Episode Notes

Zack talks with Joe Hodge from American Printing House for the Blind, about building websites and systems for the visually impaired. They discuss why accessibility plugins may not be the panacea they claim to be and why good accessibility practices are beneficial to all users. 

Links from the episode: 

WAI Standards Guidelines 

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  • 07:09. Producing content for the visually impaired
  • 12:17. Being aware of Global Awareness Day
  • 16:15. Microsoft and Adobe accessibility checkers
  • 22:02. Making your website accessible


Zack Glaser (00:35): 

Hi, I’m Zack. 


Stephanie Everett (00:36): 

And I’m Stephanie Everett. And this is episode 448 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today, Zach talks with Joe Hodge about office and website accessibility and how to build these systems in a way that works for the visually impaired community. 


Zack Glaser (00:53): 

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual Receptionists, Clio, & LawPay. We wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support, so stay tuned and we’ll tell you more about them later on. 


Stephanie Everett (01:02): 

So Zach, we have some new offerings on our website that we’re really excited about and want to just shout from the rooftops and tell the community today. 


Zack Glaser (01:11): 

Absolutely. We’ve been working on it for a little while, but we have put out a lawyer store where we have digital downloads. We have used some of the assets that our partner, sister company, mother company, affinity Consulting group already had and have adjusted them and put them in a way for small to medium sized law firms. Go out there and download Microsoft Teams for legal professionals, Microsoft Word for legal professionals, and a lot of other digital downloads. 


Stephanie Everett (01:43): 

And you’ve heard our friends from Affinity on the podcast, these people understand Word. And what really hit it for me is like you’d be pretty alarmed if you walked into your doctor’s office and your doctor didn’t know how to use a stethoscope, right? Yes. See, I got glad I got that reaction from you. Yes, it’d be crazy. And yet the one instrument that most Lawyerist use, I get it, not everybody, but for the vast majority of us, we are using Microsoft Word every day. It is our tool, it’s our stethoscope. And so many of us actually don’t know how to use it. We don’t know how to set up styles, we don’t know how to do all the things that it is designed to do. And this manual is going to be your step-by-step guide. I mean, I’ve used it, it’s amazing. I was like, where has this been my whole life? Honestly, it’s going to be the go-to office resource for your team, in my humble opinion, because it’s pretty freaking amazing. It 


Zack Glaser (02:39): 

Is. And the experts that made it really, really know their stuff. But I kind of challenge people on this where you get out of law school and you go, well, I’ve been using Microsoft Word for what feels like a hundred years. Yes. But are you a power user? Are you somebody that really is able to do it quickly, really is able to set things up? Can you answer questions that your team has about how to set up styles, how to adjust things in the notebook? Can you do redlining well? Can you share that document? Do you know have the right metadata? All of those things. Yes, you can use it. Yes, you use it every day, but do you use it Well and to its full extent. 


Stephanie Everett (03:19): 

Yeah. And how about that tabled of authorities? Because I heard recently somebody was actually typing dot, dot, dot and putting the number in. Oh yeah. Guess what guys? There’s a way. You don’t have to do that. In fact, you should not do that. If you do it right, it builds. 


Zack Glaser (03:36): 

Exactly, exactly. And these are the type of assets that you can have on hand to help your entire team do that. 


Stephanie Everett (03:42): 

So if you want to learn more and check these out, you can go to Lawyerist dot com slash resources slash Lawyerist dot store or just go to Lawyerist dot com. In the resources tab you’ll see a new dropdown for the store. And that’s where you can find all these materials plus a whole bunch more. 


Zack Glaser (04:01): 

And we’ll definitely drop the link in the show notes here and everywhere that you see it. Well now here is my conversation with Joe Hodge. 


Joe Hodge (04:12): 

Hi, my name is Joe Hodge. I’m a lead quality assurance analyst at the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky. 


Zack Glaser (04:20): 

Joe, thanks for being with me today. I really appreciate you joining me. And in case people don’t know, and I’m not extremely familiar, but American Printing House for the Blind is the largest kind of content creator for the blind in the United States. 


Joe Hodge (04:35): 

So the largest braille producer for the blind in the United States. We also do, we have a talking book studio. We have a actual manufacturing plant where they actually put together the braille books. And then we have where I work in more of the technology side. So we’re starting to do in the last, I’d say probably decade, maybe two decades, we’ve been sort of branching out and as all things you knowle as far as the actual textbook is still predominant, but you’re sort of wanting to do a shift into a sort of technological, as you guys have had the Kindle right, we’re leaning to how can we get that braille textbook and trim it down and put it into a sort of electronic device. So electronic braille, we call it sort of the world. So we’re working on that braille display for those who don’t know anything about braille or braille displays. 



So imagine a braille display has probably different pins in it. There’s tons of moving parts and they roughly cost around $3,000. So to make a tablet, if you will, is quite a big deal and has taken a long time in the making. So that’s where we’re today we’re actually, we have a device called the Monarch that’s that is the first ever sort of e tablet if that will take that textbook, the Braille textbook and put it into someone’s hands. And that’s important cause it takes roughly anywhere between six months to a year to actually go from a textbook to a braille textbook. So to get that printing done, to get the binding done and then back to the students hands, it can just take some time. 


Zack Glaser (06:18): 

Okay. So yeah, we’re talking the speed of technology is not really kind of getting into, literally getting into people’s hands as 


Joe Hodge (06:27): 

Quickly. Exactly. Yeah. 


Zack Glaser (06:29): 

Well was, you already started off educating me a lot on this, but B, kind of going down a path that I wanted to talk about here. Obviously at American Printing House for the blind, not only are you dealing in content that is created to be accessible, but you’re on the leading edge of that, what people are doing in that content area. So I guess my question then is, when building something for people who are either totally blind or low vision, what are some of the ways that those people are interacting with content? How do we think of producing content for people in those scenarios? 


Joe Hodge (07:09): 

So a lot of the times it’s a focus group. So APH where I work is very fortunate in that we have a direct, so our primary market is the education market. So we’re looking at kids k12. So a lot of times what we’ll do is we’ll talk to the teachers, the visually impaired. So Scott did it myself. Teachers, the low vision, we’re sort of changing that whole thing so little you get down a trap there, but they still call them TBIs. So it’s teachers visually impaired. So basically what happens is we’ll meet with them and say, Hey, what is your pain points? What is it that you need? And then we might also go out and sometimes shadow a teacher, what is their eight hour day? What can make that better? Cause obviously the better that and the more time that they have to sort of FaceTime, I call it FaceTime with each student, the more that student’s going to gain. 



So a lot of times these teachers are out there and they might have, they’re traveling, so they have to travel from one place to another. A lot of times don’t often, a lot of the kids who are blind or low vision are not in school for the blinds anymore. They’re in public schools. I went to a public school and so a lot of times we’re looking at a situation where we’re going out and we’re saying, Hey, what can make this teacher and then also then make this student’s life better. So it could be a situation where it’s a braille display where it’s interfacing with their iPhone or iPad and this helps the student do their schoolwork or whatever the problem might be solving. So there’s a things, but that’s why the Monarch actually exist thing about, so we were out and one of the things that’s happening is kids aren’t getting their, for example, I’ll take biology as an example here, they’re not getting their biology book till quarter of the way through the semester. And so what’s happening that student’s been so far behind and it might be their senior year, it’s really harming the education of folks that it shouldn’t be harming at this point in time. So that’s kind of what we do. We go out and look at that problem and then we try to take that back and say, how can we solve this? How can we get better? 


Zack Glaser (09:11): 



Joe Hodge (09:11): 

Does that answer your question? 


Zack Glaser (09:13): 

In a slightly roundabout way. And I just want to kind of keep teasing it at that little bit of the Monarch being a e display, an E-reader, that is for, and I don’t remember if we were talking about this before we hit record or after, but the, it’s an e-reader that displays in braille, correct. If I’m saying that right. And one of the things that you guys are able to do at a P h is to take textbooks, school textbooks and put them into a fashion where they can be displayed in this monarch, in this braille e-reader. And that gets it to people faster that gets this information because even a textbook that’s being printed takes a while to get yes compiled, printed, and then out into people’s hands. And then we take that and put it into braille, like you’re saying, that takes even longer to get into people’s hands. And so having a tool like The Monarch or something like that not only is helping with literal accessibility, but this temporal accessibility, this ability to get this information faster as well. 


Joe Hodge (10:22): 

Exactly. I’m glad you brought all this up cause this is something we did talk about before that I wanted to mention from the top. So you had me in here on Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Yes. And it’s one of those days that is just, it’s remarkable to see the world sort of think about accessibility just for a day. But it’s that mindset. So as I mentioned, you Apple, Google, all the big players put out something that’s happening in their company for accessibility. And it’s a fun time to see when I was growing up as a kid and paying an extreme amount of money for accessible technology to see this all come to fruition, I never thought I would’ve saw it in my lifetime as a kid because it was so unreachable that Apple or Microsoft or any of these that I could even buy a computer and just start it up and be able to navigate it on my own without some sort of third party software is just, it’s pretty cool. 


Zack Glaser (11:17): 

It would be. That would be. But we still, even with companies like Apple, like Google kind of putting some emphasis on accessibility, it still requires participation from the other companies that are creating content now. Companies like Lawyerist. Yes. Trying to make their websites more accessible, trying to make their processes more accessible. Quite frankly, today as we are recording this podcast on a platform called Riverside, I realized that this platform, when I hit record, doesn’t have any audio that tells you that it’s recording. It has a series of numbers that does a countdown, which is kind of neat. But I’ve never thought about the fact that there’s no in Zoom and sometimes it says recordings started. But in this platform it doesn’t. At least from my side, it doesn’t appear to have done 


Joe Hodge (12:07): 

That in my side either. No. 


Zack Glaser (12:09): 

So building with that in mind, there come days where you have to think about that and we certainly don’t always. 


Joe Hodge (12:15): 

Yeah, exactly. 


Zack Glaser (12:17): 

So that kind of leads me to getting into specifically lawyer stuff. What are the things that we need to be thinking about in that area? If we’re talking about Global Awareness Day, what are things that would help us be more aware of that? 


Joe Hodge (12:32): 

So I think you have to start from the ground up. I was telling you before, and I don’t mind sharing this with anybody out there, but I, this is not quite related to Lawyerist, but it’s similar. So last year had a cancer diagnosis and was going to a doctor’s and the first time I went in the doctor’s office, they called my name and they said, did you bring your packet? And I said, what packet? And they said the thing that we mailed you. And I was like, well, I’m totally blind. And they said, well, and I said to myself, I thought to myself, and I actually said this to the lady, I said, do you have this on MyChart? Cause I’m like, well maybe I missed it. My chart’s a online thing that you can store your health data. And she goes, oh no, we don’t put any of our documents on my chart. 



Which I was like, we have all this technology. So this goes to what you were saying Zach, just a second ago. We have all this technology in place, but then the fundamentals are missed. So I think from getting to the lawyer point of the people listening to this podcast side of things, I think that when you look at it, it’s not just having an accessible website, it’s having accessible forms. It’s having from that moment you do the intake to the moment that you do the sign off that everything was to a point accessible for that person. So if I’m reaching out for some legal advice and I am coming into your office and you’re on the 30 floor and the elevators don’t have any braille on by the buttons like that. Oh on right. 


Zack Glaser (14:05): 

Guessing what floor am I on? And then what order are these buttons going to be in? Cause I can take an educated guess, but that’s about it. Yeah, 


Joe Hodge (14:12): 

Exactly. And all we can do is laugh about stuff like that. And I’m going to get into some website stuff here in, but it’s something about when you are doing these, the answer, I think it’s always good to ask somebody. So just because and don’t assume something cause of someone’s disability. So for example, someone who’s blind may not read braille. I think the assumption is that all people who are blind read braille, right? That’s not always the case because if you lose your vision later in life or something, you may choose not to learn a lot of braille. You may know enough to play cards or even get to the right elevator floor or whatever, but you may not know how to read a document. So I think sometimes asking, would you like a document to be in speech or would you like a Word document maybe or something like that could be nice. 



The other thing is offering to read through it. When I sold my house I had to, and that’s what SAT lawyer who read contract. So PDFs, they can be accessible but they can be also very frustrating. Cause depending on how images and things are laid out in there, it can be a stressful time. So if you can, the world loves PDFs, I do not. But the great thing that has come in the last I’d say five years is there are accessibility checkers. They’re not a hundred percent accurate, but they’ll at least give you an idea of what is going on. So Adobe has a accessibility checker. For example, Microsoft in office has an accessibility checker. So you, when you’re done writing your document, so for example, one of the biggest things with images, so that the number one thing, and I’m sorry I don’t want to jump way ahead here, but No, it’s fine. The number one thing with images is to make sure that you have all text. So all text is basically it’s around what we call a tweet. So it’s around hundred 50 characters of what the image is. It’s the important aspect of an image. Now I don’t know how many images are in a lot of law documents, that may not be a big deal, but it is a bigger deal on the website. So that’s where, yeah, I want to mention it here. But I also will mention again, when we started talking about the web, 


Zack Glaser (16:15): 

I didn’t know that the Microsoft word and Adobe had accessibility checkers built into them. I see some things related to accessibility in the documents sometimes, but I don’t really dig into that and I’ve never thought about the idea of, so one of the more common things that Lawyerist create is an engagement letter and it’s just the letter that says here’s what we’re planning on doing for you and here’s kind of the edges and meets and bounds of what our contract is. And that happens generally with every single client. And so I could see running that type of document through an accessibility checker to say, how is this something that everybody could approach? 


Joe Hodge (16:54): 

Exactly. And like I said, that checker isn’t, it’s going to get you really close. So if not catch every little thing, but it’s going to get you where I think most people using assistive technology would be able to use it. 


Zack Glaser (17:08): 

Guess that’s a good question is my assumption is that if I try really hard, if I do my best to try to make something accessible, then we’re at least going to be better. So something is likely better than nothing in most cases I would think. Yes. 


Joe Hodge (17:24): 

Okay. Yeah. And I think too, even just having putting human into it, as you give somebody a document, say, look, this is my first time maybe writing or creating an accessible document or if you have a client that is line or low vision and just say, if you have any trouble, please reach out. But lemme know what you think. I mean think even asking for some assistance with that. I think it’s a good thing to do. 


Zack Glaser (17:48): 

I really like that. That’s kind of come up twice in here is just ask. Yeah, don’t be afraid to ask, even if you’re say on your website or in your engagement packet, having something indicating if you need assistance with this, if you need this displayed in a different way, if you need anything, contact us. And obviously you have to have that indicator in some fashion that can be consumed by whoever it is that is reading that content or consuming that content. Exactly. So let’s take a break real quick and hear from our sponsors and when we get back, if you don’t mind Joe, let’s talk about websites and accessibility in technology accessibility for Lawyerist. 


Zack Glaser: 

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All right, so we’re back with Joe Hodge of American Printing House and we are talking about accessibility in law firms and specifically right now accessibility in websites. So Joe, we’ve talked about broader kind of ideas and really the big thing that stands out to me is ask if you’ve got clients that are connecting with you and you need to figure out if you need to adjust your documents, something like that, feel free to ask people. But in websites we can’t really do that in an easy way. We don’t know who is going to be interacting with our website. 


Joe Hodge (22:02): 

So one of the big things is probably your websites are already built, I’m assuming. So the bigger companies out there, if you guys use WordPress or of accessibility built who’s content management system. But along those lines. So if you already have a website built, maybe check in if you are using WordPress, a lot of times they’ll have accessibility guidelines or accessibility details that you can plug in. Ok, A lot of plugins that you can put in. So one question that we get a lot is, well how can I test my website to see if something’s accessible? So number one thing I always tell people I did a search today cause I was curious on global Accessibility Awareness day, what were the questions might ask? Surprised to see number eight. But the number one thing on my list that people is to just sit down at your computer and don’t use your mouse. 



So use your keyboard and just tab and use arrow keys and can you access every link on the webpage so you don’t have to have a screamer going, you don’t have to have any sort of magnification. It literally is just as simple as just sitting there on your hit your keyboard. And if you can tab through and you can select everything, then typically it’s going to be accessible because everything is laid out correctly. A lot of times what’ll happen is there will be things off to the side or it’ll be under an image or something where if you tab it just skips over it. It’s not the correct tab order. So tab order is very important as you lay on a webpage. And so if your tab key or your arrows do not let you get to it, that means a blind person or someone with low vision is not going to be able to access that. 



One other big thing is just structuring. So if you pass that test is getting headings and organizing these headings in a way that it’s easy for someone who’s blind or Logan to understand. So you would have a hierarchy of headings. So with my screen reader, I can move from heading level one or I can move to heading level twos or threes on the page. So if you have a few heading ones that are super important sections, so you’d have, I dunno, intake or I don’t know what they would be, but off the top of my head. But if you categorize this in a way that makes a lot of sense, it’s going to be so much easier for the person that’s blind or low vision to navigate around the webpage. And I’ll stop there if you have any questions. I know I know it kind of a lot at you at one time, but 


Zack Glaser (24:36): 

No that’s great. And I think that tab order specifically kind of goes outside of webpages as well. If we’re talking about PDFs, if you’re creating a form and sending a form to somebody, you definitely want that tab order to make linear sense and you can adjust the tab order in a PDF as you create a form, you can put it in numerical order. And I know it drives me nuts when I’m tapping through something and it goes to the next page and then back up and all that. And definitely in your website being able to navigate that because it would let you know where you are. I guess it would probably help kind of know what all is in the website if you’re using a screen reader. 


Joe Hodge (25:18): 

Yes. And the headings are so super important to, for example, I go to a sports website and I’ll just use this as a quick example. So if I’m wanting to look at the score, so I can pick NFL as my first option and then if I wanted to jump to news, that could be done at heading level two. And then once I open a new story, then it moves to heading level three. So then I don’t have to move around all that. I don’t want to call it junk cause probably offend content creators, but meat is super important. Just that sort of structure. I’ve seen websites that are very messy. Well 


Zack Glaser (26:00): 

And a cited reader of the website is going to want to skip the junk as well and go to a specific spot. And really when you’re talking about structuring, when we’re talking about organizing the website, that’s good on so many levels. I think you and I were talking about this before we started recording of how a lot of accessibility, making things accessible, I’ll get to it at some point. When you’re making things accessible, it makes things accessible for everybody. It makes things more approachable anyway. And so when you’re using headings, when you’re organizing your site, it’s easier to read 


Joe Hodge (26:38): 

Frankly. Yeah, we’re just get off topic for a second. I think when a lot of people, the word accessibility, they picture, I don’t know what they picture, but it’s not probably a pretty thing, right? I probably shouldn’t use this word, but I’m use pity so type of philosophy. But I think reality is what you said is when you think about a lot of the technology we have, GPS for example is a big one. I think off the top of my head, a lot of that came from GPS for the blind or low vision because side of people didn’t need GPS or it wasn’t thought about that they needed GPS for a long time and then all of a sudden it was coming around for the blind folks to teach them how to get around outdoors. And a lot of hints that you get a lot of Texas speech through hints or just a lot of things have come out of accessibility. So I think accessibility is for everybody. That’s the thing to think about. It’s not taught to us that way in schools or as we’re growing up. But the older I get, the more I realize and as folks get older, accessibility becomes more important for you. Cause things are going to change in your life that you may have to depend on something that you didn’t have to depend on before. 


Zack Glaser (27:47): 

And that’s something that I’ve learned somewhat recently in trying to think about accessibility specifically with websites is our relationship in our lives with accessibility kind of changes. And it can change temporarily, it can change situationally, it can change in a moment. I see an example on the W three s kind of web accessibility thing where it’s saying a woman holding a baby is situationally not able to use her arm. And so we want to make sure that we’re designing for her as well. But yeah, even beyond that, if I make a website where somebody can see things better, if I’m making a website building it for somebody that is low vision, then I’m making that website most likely better for people who aren’t low vision. 


Joe Hodge (28:37): 

Yeah, so one of the thing going off of the headings is having great descriptive links. So okay, I’ve gone to a lot of websites where it just click here for, you’ll have to read through the text to see what you’re clicking here for. So one of the things that is super helpful is when you have a link, make sure to let us know what it is that we’re clicking on. Cause I don’t want to click on an ad I unless I want, but yeah, I want to know if I’m going on the intake form that I need to do or your contact info. I don’t want want to just hear click here cause I dunno what that exactly does. And so having distinct link names is going to be super helpful as well. 


Zack Glaser (29:19): 

Okay, so click to download the white paper. 


Joe Hodge (29:22): 



Zack Glaser (29:23): 

Yeah. As opposed to download, well download what 


Joe Hodge (29:26): 

E E exactly. Yeah. 


Zack Glaser (29:27): 

Okay. And yeah, I mean you could get there from contact clues potentially. It also might be made so poorly that you can’t 


Joe Hodge (29:35): 

Yeah, I’ve seen it both ways. Cause what happens is like say you have the click here and you have it two or three places and maybe they’re right in a row. If you’re just quickly trying to find a link, you might click the wrong tube first or it might just be out of order the tab order again, if it’s not in the right order, you don’t know where you’re going. So having that link if you happen to have messed up the tab order is super nice because at least, okay, I’m clicking on this, what’s going to happen? 


Zack Glaser (30:03): 

Ok, so what are some of the other things that I know we want to start thinking about accessibility at the beginning. And yes, people have already built their websites, but we want to start thinking about it from a structural standpoint. What are some of the other things we want to think about? 


Joe Hodge (30:18): 

So all text is something. So photos is one of the things I mentioned kind of at the top, yes, but it’s something I want to revisit here. And that is if you have photos on your website, put all text now you don’t have to do every photo if it’s not important, if it’s sort of a background of a background, you’ll photo photo of something on your website, something that has prominence like a logo, even just saying logo or describing your logo. So I mentioned a tweet earlier, you don’t want to get off in the weeds and do a thousand word essay on your all text here. But what you want to do is just do about 40 to 80 characters. I think the screamers have a cutoff of a 50 in that sort of setting. So that’s where I kind say keep it like a tweet. So just tell me the important things. But yeah, definitely label those images because that also makes me feel like, okay, I don’t have to guess what that is or I understand if you have a picture of a car crash, maybe you have different types of services. Maybe you specialize in car crashes or you specialize in burnt victims or something, whatever the case may be. You could indicate that through the photos I’m sure on the website. And having those images would be nice to know this law firm has this and this service. 


Zack Glaser (31:38): 

It would add to that. It does. You’re intending those photos or images to do anyway. And I would imagine, what would a person want to know about this photo? That’s what I’m thinking for the alt tag, what would a person need, want or need to know about this photo in order to understand why it’s here? 


Joe Hodge (31:55): 

And just so everyone is clear, cause this is not always known and there’s no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to accessibility. But the alt text is only visible to someone using a screen reader. So it’s not like if you mouse over it or I mean someone cited who’s just visiting your website is not going to notice that all text. So that is only visible to someone that pick up on the tags. And so you don’t have to worry about that as well. I do want to point that out cause some people ask me that, am I going to have questions from someone who’s visiting this website? But no, actually all is missed by you’re website. You’re not going to see it. 


Zack Glaser (32:28): 

No, no, you’re absolutely right. Yeah, and I think that’s kind of important to think about when people are skipping over alt text is that okay, well if you’re skipping over the alt text and you’re not putting it in there, then you’re kind of being an ask to only people who aren’t low vision or blind because that’s what it’s there for. But also talking about the larger companies like a Apple putting things out on global Awareness day and Google, usually your site will benefit from having alt tags. Google gives you better SEO points from having reasonable alt tags that actually work. So that that’s even if you want to be kind of cynical, it’s still a good thing to have on your site because you benefit from it. 


Joe Hodge (33:13): 

Exactly. One of the other things I mentioned here, I was reading through my notes here just to make sure I kind of try to cover as many things as I can. I know with the time we have, but one of the big things is, I mentioned the tab at the top, but one of the things with the tab is if you have forms on your website, so if you take submissions of different forms, one thing to make sure is that you can hit that submit button without the mouse. So again, using that tab thing I talked about at the top, make sure that you go through and you’re tabbing and you know can get to all the edit fields and that the edit fields are labeled correctly as well. So a lot of times, one thing that’s really annoying is when I’m filling out a form so you can actually have that text sort of be below, above the box. 



And so trying to figure that out with sometimes is a little weird. Ok, which way is this form going? So if you can actually label the box themselves or if you can just be succinct what you’re asking for. And then again, sure that button does work goes a long way as well because nothing frustrates me more than getting 98% of the way done and then realizing, oh I can’t submit this. I’ve just spent all this time putting this information in and Zach, I’m laughing about it so much. Wouldn’t believe that that is a big problem in 2023 that you know, could spend so much time doing all this stuff and then you feel like, oh man, I’m accomplishing something. And then it’s that final 2% that, I mean, I dunno what we can say here, but it just angers me so much I 


Zack Glaser (34:45): 

Gratefully. So that would fire me up too. Yeah, and that’s one of those things, like you said at the beginning of this, where if you go into your own website, an attorney listening to this right now and they think, well what can I do today? You go into your own website, you stop using your mouse and you use that tab button, you’re going to find that hopefully you’re going to find that and go change it. If that’s how your website is, go change it right now. If you have another company running your website, go get them to change it. I mean it’s human. We have to make these things accessible to people. 


Joe Hodge (35:19): 

I have two more things I just want to mention. I don’t want to, one other thing about tables. So a lot of people use tables as sort of a layout feature of the website, so they kind of put it more to make it look pretty. That doesn’t really work all that well. Tables should be used more for data, you know, want to use tables as more of like, Hey, I’m indicating data entry here, that kind of thing. If you’re using tables as more of a layout purpose, like general purpose of the website, please change that. Cause it’s really hard for the meter. They can see the table, they can see what it does, but it kind uses tables more of as a data point reference has been more than a layout issue, if that makes sense. It’s kind of hard to describe. It does without a website looking at it. But 


Zack Glaser (36:03): 

Yeah, well when we were building websites in the late nineties and early two thousands we like that was how we structurally built websites. We made them work out, we created Rose, we created columns, we used it in the tables, we did table headers, and now we have diviv tags and we have section tags and header tags and all these other things that give so much more information. And you’re not in a cell, you’re in a division or you’re in Maine or you’re in footer and that gives a lot more information than row two. 


Joe Hodge (36:38): 

Exactly. Column nine, 


Zack Glaser (36:41): 

Column nine, row two, here’s a clickable link that says click here, 


Joe Hodge (36:47): 



Zack Glaser (36:47): 

You. Exactly. No idea where I am. I’m going to leave your website and I’m going to go to a more accessible one and I will talk to that lawyer because I mean, at the end of the day, that’s what we’re talking about here is accessibility means, again, from a cynical standpoint, accessibility means that more people can connect with your website can potentially become your client. Because if I’m running into a site that is built in a way that obviously doesn’t have me in mind, I’m not going to that professional. 


Joe Hodge (37:18): 

Exactly. And I think this is a great way. So the final thing I have written down here that I wanted to mention, I think I’ve gotten all the things off the list here, but the final one is, so there are a lot of what I call flyby night, make your website accessible companies. So it’s sort of like, 


Zack Glaser (37:34): 

I was going to ask you about 


Joe Hodge (37:35): 

This. Everything else in the world is kind of like this. We all have, I don’t want to call them scams or schemes, but they’re, so one thing that was happening with accessibility is if you weren’t compliant, basically there were companies out there that would actually try to sue you because you weren’t compliant. They didn’t really have accessibility in their heart. That’s not why they were doing it. No, they were doing it to try to make money. And so there’s companies that have sort of combated this by saying, Hey, we’re going to create our accessibility checker and we’re going to give scream users some sort of overlay. So we’re not going to make you change your website, we’re going to help you create an overlay to the website. There’s a few of them out there, one called Accessible Eyes or something like that, or I don’t want to shame anyone, but 


Zack Glaser (38:22): 

There could be people that are really trying to do this from a good, I don’t know, but yeah, 


Joe Hodge (38:27): 

From exactly. So what happens is that when you go to the website, it’ll say, for example, to me, it’ll say if you’re a screener, press a key and then you would press the key and it would put you in this sort of overlay that kind of safeguards you around the website. Which is, I mean it’s okay, but here’s the problem. If you have a form that’s on a page that doesn’t have this access, and there are times that you can actually get out of this on the same website, it’s very easy to trick, it’s very easy to get around. Now I’m back into your inaccessible website and it’s a problem for me. So the thing I do want to say is yes, accessibility can be a little, when you first think about it, can be challenging and it can be easy to reach out to a company that says, Hey, I can help you in 10 seconds, be accessible. 



But you have to think about the overall usability of your clients. And I hope that you sort of think about this as, yes, it can create a accessible place to an extent, but it’s basically a wall garden. I’m accessible in that pages that they do to an extent. But if there’s forms or if there’s, that’s why I’ve struggled a lot, to be honest. Anything I submit, it really comes to a big challenge because a lot of times they don’t actually mess with that. And the other thing is what the reader are asking for is not that big of an ask. It’s really not. No. And so I plead, please don’t partner with these companies. Just there are people out there that have accessibility and heart. If you have questions, you can always reach out to, I mean even us at a P, we’re not really in the accessibility business at this moment as far as helping people make websites, but it’s always looking at different revenue streams to in different ways we can get involved. 



What is it that the world needs? As I mentioned to you before about the braille, when you were asking about how do we evaluate a product, how do we get to make a product? We want to hear from the field. So we’ve heard from several teachers and stuff in several organizations, and I’ve worked with different companies like GE to help make things more accessible with a oven. And so we’re not out of the realm of working with a place or helping a place. So if that’s something that you all come together and say this is what we need. I mean, it’s something that we could definitely look at. So I just hate it when these companies rise up and take advantage of a situation and say something’s accessible, but then it really, after usability, it really isn’t, or it’s limited. So I don’t mean to go on a whole TIR about that, but it is something that that’s happening more and more. And I see, I was with T-Mobile for a while and they had it and I actually left T-Mobile cause of it. Cause what would happen is I would log in and I could do the things I wanted to do until it came time to pay my bill. And I would actually have to call them and pay my bill on the phone rather than do it online because they used this stupid overlay that wouldn’t let me do it. So it was very frustrating as a consumer. So yeah, 


Zack Glaser (41:30): 

That’s absolutely something I wanted to ask you about specifically. So I’m glad you brought that up because I think that’s something that a lot of the Lawyerist that I talk to wonder about. How can I literally do something to move the ball forward on my website? Cause most of them have a website of some sort. They have talked to their web designers and the lawyer has no idea really if this website is accessible and they think, oh, well, if I can just put this overlay on it, at least it’s something 


Joe Hodge (42:01): 

And it makes sense and I understand why they, people are really trying to do the right thing. So yeah, it all kind of coincides with each other. But yeah, I mean the biggest thing would be if you’re out there and you really want to take that first step mean, first of all, I think you need to evaluate where you’re and do that first step. Just sit down your keyboard and just try to through. That’s the first thing you could tell your web developer. It’s okay, we need to get our tab order in line. We need to make sure that all of our links are clickable. And I think then you’re starting to go down that path. And I don’t know them off the top of my head. Maybe it’s something I put in the show notes or something. There are a few companies that deal with accessibility like testing that are pretty reputable. So maybe I can put those in the show notes for you and send em off at the end. Yeah, 


Zack Glaser (42:47): 

That’d be great. Let’s definitely put those in the show notes because I do think people want to know where the rubber meets the road here on how to go about and take the first steps. You’ve given some great first steps and I think that this aligns with what Lawyerist always says is just kind of iterating through things. We can always just continually make it better and better. And if it’s better than yesterday, at least it’s it. It’s going in the right direction as opposed to just sitting there and kind of wallowing in its inaccessibility. 


Joe Hodge (43:16): 



Zack Glaser (43:17): 

Well Joe, I really appreciate you being here and all the knowledge that you have. Thank you very much for sharing what you know and thank you for helping us here. 


Joe Hodge (43:28): 

Well, thank you for having me, Zach. I appreciate coming on and talking with you all. 


Zack Glaser (43:31): 

Absolutely. And again, we’re going to put some links in the show notes that can help people move forward a little bit as well. Well, Joe, again, thank you. And if people want to get ahold of you, is that all right? Email or something like that? 


Joe Hodge (43:44): 

Yeah, Zack, that email will be perfect. They can email me at j Hodge, so it’s h o D as in delta, G as in golf, V in echo.org. And I’m happy to answer any questions that you might have there or just talk about accessibility or the Chicago Cubs, whatever you want to talk about. But yeah, I’m happy to answer any question and I enjoyed being on here today, 


Zack Glaser (44:11): 

Joe. I really appreciate it and I really appreciate your knowledge. Again, that’s jayHodge@aph.com and we’ll throw that in the show notes. Thank you again for being with me. Take 


Joe Hodge (44:20): 

Care, Zach. You 


Zack Glaser (44:20): 




The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10-minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you. 

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Zack Glaser

is the Legal Tech Advisor at Lawyerist, where he assists the Lawyerist community in understanding and selecting appropriate technologies for their practices. He also writes product reviews and develops legal technology content helpful to lawyers and law firms. Zack is focused on helping Modern Lawyers find and create solutions to help assist their clients more effectively.

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Joe Hodge

Joe Hodge is a communications professional with a passion for helping others. He graduated from Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in communications in 2009. After graduation, he moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he currently works as a lead quality assurance for the American Printing House for the Blind.  

In his role at the American Printing House for the Blind, Joe works to promote the organization’s mission of providing educational materials and services to people who are blind or visually impaired. He also works to raise awareness of the challenges faced by people with visual impairments and to advocate for their rights.  

Joe is a strong believer in the power of communication to make a difference in the world. He is committed to using his skills and talents to help others and to make the world a more inclusive place. In his free time, Joe enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing sports, and traveling. He is also an avid reader and enjoys learning new things. 

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Last updated June 18th, 2024