Full Accessibility Site Audit
Design your website now to meet accessibility guidelines.
Last month I partnered with internet marketing company, Hochman Consultants, as a part-time Senior Consultant to add usability and accessibility services for their clients.
Since this is new, I felt I might take some time to answer your questions about how and where to hire me for usability and accessibility site reviews.
As an independent consultant I am a third party vendor for agencies in need of website usability assistance.
Building and promoting a website is not a one-person job anymore. The technology changed quickly, creating the need for more skills. Internet marketing has grown into its own industry, with branches for people and companies to specialize in, such as search engine optimization and paid advertising campaigns.
Programmers scramble to learn the next new language. Mobile devices created a market for mobile apps. The internet made video and podcasts possible, which also requires equipment and software. Security, server maintenance, and updates to content management software like WordPress can be a daily routine.
Even though there are services that provide cheap and easy website hosting and design, they are inexpensive because the site owners do not know or care about meeting user experience, usability and accessibility guidelines, standards and compliance.
Eventually I found myself unable to help new or existing clients because what they asked for was out of my area of expertise.
Although I have enjoyed being a sub-contractor and developed relationships with internet marketing agencies over many years, the projects began to slow down in frequency as more companies hired more in-house staff.
Even now, however, selling usability and accessibility is difficult. Building websites that everyone can use is not a business requirement for the vast majority of companies out there.
When I directed my passion for user experience and human behavior for websites towards studying for certification in accessibility, I began to write about it more often. Being an advocate for disabled persons, or anyone with a physical, mental, or emotional impairment, permanent or temporary, came naturally for me because accessibility is a close cousin to usability.
I have known Jonathan Hochman for about 15 years. We met as speakers at search engine marketing conferences and our paths would cross over the years. He has a legal background, which attracted him to the accessibility testing work I do.
They provide services that I could no longer provide for the target market I enjoy working with, which is small and medium businesses.
I retained my own consulting business so that I can continue to serve larger companies who require more robust website or software testing.
For Hochman Consultants, site maintenance and support falls into their wheelhouse. Web design and marketing solutions for startups and smaller companies are provided at especially reasonable fees. I will be adding a layer of support for each client in the areas of making sure their websites meet all the current design guidelines for conversions and search engines.
Most importantly, because of the rise in ADA website accessibility lawsuits, I will be providing accessibility reviews, testing and guidance to clients.
Both of our websites were redesigned and are live but are works in progress as we get used to the changes a partnership brings. I will be assisting with their newsletter and writing in their blog, while continue to write here and for Search Engine Journal.
If you are a small or medium business in need of a full service agency, please go directly to Hochman Consultants and start there. I am part of their team and can be added to existing projects or hired for specific usability and accessibility reviews and testing. In fact, you can book usability reviews now.
The internet marketing agencies and SEO consultants with whom I provide usability and conversions website audits for will find there is no change. I continue to be a sub-contractor for digital marketing companies with clients whose websites need usability or accessibility support. You can email me or use the form to tell me about your website.
I am excited to continue my favorite work, which is helping companies improve their websites so that their online business generates more revenue, traffic and customer loyalty.
Partnering with Hochman Consultants means that more doors will open for small and medium businesses who wish to compete with larger businesses online.
If the competition isn’t paying attention to usability, accessibility, conversions and mobile design, and your website does, guess who gets the traffic and revenue?
In a park anywhere where there are trees is a tree I’ll call Tree. One day Tree thought how nice it might be to check its data to study its performance as a tree.
So it counted up its branches and leaves to see how many it had. Every season, year after year, Tree tracked its leaves and branches. It learned that during winter when it slept, its branches were bare. In spring, every branch lit up in a burst of color as it flowered and swayed in gentle breezes until each flower became a new leaf. Tree counted its flowers and how many became a leaf. And year after year, Tree grew taller and expanded its roots deeper into the earth.
Tree watched its performance as a tree and felt proud of its numbers of branches and leaves. It paid no mind to actually doing anything productive with the data. It was satisfied to simply be Tree and make no adjustments that might enhance the experience of being Tree or standing out in the forest where there are trees.
Also in the park that is anywhere there are trees is a tree I’ll call Oak. Every year that Oak celebrated its birthday with a new ring, it would rejoice in its blessing at being an Oak. It too grew taller and its branches spread out in all directions. Oak monitored its growth the same way that Tree did, counting branches and leaves and measuring its growth.
As was typical for the park that is anywhere there are trees, people came to visit.
When the children saw Oak, they would run fast and leap up into its branches, climbing higher and higher. Couples would arrive on very hot days, bringing a blanket and picnic lunch of sandwiches and wine. Walkers and runners stopped for rest and shade at Oak’s side and sometimes a human would spontaneously wrap their arms around its large trunk and whisper thanks for its majesty and beauty.
Years passed. Oak grew, but also lost limbs during storms and sometimes it withered a bit from drought, but still the humans came to visit. Tree was a good tree that withstood the same weather conditions. It would count the number of birds who visited, but none would stay to build a nest. Sometimes a human would walk up to Tree and admire it and Tree would add that visit to its collection of data, but would do no more.
Oak was less interested in vanity metrics. Some years humans in work clothes would arrive in the park to trim its branches. And still the children came to climb. Birds and squirrels found safety and sustenance with Oak and made it their own community. Humans would take out their cellphones to get pictures with Oak in the background. Oak was always fascinated by these interactions and wondered what it could do to bring them all more joy? Based on data and observations, Oak decided it wanted to do something more.
After a time, Oak collected enough data that helped it create something new based on how it was being used by one specific set of users — humans. It had listened to their words as they spoke on their picnic blankets and knew what made them sad, afraid, and happy or at peace. Oak discovered that children begged to return for more visits. So, based on that observation, Oak devised a way to test a theory which was that providing something humans desired would attract more visits.
And so Oak, being wise and of the earth, created a new, very strong larger branch that extended over the nearby creek. It took some time, but one day a family came to visit the park and they brought their children, a used rubber tire and rope which they attached to Oak’s very strong new branch. Oak watched in delight as the years continued to pass and every summer humans came to swing over the creek from its very strong branch to jump into the creek and swim. Day after day, year after year, Oak hosted humans and wildlife with such joy that it eventually no longer counted its branches and leaves or monitored its performance. The test proved Oak’s theory that providing something humans wanted or needed to improve their experience would increase visits.
Meanwhile, Tree continued to count its leaves and branches and grow taller. But it was rarely noticed by people because Tree didn’t care about what they did, why they might stick round longer or even if they left. Tree didn’t want to be useful and didn’t measure how long any human or wildlife stayed around. It gathered facts, but didn’t ask questions. Whenever people came to the park and passed Tree by, it didn’t think to ask why that might be. All that mattered to Tree was how many branches and leaves it had and that it continued to grow taller.
For Oak, its metrics had to be actionable and help it make better decisions. Oak watched the activity around it, who used it and how it engaged with its users. It looked for more opportunities for growth and patterns of use. From that it learned it was loved, recommended and shared.
And for Tree, its quarterly evaluations didn’t change because it didn’t bother to look past the data and into what it could do to make improvements or create desire.
I hope you enjoyed this simple introduction to data analytics, evaluating results and making decisions to improve usability and conversions.
Perhaps you will one day stand out in your forest of competition.
Several years ago Matt Bailey was contracted by the state of Pennsylvania as part of a massive effort by then Governor Rendell to update every state website to meet Section 508 accessibility standards. I was brought in by Matt to perform a layer of usability testing, and assist with accessibility.
I met Matt many years before that while we were both SEO’s. He is known all over the world as a speaker, writer and trainer on internet marketing, SEO, and accessibility. Having been interviewed by him before, Matt noticed that I have been writing more about the rise in ADA lawsuits and related accessibility topics. We caught up again to discuss accessibility, inclusive design and the importance of making sure websites work for everyone.
You can listen to the 30 minute podcast or read the transcript.
Kim Krause Berg joins Matt to talk about recent developments in Accessibility. Primarily driving this discussion are the recent increase in accessibility lawsuits. Past court rulings put websites in the same class as a commercial business; they have to accommodate and provide for anyone to access their store just as much as their website.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cheshire, CT April 15 (Press Release) – Search marketing agency, Hochman Consultants, announces the addition of Consultant, Kim Krause Berg, owner of Creative Vision Web Consulting, LLC, of Quakertown, PA, to its digital marketing and web site development team.
Kim Krause Berg is a website usability and accessibility consultant specializing in website testing, meeting website ADA legal compliance and standards, usability and conversions website audits and business requirements support. Her career spans over twenty years and includes search engine marketing, online community management, software QA testing, speaking and training.
“Joining Hochman Consultants as a Consultant is the perfect opportunity for me to assist individuals, startups and small to medium businesses that want a well built, competitive, standards compliant website. It takes a team to build an online business and partnering with Hochman Consultants provides me with highly skilled professionals with the same passion I have for small businesses. Combining our talents creates a win-win for clients wishing to hire one full service agency committed to their success year after year,” states Ms. Berg.
She will be responsible for developing new usability and accessibility services geared towards small and medium businesses wishing to meet today’s fast paced competitive, technical, legal, mobile and inclusive design guidelines and requirements, while maintaining the existing customer oriented, friendly culture Hochman Consultants are known for.
Hochman Consultants, a well-known provider of workshops and training, will expand client education and industry support through the development of new educational opportunities for clients and from their new website, presently in development.
Senior Consultant, Jonathan Hochman, describes the addition to his staff as a positive step for clients expecting expert support or wishing to explore new growth opportunities for their online business. “Kim’s vision has long aligned with ours. The focus of SEO should be to make websites better so that they produce more value. We look forward to Kim helping small enterprises compete online. The market continues to evolve with increasing demands for website security, mobile optimization, ADA compliance and ease of use. Kim’s skills will help us address these critical needs for our clients.”
About Creative Vision Web Consulting, LLC
Kim Krause Berg owns Creative Vision Web Consulting, LLC, (creativevisionwebsiteconsulting.com) providing usability consulting services that take advantage of her extensive experience. She launched her first website, Cre8pc.com (decommissioned), in 1996 as a search engine optimization teaching site. In 1998, she founded Cre8asiteforums, the first forums to discuss usability and accessibility topics. It was closed May 25, 2018. She taught Basic Website Usability at the Search Engine College for 12 years. Her combined work experience in software testing, internet marketing, human factors, accessibility, information architecture and web design is rare. Kim is a columnist, speaker, trainer, photographer and has conducted video interviews for her local clients.
About Hochman Consultants
Hochman Consultants (hochmanconsultants.com) was established in 2004 as a boutique search marketing agency. Founded by Jonathan Hochman, both he and Senior Consultant, Robert M. Jackson, help small businesses better leverage the opportunities that the internet provides. Their experienced staff helps clients increase sales, save money and reduce risk through a wide range of digital marketing services, current web design and legal standards and educational support. The company provides exceptional customer focused digital support by esteemed consultants with a wide range of skills and work experience.
For additional information:
615 W. Johnson Ave., Suite 202
Cheshire, CT 06410-4543