Keep It Simple: 3 Tips to Increase Accessibility on Your Blog or Website

Adults with disabilities are spending twice as much time online as those without disabilities, are they spending that time with you?Yesterday, I moderated the monthly SOBCon chat with a special guest, Glenda Watson Hyatt.  You can learn more about her at the “Do It Myself Blog“.  The topic of conversation was accessibility, specifically via the internet.  She said two things that really resonated with me and prompted this post:

  • “Consider: Adults w/ disabilities spend two times as much time online as those w/o disabilities. Are they spending that time with you?”  AND
  • “People with disabilities are 18% of US pop with $175 billion in discretionary spending power. Can you ignore that?”

If that doesn’t get your attention to prompt thinking about accessibility, I don’t know what will.

Glenda offers a 75-Second Accessibility Challenge on her blog, you can take a look at the challenge and you can also use the 3 tips below gleaned from her post and from our chat yesterday.

  1. When using multi-media or visual content, add captions and transcripts.  Heidi Thorne of  Promo with Purpose Today and Thorne Communications indicated that she saw increased YouTube traffic after adding transcripts to her videos.
  2. Make hyperlink text readable…instead of hyperlinking to the word “here” use text that is meaningful.  This tip is great for accessibility and it is a great general tip.  I think we are all a little tired of seeing. “Please click here…”
  3. When you insert a hyperlink, do not force it to open in a new window.  I realize that for some this is counterintuitive, myself included, but after the chat yesterday I understand how this can be problematic from an accessibility perspective.  Many times when you force a new window to open, the user may not realize that is what has happened and will potentially think the link is not working and they could have difficulty navigating back to the original content.

These tips are so simple and if they can offer increased accessibility to your site or your posts, it seems a no-brainer to implement the changes.

If you are interested in learning more about accessibility, you can work directly with Glenda and you can examine the resources below:

75-Second Accessibility Challenge

Accessibility Checklist for Blog Posts

WAVE – Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool

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SOBCon focuses on Accessibility for the February Chat

SOBCon, where the virtual meets concrete, is a community of people that is adept at working together to generate success.  I am so grateful to be a part of this community and to be a moderator on the monthly SOBCon chat.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to attend several live SOBCon events (I highly recommend it and if you’re interested, you can see coming events at www.sobevent.com).  At one of those events, I met a very insightful accessibility professional, Glenda Watson Hyatt.

Glenda is committed to accessibility for companies small and large.  She offers insights, compliance recommendations and tips to make websites more accessible.  This includes blogs just like this one…after the chat, I will do my KIS (Keep It Simple) Series post on Friday using Glenda’s tips.  It is critical to think of all of the connections you could be missing if you aren’t working towards an accessible world.  I am very happy that Glenda agreed to be our special guest on the chat, she has information to share with us that can change the way we see our engagements.  She has opened my eyes to ways that accessibility is overlooked and how some simple changes can make a big difference to so many people.

We hope that you will join us on the #SOBCon chat February 16th at 1pm ET as Glenda works with us to answer the questions below and if you have additional questions after the chat, please contact her directly on twitter, she’s @GlendaWH.

1.  What is the number one accessibility issue?

2.  Is it really important to make your website/blog more accessible and why?

3.  What steps can companies take to make websites more accessible?

4.  How can we make our blogs more accessible?

5.  What resources can we use to make our websites/blogs more accessible?

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Keep It Simple: Tips for hosting a Tweetchat

I really enjoy participating in tweetchats…if you’ve never done it, it’s a great way to connect with others who have similar interests and it’s a natural community builder.  It’s easy to participate, but it is slightly more challenging to host/moderate.  I am fortunate enough to moderate two very busy chats, SMChat on Wednesdays at 1pm ET and the SOBCon chat on the third Thursday of the month.  Along the way, I’ve come up with some tips to offer that will be helpful if you find yourself in the moderation hot seat.

  • Do a framing post and share beforehand.  Include the questions that you will cover in the chat – label them Q1, Q2. etc.
  • Try to keep the number of questions to 5. For an hour chat, you will have a few minutes of introductions, about 10 minutes per question and a few minutes of wrap-up.
  • Pre-schedule your questions to tweet out using an application like hootsuite (affiliate link) or similar. Set them to begin 10 minutes after the chat starts and every 10 minutes thereafter. Make sure you remember to hashtag them with the name of your chat.  This really helps to stay on topic.
  • Use twebevent, tweetchat, tweetgrid to automatically hashtag your tweets and monitor the chat stream.
  • Keep a second window open to monitor your mentions, so that if someone asks you a question, you don’t miss it in the flood of tweets.
  • Last, but not least, if you have someone being inappropriate/rude/too self-promotional – remind them very firmly what the chat is about and if they do not cease, then ask them to leave the chat.  It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

Happy Friday, have a great weekend and remember Keep It Simple!

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Keep It Simple: 5 Tips for Participating in Tweetchats

The Keep It Simple Series offers a few simple social mediatips to help others as they participate in social media…and sometimes they even serveas a reminder to myself.  These 5 tips are specifically for when you are participating in tweetchats, but some can be applied to social media in general.

  1. Check out the Twitter chat schedule to find chats you might find interesting.
  2. Use a platform to participate in the chat.  I recommend using TweetChat or TweetGrid
  3. When chatting, if you are just using twitter and not a platform, then don’t forget to include the hashtag in your tweets (that’s why I have to use TweetChat or TweetGrid).
  4. Refer to the question you are answering by using A1, A2, etc.
  5. Keep your tweets short enough to be retweeted – in otherwords short enough so that when someone retweets there are enough characters remaining for your username and the hashtag…chats move quickly and it is really difficult for people to adjust the tweet so that they can retweet it.

Happy Friday, I hope these tips help you and hope to see you on a chat sometime soon.  You can usually find me on #LeadershipChat at 8pm ET and #CustServ chat at 9pm ET on Tuesdays, #BrandChat at 11am ET and #SMChat at 1pm ET on Wednesdays and #Kaizenblog chat at 12pm ET on Fridays.

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12 Lessons I Never Expected to Learn

Jory Bucks Cleveland October 6, 1997 to November 30, 2011

He was my best friend.  I didn’t know it was possible to love that way.  He came into my life 14 years ago today…and even though physically he’s gone, he will always be with me.

He was just a tiny thing when my brother bought him for me as a Christmas present…he probably didn’t weigh 5 lbs.  He was cute and I was so happy to have him, but it never occurred to me that one day he would no longer be with me…I didn’t really think about that at the time.  From day one, we were inseparable…

I didn’t know that a little dog could teach me such big lessons about life, but he did and I’m so very grateful he was mine.  We had 5,089 days together…although that sounds like a lot…it wasn’t enough.  So he had plenty of time to teach me about life.  I don’t know how he knew so much…I guess you could say that he was wise beyond his years.

So here are the lessons that Jory taught me…

1. Time goes by too quickly…appreciate the days when you feel good and can enjoy life.  It isn’t always like that.  Don’t wait, go out and play.

2. Trust is limitless when there is love. – Jory was diagnosed with diabetes in March of 2008, so he endured a lot of insulin injections and checking his blood sugar.  He was an absolute angel about it.  It didn’t change when he was diagnosed with Cushings and Kidney Issues in July 2011.  Even though he was getting subcutaneous fluids twice a day almost every day, he would just let you give them to him…did I mention the needle was big enough to make a grown man pass out?

3. Forgive…it isn’t as hard as it may seem. – Jory never held a grudge.  I tripped over him, fed him late, left for vacation without him (of course he was with a sitter and his brother), moved us across the country, poked him with needles at least 4 times a day…and he would forgive me.

4. Live in the Present. – This goes along with number 3…one of the reasons that he could forgive so easily is because he lived in the moment.  He didn’t think about 5 minutes or 5 days ago and he didn’t worry about tomorrow.  He was focused on the moment he was in…you could see it in his eyes or the way he wagged his little “nubbin'” (he didn’t really have a tail).  He enjoyed his life.  Every touch, treat, walk and toy were important in the moment.

5. Size doesn’t matter. – Some people think that small dogs are “less than” big dogs…I know when many people met Jory for the first time, they were drawn to him.  Jory just had a way with people…they wanted to be his friend.  Even the tiniest of creatures are capable of infinite love, make sure you give them a chance.

6. Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources. – Jory inspired me to be a better person, to care about other animals, to reach out and help them.  I cannot even count the number of strays I’ve picked up or animal causes I’ve supported since Jory came into my life.  I loved him so much and I have become an advocate for animals because of him.

7. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it feels good to know that you did it.  – As Jory started to have serious health problems over the last 5 months, I hated to have to give him injections, medications and subcutaneous fluids.  I worried that he would be mad at me and that I couldn’t explain that I was doing it all just to keep him “healthy.”  But…I know I did everything I could to take good care of him and even though it was far from easy, I would’ve regretted it if I had done less.

8.  Writing down a schedule really helps. – Jory’s schedule was pretty complex, especially over the past 5 months.  I documented it for anyone else who might be caring for him and it helped me too.  Although, generally Jory wouldn’t let you forget when it was time to feed him…he wasn’t likely to remind you about everything else.  Writing down the schedule for him, forced me to do the same for the rest of my day, it helped keep me on track.

9. A little attention can go a long way. – Jory was my shadow.  He would stick with me whenever he could, but usually he just wanted a little attention and then he would rest.  If someone is sticking close to you, maybe they just need some attention.

10.  Educate yourself.  Don’t rely on information from just one source. – We had an AMAZING team of veterinarians and their staffs supporting us.  However, it was really important for me to do research, to be informed so that I could make educated decisions regarding his care.

11.  Trust yourself and your instincts. – There are many times in life that the answers we need can’t be found or maybe you find them, but your instincts scream something else…trust yourself.  (There was an incident with Jory’s diabetes that prompted me to ask the vet if it was possible that Jory had received a bad batch of insulin.  It was highly unlikely…but that is exactly what happened and a few months later they pulled Vetsulin (his brand of insulin) from the market.

12.  Love remains. – I miss him more than I can say, but the great thing is…I love him more than I can explain.  The love didn’t change.  It’s still with me.  My heart lightens when I think of him running or how he would want to cuddle with me after his walk.

Jory was the best gift I ever received.  He won my heart in record time.  He was my first pet and he will always be with me.  He was an amazing friend, a great listener;), a very loyal and faithful companion.  I was truly blessed to have him in my life.

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Uncertainty and Leveraging it for Your Business

For this month’s SOBCon chat we will have a special guest – author and entrepreneur, Jonathan Fields.  Jonathan’s latest book came out this fall and is titled, “Uncertainty – Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance.”  We are going to be talking to Jonathan about some of the principles that everyone can use in building their business.

This chat is for everyone…whether you have read Jonathan’s book or not.  Month after month, we pull together a great group that shares insights and information.  We hope that you will join us at 1pm ET for this month’s chat.  For more information on Jonathan, please go to visit his website.

Here are the questions that we will be covering in the chat:
Q1.  What is your number 1 tip for leveraging uncertainty into success for your business?
Q2.  What is the best way to create a team (esp. when you’re a solopreneur)?
Q3.  How do you include your community in your business process?
Q4.  Can you offer tips to help people embrace uncertainty?
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Keep It Simple: Say Thank You

For this Friday’s Keep It Simple Post, it’s super simple – say Thank You. Be grateful to people and they will be grateful to you. How nice is life when we live like that?

Today, I am sharing a very special thank you…to our Veteran’s, their families and friends. I am so grateful for all that you sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy. I am especially grateful for my little (he prefers me to say younger because he’s bigger than me) brother. We are so very proud of you and are relieved that you are stateside. We continue to think of your peers that are still deployed. We think of their families and friends and all that they endure during deployments. We are grateful to them and pray for their safety.

On this 11th day of the 11th month, I was curious how we came to celebrate this particular day…here’s the history…and now I also know why we say the 11th hour. Thank you so much Veteran’s. Words seem to be inadequate to express my gratitude. Please know we think of you every day and we so appreciate you.

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