, as we go forward into some other challenges and opportunities that associations are facing in there. So I’d love for you to just touch on that and then we’ll dive into some other fun topics.
Amy Morrisey (02:37):
Yeah, thanks for that. We did at ASAE, we did a session called does your learning have less impact than a shampoo bottle? And the undercurrent of it was about accessibility and even kind of a little bit more expansive around diversity, equity and inclusion. So I got a little bug recently in my brain that, well, first of all, I mean, I come more from the learning space and I do learning within associations. So I didn’t come up in the association space, but in learning, I always feel like we’re kind of a day late and a dollar short on some things that are happening in the world. Sometimes that’s because learning gets funded last, sometimes, I don’t know exactly what all the reasons are, but I decided rather than looking around at how other organizations handle accessibility and learning, I wanted to look at how the world is handling accessibility, who’s at the front end of that, what’s happening.
Amy Morrisey (03:39):
So the course or the session at ASAE looked at, we did case studies, we did Goodwill, Microsoft adaptive controllers for the Xbox, and then we had a partner of ours, Shane Mays come in and he is a packaging engineer at Procter & Gamble, and he told a great story about how he navigated this big global organization to create shampoo and conditioner bottles for the Herbal Essences brand. And the shampoo bottle, if you rub your finger along the backside of it has kind of rough vertical lines. And if you rub your finger across the conditioner, it has softer kind of dotted lines. So horizontal dotted lines versus vertical kind of rough lines.
Amy Morrisey (04:27):
So now if I had a sight impairment and a sight impairment can be anything from profound blindness to I have soap in my eyes, I can find my shampoo and my conditioner with that. So I really wanted to look at what is industry doing? What are the products that are on the market? How are other people serving this community? It’s super fun. I mean, I was just yesterday on a call with somebody and we were looking at JanSport backpacks and they have an adaptive backpack now and a backpack that’s made for the back of a wheelchair as opposed to the back of a person and adaptive cross body bags and how you can get access to them easier. So there’s lots of stuff happening outside of associations, outside of learning. And for me kind of going out there and thinking about the inspiration, thinking about how hard it was to navigate that through Procter & Gamble, but that it was important enough for them to do it, it fires me up.
Mark Jones, CAE (05:28):
Wow. I can’t imagine the expense and the time and the effort that an organization in the corporate world like P&G to be able to bring that to market when there’s no inherent change in value of the product.
Amy Morrisey (05:46):
Exactly, exactly. And in fact, what Shane had to do was modify the bottle itself, couldn’t add to the bottle. So if you think about shampoo bottle, I don’t think much about shampoo bottles. It would be really obvious some things to do. We could add nodules on the side of a shampoo bottle. That adds plastic to a shampoo bottle. That changes the manufacturing line. There are however many manufacturing lines of that product globally around. That changes the buy of the amount of plastic we need for a little nodule on the side of a bottle. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a lot. And in fact, what Shane did was he used lasers. He used a laser that was already in the manufacturing mix. And like you know you look at any plastic product, there’s that code that nobody knows what it means.
Mark Jones, CAE (06:42):
Amy Morrisey (06:42):
And the code is what lot number did it come from, what factory. So if you know how to read the code, that’s what the code is. Doesn’t matter. What he did was he said, wait a second, we’re already doing something. Could we do something a little bit better? Could we take technology that we already have and expand it to benefit an audience differently or, you know, in their mindset.
Mark Jones, CAE (07:04):
And that’s a huge message right there is,
Amy Morrisey (07:06):
Mark Jones, CAE (07:07):
Knowing probably the cost of redoing manufacturing. We’re talking beyond millions and millions of dollars for that type of product line. And so you think about associations today and other organizations that are dealing with accessibility with limited resources and even with the resources that P&G had, they couldn’t spend that type of money just to add something for an audience that really needed that additional component. And how do you do that? Innovative thought. And I think that’s what we’re going to have to have as we look in the association industry, innovative thought of how do we deliver education that’s available for everyone? And I’d love for you to talk about what you’re seeing today in the association industry and why do we need to worry about accessibility in the association? Does it help us reach a bigger audience and a larger audience? Does it allow us to touch on DEI, which accessibility in my mind touches each part of DEI, which is a huge important topic in the way we look at it.
Mark Jones, CAE (08:13):
And given today that we think about learning in different modalities where we’ve got the face-to-face, we’ve got the asynchronously, the on demand and online, the blended learning models. I think this is becoming more relevant for all of education. How do we deliver education, but how do we deliver it accessible? I mean, I’m not wearing my glasses right now and the screen is a lot blurry to me. Right. People that may have working in a profession, broken a wrist or something like that and can’t use their hands, or maybe they do have other more profound disabilities like blindness or neurodivergent issues with ADHD or other things of that nature. So I’d love to get some ideas of what that looks like today and what you’re seeing and let’s walk down that road of maybe some challenge barriers and opportunities that will come from that too.
Amy Morrisey (09:04):
Yeah, it’s a great question. A big question. I think for me, I think the first question we have to ask as associations is its sort of the why question. We have a lot of reasons why not. This might cost us too much money or does it really matter? I don’t know how. We never have done this before, but what are the why questions? So you mentioned diversity, equity, and inclusion. That’s gotten a lot of play in the last several years. It’s been important forever, but it’s gotten a lot of attention globally for organizations and by extension associations.
Amy Morrisey (09:50):
But some of that kind of lives in the land of the right thing to do. I was on a call as we were prepping with Procter & Gamble and a different associate of theirs who happened to be deaf, hard of hearing said, people often say one of the barriers that people will throw up, why can’t we, or why should we build accessible content? They’ll say something like, well, only maybe eight to 10% of our workforce is even managing through this. And his response was, yeah, eight to 10% of the workforce that got through a system that is not built for them, but they made it, they got there. What if you built the system for them? Forget learning. What kind of expansion could we have in really smart, talented people who see the world differently if we could just create systems. So think about this one. How many organizations, association or not do you see we are an equal opportunity employer?
Mark Jones, CAE (10:53):
All the time. Everybody.
Amy Morrisey (10:55):
All of them. And then you go to try to get a job at that organization and you maybe get it from Indeed and you get to download the PDF of the job description.
Mark Jones, CAE (11:05):
Amy Morrisey (11:07):
Job description is not accessible.
Mark Jones, CAE (11:09):
Of course it’s not.
Amy Morrisey (11:10):
But it has a little thing at the bottom that says they’re an equal opportunity employer except not for me. Right. And I don’t mean me, Amy, because I actually, fortunately for myself, haven’t had to deal with this, but my sister does. My sister’s profoundly blind, not profoundly blind. She’s legally blind, not profoundly blind. So you could be with her, know her, talk to her and never know this about her. So the other thing in your question was why should we care? Because it is highly under reported, highly. Disability is highly under reported. And you just said, I don’t have my glasses on today and I’m struggling a bit because I don’t have my glasses on. That’s not even reportable. You wouldn’t need to report that. And yet you’re still struggling to do part of your job without an accessible device.
Mark Jones, CAE (12:05):
Amy Morrisey (12:05):
Mark Jones, CAE (12:06):
Amy Morrisey (12:07):
So what are people doing? So well, it’s a little difficult for me because at Artisan we sort of start with WCAG compliance, WCAG compliance, which is the global standard that makes websites accessible. In the e-learning world, we kind of have to steal those requirements because there aren’t really e-learning requirements or standards, if you will.
Mark Jones, CAE (12:36):
Amy Morrisey (12:36):
So we sort of start with that as a base. That’s part of the way we think that we can help as a vendor partner, influence this conversation with our clients. And clients can opt out if they want to. They get to do that, but we don’t say, do you want to? We say we do this and here’s why. So does that cost a little bit more? Sure, it costs a little bit more. Is there value to everyone? I would venture to say yes, there’s value to effort.
Mark Jones, CAE (13:08):
Awareness would be the biggest value right there, right? As you start down that road, do you understand what it means to provide an accessible platform, a compliant platform, first of all, right,
Amy Morrisey (13:21):
Mark Jones, CAE (13:22):
To be able to deliver that type of education. But does it go beyond and does the organization,
Amy Morrisey (13:28):
Does it go beyond that? Yeah.
Mark Jones, CAE (13:30):
And is the organization,
Amy Morrisey (13:30):
Are you required in the United States right now? The only people required are government entities. So associations are not required. But why do I think it’s more important for associations to consider this even than your average corporation? Because you literally don’t know. In a corporation, I can put out a survey that says how many people experience X? In an association, there’s no way you can do that for every single learner that you’re getting. So why don’t we assume that everybody needs something?
Mark Jones, CAE (14:08):
So if I’ve got 5,000 members, 10,000 members or 100,000 members, we think about an audience. And today, given that again, face-to-face, moving into more on demand and asynchronous type of learning styles where you are using this digital footprint or a web access to engage in learning, it just makes sense that you would at least consider the foundation of what it takes to get there and what it takes to move forward in that area. So you can offer this to all audiences.
Amy Morrisey (14:43):
And the thing is, if you don’t, you have two things that happen. One, you have learners exit the process and you don’t even know why, right?
Mark Jones, CAE (14:53):
Amy Morrisey (14:55):
I’m leaving. I’m out.
Mark Jones, CAE (14:55):
Right now, I look at the associations and I look at what our adoption rate is for our learning anyway, and where are our members going because we don’t know. Just in a general sense, are they going over to our sister association or to a for-profit or another nonprofit organization that’s delivering education, whether it be for continuing legal education or medical education or certification or your license, wherever that may be? So if you’re already at maybe only 20 or 30% of that adoption of your own learning and you take off the other sector that’s out there that you may not even know about. Interesting concept there.
Amy Morrisey (15:33):
Yeah. So I was, just a little quick side story. My husband and I have gotten in, do you know the game Rummikub?
Mark Jones, CAE (15:39):
Amy Morrisey (15:39):
Heard of this game. I’ve never heard of it. Apparently the whole world knew about this game, but me, and we played it with some friends and now we’re kind of obsessed. So I couldn’t sleep the other night and I was like, well, there’s got to be an online version, you know? I didn’t get enough this evening playing, so I go to get an online version. It was very weird because if you play a game on your phone, it’s usually portrait. This one made you play in landscape. All of a sudden I’m like, why are you’re changing things for me? I stopped playing the game, not because I had any particular accessibility need. I stopped playing the game because the buttons were too small and my finger was too big. Right.
Amy Morrisey (16:21):
So I couldn’t on my phone function well enough to care enough about this game and I was out, like instantly out. Again, all I had was a fat finger. So when you think about little things you can do to make things more accessible, goodnight, can we just make our buttons a bit bigger? Just buttons bigger. So that helps me and my fat fingers. It helps somebody who has a hard time navigating with a mouse. You mentioned somebody maybe breaks a wrist, I think you said at the beginning, temporary. Well, I can’t navigate my mouse, so now I’m doing it with my non-dominant hand. That big button’s going to be really helpful to me. I’m neurodivergent and I need something to focus on. That big button is going, it’s just a big button. I’m not even going fully to all the standards. I’m just saying think about the learners and keeping them.
Mark Jones, CAE (17:19):
Amy Morrisey (17:19):
Mark Jones, CAE (17:20):
No, no, that’s huge. And when you think about the organizations that you interact with, what are they seeing? Is it we don’t have the financial resources, we’re not really concerned because it’s a smaller audience that we may or may not be focused on? Or is it really sitting down and mapping out a learning journey and how they’re going to deliver education and content to all learners?
Amy Morrisey (17:56):
Yeah, I would say probably with associations, I don’t want to throw a percentage out because I don’t really know it, but I’m going to say a good number are not doing it because they haven’t thought of it. We’re bringing the idea to them and asking that question. And sometimes they’ll say, yeah, we’ve heard of that, but we don’t think we’re required. But they don’t take it all the way down to but why would we do this? Whether that is because it aligns with our values, whether that is because universal design extends to more learners. You talked about when people leave because they’re going to a sister organization. Well, is there a goal to pull people from the sister organization back in? Right.
Amy Morrisey (18:45):
So they haven’t necessarily thought of it. Places where I’ve seen associations get it and for it to matter to them sometimes start with things like a trade association that might want to sell this learning someplace else. So now I want to sell it into maybe a trade school and that trade school might be a government entity, and can I do that? I will tell you, if you want to talk about the cost around accessibility, retrofitting a course that was not built to be accessible will cost you way more than building a good solid course from the beginning.
Mark Jones, CAE (19:28):
That’s huge to think about that, know that. And you brought up another great point. Associations again, right in the middle now of trying to figure out how do we continue to advance profession, make it valuable to all of our member, generational members that we have from our youngsters that are now into the workforce that have come out of the colleges and or other schools into the workforce or just coming out of high school into the workforce.
Amy Morrisey (19:56):
Mark Jones, CAE (19:56):
Then you’ve got your different levels of expertise all the way through. But when we think about how to deliver today in associations, it’s about how do we monetize that?
Amy Morrisey (20:08):
Mark Jones, CAE (20:09):
Membership models are changing. Not everybody wants the traditional membership and pay where sometimes we gave that learning away for low cost or free because it was wrapped into our membership dollars or expected our sponsors to pay for that type of education and learning. And if those that are wanting to sell that to colleges, universities, or to other sources because of their intellectual property, because of their expertise and subject matter expertise that they bring to the table because of the industry they serve, how can they advance themselves if it then becomes more and more requirement?
Amy Morrisey (20:47):
Mark Jones, CAE (20:48):
Like you said, you’re going into the government, you’re going into university or colleges. They’re expecting beyond the standards in accessibility.
Amy Morrisey (20:56):
Well, and even like, we don’t have a lot of this, but we’ve even had member companies working with an association we work with, and they say, we want that learning, but we want to brand it to our, we’re a member company. So they go to the association. Can I purchase this? Can I rebrand it? Can I add my own culture pieces to it or maybe a different process or something like that? So great. They say, yeah, no problem. Let’s get that. We’ve got now a nice non-dues revenue opportunity here. And then the corporation says, oh wait, it needs to be compliant because that’s our culture.
Mark Jones, CAE (21:40):
Yes, there you go. Huge.
Amy Morrisey (21:40):
Yeah. I mean, and it doesn’t, I’m not saying like, oh, that’s happening all the time and beware, beware. But when I go back to the question of I don’t think people are thinking fully about it. Personally, I think right now there’s a little bit of it’s being talked about a little bit more today than it was even five years ago. And so it’s sort of looking around like, okay, what is this? Am I supposed to do this? People keep talking about this. What is it?
Mark Jones, CAE (22:07):
Well, I would imagine even with just some of the standards that we’re dealing with today and talk about accessibility on the web, right, your websites, your mobile responsive pages that you can bring up, your mobile apps that you have there. More and more generational, we’re seeing a shift from these large screens that we’re looking at right now and desktops and laptops, down to smaller pad type devices, smaller footprint phone devices where a lot of that education is being delivered from. And so I can imagine that changes the whole spectrum, not only in accessibility, but also in just design and,
Amy Morrisey (22:52):
Mark Jones, CAE (22:53):
Not only integrating your design theory, your design strategy along with your learning strategy and your theory around learning too.
Amy Morrisey (23:02):
It’s really hard. One of the things we do a lot when we build is to try to create learner personas so that when we get ourselves in the thick of it, and you got two subject matter experts who also are volunteer board members who are also big egos, and how do we resolve their discomfort with one another? If we know that learner and we’ve built those learner personas, I think it helps us navigate through things. And what you’re talking about is for associations, has our learner changed, has that persona changed? And I think in some organizations the answers a clear yes. And I think in others maybe not so much. But if we understand who they are, how they consume learning, where they consume learning, then we can start building our design for learning. And I think the idea of accessibility is a bit of an overlay to that to say, and now what?
Amy Morrisey (24:03):
So I have young kids, not young kids, I have teenagers and young 20s. When I say young kids, I was like, they were four. They run around the house incessantly with AirPods in, and everything they watch has closed captioning, everything. They’re not doing it because they can’t see or they can’t hear, or they can’t whatever. They’re doing it because environmentally it helps them. So they can pop one of those out, have a half a conversation with me, not be able to hear it, still read the word. I mean, they’re using it. So who’s doing it? How are they doing? What are they about? And really understanding that to the best of our ability helps us create better learning.
Mark Jones, CAE (24:54):
That’s insightful. And I think about a generation that we’re going through and we talk about the future of work. What does learning look like in all areas today? And how do we continue to expand the opportunities for everybody that’s out there?
Amy Morrisey (25:13):
Mark Jones, CAE (25:14):
And when we think about associations, our members, we’re not talking about the association staff here. I mean that’s part of it. But what we’re talking about is their members and constituents of every industry that we serve in the world, whether it be medical, or healthcare, or legal, or automotive, or the actual trades, plumbing, electricity, all the different things that are out there. And I’m sure there not knowing the statistics, there may be particular industry sectors which have higher rates, but if you look across all of what we would consider accessibility type issues that are out there, it’s everybody. One in four people. You may have some statistics that are there that have some layer of disability, some in the profound area, some just in the traditional sense of hearing and seeing easily or finger size.
Amy Morrisey (26:18):
Mark Jones, CAE (26:19):
Amy Morrisey (26:21):
Yeah, in terms of statistics, there are lots out there. I tend to not quote them because I can’t seem to get a consistent one across because you can say one in four have, but how many are in the workforce? Well how many are reported? What disabilities are we counting when we report? So that number kind of fluctuates, but at the end of the day, here’s what I would ask. Do you know somebody who is fill in the blank, deaf, heard of hearing, has a sight impairment, has recently been injured and can’t fully function with an arm or a leg, somebody who has some sort of profound disability? If you start, somebody who’s neurodivergent.
Mark Jones, CAE (27:08):
Yeah, a lot of people don’t know what that means. But I mean, I guess simple things. What learning, like dyslexia, ADHD, is that what we mean there? I mean, for our audience, some people don’t, you hear that word and you think of something way out there, not something in the
Amy Morrisey (27:21):
Mark Jones, CAE (27:22):
Amy Morrisey (27:25):
Somebody on the autism spectrum. In essence, we have this notion that we all have a normal, there’s this, I hate to use it, but the normal brain. And so neurodivergence is something that diverges from that. So there’s something that makes me think different from whatever this standard of normal is. You can tell I don’t like that. But is it that I, like you said, I have a harder time paying attention. Something that the standards, by the way, this is, let me tell you something that I also believe. If the government standard is our highest bar, our bar’s too low because they’re not going to get there fast enough. So this whole understanding of and embracing of neurodivergence in the workforce, the standards haven’t really caught up really. The only real standard in WCAG 2.0 right now is nothing can flash or flicker. That would be for a person who maybe has epilepsy and we could be harming them in our course.
Amy Morrisey (28:28):
One other place where neurodivergence is covered a lot. So maybe I do have ADHD or maybe I’m a slow processor. I’m a good worker, but I need a little more time to take a course. Maybe I’m a slow processor, maybe I’m injured and I can’t move my keyboard as much. So one of the things in the standard is nothing can have a time component to it unless it’s legally necessary. And so like gamification, it’s a big thing in learning and oh, let’s race. Let’s all race and we’ll have a timer and a tick down and a this. And I just took a very large subset of the population and I put them at a disadvantage by my design. Not for gamification by itself, but by that timed element.
Mark Jones, CAE (29:14):
Interesting, interesting. See, these are the little things that I don’t think when we think of accessibility, you think of disability, we think of the extremes, right? Going to the, I’m in a wheelchair or I’m blind, or I have no use of my arms or appendages. And so you don’t think of just the day-to-day that’s there and that’s part of that. So as we look at, you started off when we talked about just what are kind of the challenges, what are we facing in the associations? First thing you said was just I think I want to sum it up to awareness, right? We’re just not really aware.
Mark Jones, CAE (29:51):
What are the things that we need to be thinking about as an organization and association? Just kind of maybe a little checklist of here’s some things I really need to be thinking about going forward that will help set me up for success in thinking about accessibility from the ground up versus trying to retrofit content, or curriculum, or something else like you said on the backside of it, thinking about it up front, how can you do it? And like you said, you don’t have to be all in 100%, but there may be some standard things that are there that if you don’t do these, you don’t take these steps, that it could be a long road in retrofitting that content. We know the expense and the time that it takes with that just alone.
Amy Morrisey (30:35):
Yeah. So there’s kind of a couple of questions in there. It’s a little tough to answer. So if you said on the awareness side, what are some things we can do? I would really start at the highest levels. I would say as associations or boards are looking at their curriculum overarchingly, can we bring the accessibility question to the table? Let’s start there to say, why is this important? How might it impact us and our members? What would it take? What would it take to get our existing content there? Or do we say there’s a line, we haven’t had that before and everything we build going forward is going to have accessibility. So I think some of it are those really high level, who are we, what do we believe in, what are we about, and are we willing to kind of put our money where our mouth is.
Amy Morrisey (31:33):
As we’re building things, we’re going to say we’re going to build them well for all. And I’ve been talking a lot about e-learning. That is also, you’re giving a presentation, you’re doing a virtual instructor led training. Use PowerPoint and turn closed captioning on. Because it is distracting to you when you are talking, it is not worth, like do what’s hard for you and easy for the audience. So those are some just very small, like the very small thing. So I would say one is go big, right? Have that big conversation. And then I would say, are there things that we could do for very, very low costs? They’re not going to meet all of the standards, but they’re going to make our learning just that much better. Closed captioning, it’s not hard anymore. It used to be hard. It’s not hard. Now, is it perfect? No, it is not perfect. But the AI closed captioning built into most tools, PowerPoint being the most prolific use it. As you’re designing things, color contrast. So we didn’t talk about this one at all.
Mark Jones, CAE (32:44):
Oh, that’s a big one.
Amy Morrisey (32:44):
We talked about blindness, but we didn’t talk about colorblindness and every one of us,
Mark Jones, CAE (32:50):
Which is even more prevalent.
Amy Morrisey (32:50):
Mark Jones, CAE (32:51):
It’s amazing how many times I’ve done a presentation in a classroom style presentation and I’m describing something on the screen, the red or the green, this is the red button or the red switch and the green switch. And somebody raises their hand and says, I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Amy Morrisey (33:11):
Mark Jones, CAE (33:12):
And you’re gesturing your hand back to the screen without a laser pointer or anything else. I can’t see that.
Amy Morrisey (33:19):
I don’t. That’s not helpful.
Mark Jones, CAE (33:20):
So can you describe that as part of the process? That was one of the first awarenesses I had as somebody that was presenting and not thinking about the audience as I’m describing a component of a,
Amy Morrisey (33:31):
Yeah. And if you go to WebAIM, W-E-B-A-I-M.com, color contrast is exactly what we’re talking about. It’s contrast. So it’s not what color you’re using, it’s what colors you’re using on top of one another. Every one of us has been in a live or a digital class where there’s some sort of lime green something with white and we can’t, but the whole, it’s in an infographic and it makes the infographic look pretty. Well, the infographic looking pretty, but it is not a helpful infographic because a subset of us cannot read it. Which would you prefer helpful or pretty? Pick Helpful. That’s the right answer.
Amy Morrisey (34:10):
So there are things like that, color contrast, bigger buttons, closed captioning. How about at conferences? How are you giving a nod to accessibility at conferences? If you have a PowerPoint template that you send out to all of your speakers, is that PowerPoint template accessible? Don’t give them something. You would be shocked at how many conferences we speak at where we get the template or we get the thing that you’re supposed to put on slide one or we get whatever and we go back and we say, could we please have an accessible version of this? The contrast on this isn’t very good.
Mark Jones, CAE (34:49):
Amy Morrisey (34:50):
Mark Jones, CAE (34:50):
What about, you mentioned PDFs, so taking of these examples here, you mentioned PDFs when you first started off.
Amy Morrisey (34:55):
Mark Jones, CAE (34:56):
How does somebody go about, just in general terms, making a PDF accessible?
Amy Morrisey (35:01):
Yeah, it’s not terribly easy to make PDFs accessible. They’re not as,
Mark Jones, CAE (35:10):
Oh, that’s good. So that’s a hard one, right? But we need to consider that.
Amy Morrisey (35:12):
Well, I mean, they haven’t come along as much. There’s so many accessibility features. The other thing I would just say before we go to PDFs,
Mark Jones, CAE (35:18):
Amy Morrisey (35:18):
Everywhere, go select accessibility in your phone, in your computer, in your PowerPoint, in your Word. Go in there and look and see. They’re doing it. They’re doing good jobs like Google and Microsoft and Apple, they’re doing a good job. They’re on it. So go see what they’re doing and see if there’s something in your learning that you could maybe augment or take that and do something different with it. PDFs, if you have one or two PDFs, if we’re talking a small number, Google how to make PDFs accessible and go find somebody and pay them a small amount of money. That’s your fastest way to get there. If we’re just talking about one PDF page, there are companies that do this. I can’t think of one off the top of my head of course right now, but I promise Google will get you there.
Amy Morrisey (36:09):
What you’re looking for as you’re making anything accessible is not only what we kind of see on the front end, but it’s also how people navigate things on the back end. So everything that needs to be accessible needs to be maneuverable with a keyboard only. So push your tab key and see what happens. You’ll see if you push your tab key, you’ll see kind of a, like a halo around whatever part you are. And sometimes that tab order they call it is very illogical when it’s built in. So you go, here’s the menu. And so imagine if you’re using your tab button to try to get places, it’s confusing. So that’s one of the harder things to do, is to get that tab order because behind the scenes. But simpler things, font size. Some of us get all sassy about a 12-point font size because it looks.
Mark Jones, CAE (37:05):
Yeah, especially on your conference badge when you go and you’re trying to read somebody’s name, right? It’s in 20 point font. How about 50 point font so I can remember Amy’s name as I’m walking up to say hi. Right.
Amy Morrisey (37:16):
Mark Jones, CAE (37:17):
And of course when you’re looking at a screen, the same thing.
Amy Morrisey (37:19):
Yep. But in PDFs, things that you can do easily, font size, color contrast is not hard. If it’s a fillable PDF, does that tab order go in an appropriate order? And all of us can figure that out pretty simply. So again,
Mark Jones, CAE (37:36):
That’s some good basics.
Amy Morrisey (37:36):
Not one of the easiest ones, but let’s take our low hanging fruit where we can get it.
Mark Jones, CAE (37:40):
Yeah. But PDFs are huge out there. Today, traditionally associations are using a lot of those to deliver content online or as a resource guide or as opposed to the document itself they can.
Amy Morrisey (37:53):
Yeah. So here’s another one. Take your PDF and put it into an iPad or an iPhone that has a natural screen reader build into it or a screen reader from there and just see if it’s reading it, see if working. If it’s not working, then you know people who need that aren’t getting it.
Mark Jones, CAE (38:12):
These are great examples.
Amy Morrisey (38:14):
Just little simple ideas to say, I don’t exactly know how to fix it, but let me see where my problems are.
Mark Jones, CAE (38:18):
Yeah. When we think about engagement and involvement, just trying to make it better. You and I have talked in the past about wouldn’t it be great for the systems that are out there that really could allow those that have more profound disabilities to be able to create the content and do other type of work in that administrative side besides just be the consumer of that education and that knowledge. Because think of the talent pool, the volunteerism that you could bring in for those if they had that capability to deliver that type of subject matter expertise, which we so dearly are always needing from our constituents out in there, in our industries that we serve.
Amy Morrisey (39:07):
Yeah. And so many of the tools that it takes to create learning are not accessible themselves. And so depending on what struggle that whether, like I said, could be a struggle, like I broke my wrist. Or it could be as we’ve been talking about, blindness, imprecise use of a mouse and I can’t do things to get my job done. It limits my abilities.
Mark Jones, CAE (39:35):
So as we kind of look at wrapping up today, is there anything that you look at in the next frontier or things that would be important for our audience, or CEOs, or staff that’s dealing with learning day-to-day to really think about different than what we’ve already talked about, anything that’s out there that we may need to be considering? I know AI is going to be very interesting in how we create content, how we develop curriculum, how we develop images and things of that nature. That will be interesting to see if accessibility standards as we begin to utilize those tools for our education and learning purposes, is that going to be in formats that come out in that standpoint, or are we going to have to,
Amy Morrisey (40:22):
Mark Jones, CAE (40:22):
Or maybe that’s the thing. Maybe it will give us the opportunity to be faster in creating the content, the curriculum, and now we get to work on the things that have been the hard things to tackle, like working on making our content truly accessible from that standpoint, because we’re not having to spend as much time in the creation of it. Maybe that 80, 20 rule. Right. Now, we can do 80% through AI and 20% to validate it, get it right, and everything of that nature.
Amy Morrisey (40:51):
Yeah, I’ll be curious where AI and accessibility converge. It will happen. I mean, it’s all moving so fast. We know it will, but I don’t know what that looks like. I do think because you bring up AI, it’s not what we’ve been talking about, but of course I have ideas and opinions. I think with AI, anytime we’re moving AI into learning, we have to just like everything, have a moment of conversation about our risk. So we’ve already seen lawsuits come into play about how that information comes in. And is it copyrightable? No, it’s not copyrightable because it came from all of that kind of stuff. I think we have to be thinking about that. And I also think one of the things that Debra Zabloudil said, we say it all the time that as an association, we should be the unbiased source of information in our industry.
Amy Morrisey (41:42):
And we have to ask ourselves how unbiased is it to use AI to generate things, but flip that, how much expertise and content lives within your members? And could we start getting AI to sort of help us start processing and simplifying and organizing content that we already have? So we were talking about this at ASAE, making it up. We go do a session at our annual conference and we have our best experts at that session. And we take that and we get the transcript and we put it into AI and we start thinking about what prompts would we want to know? Can you give me the five key ideas from this session ChatGPT, can you do that for me? Could you take this session and build an outline for me? What would we want? So now we’re not worried about the outside world. We’re saying with the content that lives within our association and there are massive amounts of it, how could we use AI to help us suss out what we need, what we want, what’s important today?
Mark Jones, CAE (42:58):
That is a great topic for a future conversation because if we can really leverage that knowledge base within our associations and their industry expertise, that’s a lot different model and a lot different looks.
Amy Morrisey (43:15):
People aren’t really talking about it, I don’t think. Can I tell you,
Mark Jones, CAE (43:19):
Well, it’s new.
Amy Morrisey (43:19):
Mark Jones, CAE (43:22):
And I think we’re trying to figure out how to use AI in associations,
Amy Morrisey (43:26):
Mark Jones, CAE (43:27):
For our learning. Right.
Amy Morrisey (43:29):
Mark Jones, CAE (43:29):
Are we looking at to help us with coaching or peer review or other things of that nature? Are we really, probably the biggest challenge I would imagine is the time that it takes to develop content. If you already have a layer, now we’ve been talking about accessibility and the time and the resources that it can take to do that. And we think about AI maybe being able to help out with that delivery of content. But that’s a whole other topic.
Amy Morrisey (43:54):
It’s a whole other topic.
Mark Jones, CAE (43:56):
Yeah, no doubt. Anything else that you got that you want to close with? This has been a great conversation so far so.
Amy Morrisey (44:03):
Yeah. You know what? I would just say, for me, when I have been in the learning world and when I started kind of opening my mind to accessible learning, I felt like there was a lot of all or nothing thinking, smidge of shame-based stuff out there, which hopefully that doesn’t feel like that. And when I flipped that, instead of saying, I have to be perfect, and if I’m not perfect, I might as well not do anything. And I flipped it to say, why does this matter? Who does this matter for in my life? Can I Amy personify this need? And all of a sudden when I started just paying attention, changing my life algorithm to say, this is what I want you to feed me. I want you to feed me like why accessibility matters and how I could be more helpful to all learners. That helped me.
Amy Morrisey (45:08):
So if somebody listening is that CEO, or that chairperson of the board, or that influencer, or that VP of learning within an association, I would just say change your algorithm in your kind of life and change your algorithm online. Right now go search accessibility in LinkedIn, in TikTok, in whatever social media you’re in. Because what they’re going to do is say, oh, you care. Let me feed you more of this. I will continue to feed you and I don’t think you can turn away once you start getting fed this stuff. So that would be my hot tip of the day.
Mark Jones, CAE (45:47):
Hot tip of the day. I love it. Love it. Amy, thank you so much. We appreciate your time today. As always, a pleasure. Looking forward to our next conversations.
You’ve been listening to Learning by Association, a podcast, that’s all about helping associations stay a step ahead with learning. This episode was produced by D2L, a global learning innovation company, helping organizations reshape the future of education and work. To learn more about our solutions for associations and organizations, please visit us at www.d2l.com. Don’t forget to subscribe so you can stay up to date with new episodes. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next time.