Whiskey Web and Whatnot

A whiskey fueled fireside chat with your favorite web developers.


59: A11y Hour with Amber Hinds

Show Notes

WordPress powers over 43% of sites on the internet today, making it a powerhouse web technology. Its simplicity attracted bloggers and do-it-yourselfers who navigate the platform by Googling code snippets. That knowledge gap comes with a whole host of accessibility issues. Amber Hinds, Founder and CEO at Equalize Digital, quit her part-time gig as a freelance developer when she found WordPress was an easier way to manage content. She's been doing accessibility work on the platform since 2016 and has seen a boom in the past two years of companies searching for accessibility experts. Amber built the Accessibility Checker plugin as a guardrail to help DIYers avoid common mistakes by auditing a site and flagging accessibility issues. The plugin is also an education tool for content managers, and developers to learn about accessibility. In this episode, Amber talks to Chuck and Robbie about web accessibility on WordPress, making accessibility a priority in colleges and boot camps, and RVing around the country with her family. Key Takeaways * [00:35] - An intro to Amber Hinds. * [00:54] - A whiskey review - Weller Special Reserve. * [07:49] - What it's like working with WordPress in 2022 compared to earlier years. * [10:47] - Amber gives an overview of WordPress. * [13:36] - Amber explains unique accessibility problems in WordPress. * [15:47] - How Equalize Digital's plug-in audits WordPress sites. * [21:55] - Amber's thoughts on how to make accessibility a priority. * [35:33] - Chuck and Amber talk about RV life and being on the show, "Going RV". Quotes [08:43] - "I think the recent number that I saw was that 43% of websites are built in WordPress." ~ Amber Hinds [https://www.linkedin.com/in/amberhinds/] [23:53] - "I feel like having more general visibility about the broad range of disabilities and also putting people's faces to things is super helpful." ~ Amber Hinds [https://www.linkedin.com/in/amberhinds/] [28:33] - "Companies need to realize that accessibility is everyone's responsibility." ~ Amber Hinds [https://www.linkedin.com/in/amberhinds/] Links * Amber Hinds LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/in/amberhinds/] * Amber Hinds Twitter [https://mobile.twitter.com/heyamberhinds] * Amber Hinds [https://amberhinds.com/] * Equalize Digital [https://equalizedigital.com/] * WordPress [https://wordpress.com/] * Accessibility Checker [https://www.accessibilitychecker.org/] * Weller Special Reserve [https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/our-brands/w-l-weller/w-l-weller-special-reserve.html] * Pappy Van Winkle [https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/our-brands/van-winkle.html] * Maker's Mark [https://www.makersmark.com/] * Buffalo Trace Distillery [https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/] * React [https://reactjs.org/] * Absolut Vodka [https://www.absolut.com/] * Shopify [https://www.shopify.com/] * Square Space [https://www.squarespace.com/] * Drupal [https://www.drupal.org/] * Matt Mullenweg [https://ma.tt/] * Automattic [https://automattic.com/] * Magic Mouse [https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MK2E3AM/A/magic-mouse-white-multi-touch-surface] * Logitech Lift [https://www.logitech.com/en-us/products/mice/lift-vertical-ergonomic-mouse.html] * Mac [https://www.apple.com/lae/mac/] * Darci USB [https://www.specialneedscomputers.ca/index.php?l=product_detail&p=4948] --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/whiskey-web-and-whatnot/message


Robbie Wagner: [00:09] Hey, everybody. Welcome to another Whiskey Web and Whatnot Accessibility hour edition with myself, Robbie Wagner, my cohost as Charles William Carpenter III. And our guest today is Amber Hinds. How's it going, Amber?

Amber Hinds: [00:25] It's going great. Thanks for having me.

Robbie Wagner: [00:26] Yeah, thanks for coming on. So before we jump into whiskey here, if you could give everybody a little few sentences about who you are and what you do?

Amber Hinds: [00:35] Sure. I'm the CEO of a company called Equalize Digital. We specialize in WordPress accessibility, and we have a software product called Accessibility Checker that audits WordPress websites for accessibility problems.

Chuck Carpenter: [00:49] Cool.

Robbie Wagner: [00:50] Very cool. Well, we'll definitely jump more into that later, but we always have to start with whiskey. So today we have the Weller Special Reserve, which we will. It doesn't have a quirk, but we can do this.

Chuck Carpenter: [01:03] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [01:05] Is that really loud and obnoxious?

Chuck Carpenter: [01:07] Yeah, a little bit. This one makes me angry, though, because this used to be a $20 bottle of whiskey, like ten years ago. Maybe not even that five years ago. And because of allocation and all that stuff, people got wise to its nice mash bill, and it's like sort of like a cousin to Pappy Van Winkle. So there's the Special Reserve, their normal one. There's the Antique 107, so it's 107 proof, same mash bill. And then they have a twelve year aged one. And these were all very approachable, affordable whiskies. And then people started like, bunkering and buying twelve bottles at a time and all that kind of stuff. So then price goes up.

Amber Hinds: [01:50] Supply and demand.

Chuck Carpenter: [01:51] Yes, exactly. Not to bash it you know.

Robbie Wagner: [01:56] Smells good.

Chuck Carpenter: [01:58] Yeah. I get some lemon peel and smell. Amber, you know, we make this up every time, right?

Robbie Wagner: [02:04] Yeah.

Amber Hinds: [02:04] It's all just like.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:06] Yeah, it's arbitrary.

Robbie Wagner: [02:09] But what does it remind you of?

Chuck Carpenter: [02:11] Yeah, what are the arbitrary adjectives that you could throw in there?

Robbie Wagner: [02:16] Yeah.

Amber Hinds: [02:16] Oak.

Robbie Wagner: [02:17] I don't know. I don't have anything creative.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:19] Yeah, definitely oak. There's oak in here. I think that's the most accurate one.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:25] Yeah. I don't know. I'm just going to give it a taste. I don't really smell anything in particular.

Amber Hinds: [02:29] I like to look how the legs are on the glass.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:32] Oh, yeah. No one's really mentioned that before, but I think that.

Amber Hinds: [02:35] Like this one actually has pretty good like if you swirl it around.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:40] Yeah. Okay. I'm definitely getting oak in there.

Robbie Wagner: [02:43] Yeah, there's definitely oak.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:45] A little leatheriness to me. I don't eat leather that often, but for some reason, the smell and this flavor seem to align, so yeah, I still in the initial bit get a little.

Amber Hinds: [02:55] I kind of get that a little bit. Yeah, it's on the end.

Chuck Carpenter: [02:59] Yeah, that's right.

Robbie Wagner: [03:00] I think there's some lemon peel to it. There's like a very bitter finish or something like that.

Chuck Carpenter: [03:07] I'm getting that more towards the beginning.

Robbie Wagner: [03:09] Maybe my tongue's backwards.

Chuck Carpenter: [03:11] Yeah, maybe it is. You're the anomaly.

Amber Hinds: [03:13] It's definitely not nutty. That's what I noticed.

Chuck Carpenter: [03:17] Yeah. No, well, so we have a very scientific scale for how we rate these. It is one to eight because we are clever because we have the octopus as our logo. So one being terrible, worst thing you've ever had. Eight being amazing. Give me nothing else. We've started to kind of segregate by types of whiskey just because we've tried so much. We'll say, like, okay, this is a wheated Bourbon. We might compare that to other wheated Bourbons, but you can do it however you like in that way. And yeah, like I said, it's all pretty arbitrary.

Robbie Wagner: [03:52] It's not scientific.

Amber Hinds: [03:54] Oh, I get to go first?

Chuck Carpenter: [03:56] Sure, why not?

Robbie Wagner: [03:57] Whatever.

Amber Hinds: [04:00] No pressure. Okay, well, I definitely have not tried as many bourbons as you all, so I don't know if I can be fancy enough to say comparing by type, but I'd probably say it's like a five, maybe a four. It has like an aftertaste mouth feel that's not totally, it's sharper than I would expect it to be.

Chuck Carpenter: [04:22] Yeah, I agree.

Robbie Wagner: [04:24] Yeah, I feel the same.

Amber Hinds: [04:26] Like, I have to go the dentist now.

Chuck Carpenter: [04:29] Nice. What do you think, Robbie?

Robbie Wagner: [04:32] Yeah, I mean, I'm thinking around the same for it being similar price to the antique one. I think it is much worse than the antique one, so yeah, unfortunately, we had already had that one or I would have gotten that one again, But uh.

Chuck Carpenter: [04:48] Sorry Amber, it wasn't you, it was us.

Robbie Wagner: [04:51] I would give this a four, I think, just because of that little weird, like, it's good until it hits that weird aftertaste. I'm just like, no, I don't like that after that.

Chuck Carpenter: [04:59] Yeah, the lemon is interesting when it gets started, and then kind of I don't know, it just doesn't finish well. And 90 proof. I tend to favor things 100 proof or more. And then in the case of other wheated Bourbons, I mean, even if I was to compare this to just plain Makers, Mark, I think I would go for the makers versus this. And then at this price, it's kind of ridiculous. I haven't had it in a while because I'm angry over it, and now I'm seeing, like, I'm not missing out, like, okay, just spend a little more and get the antique. That one is way better. So I'm going to go four. Two. It's not like, bad. It just doesn't wow me anyway. I mean, I can almost say three where it's like, eh, it's below average. Because you know what? I pick regular makers over it. So I talked myself into it. Three it is. Okay, official. There goes our Buffalo Trace. Sponsorship.

Robbie Wagner: [05:49] Well, they have a lot of different stuff, so.

Chuck Carpenter: [05:51] Yeah, we like other stuff. I would buy Buffalo Trace over this, to be honest. $25, $30 max, usually.

Robbie Wagner: [05:58] I think so too.

Amber Hinds: [05:59] I think I would too.

Robbie Wagner: [06:01] Yeah, well, we should have just done that.

Amber Hinds: [06:04] It's funny how price impacts things too, right? Because if it was an inexpensive bottle, you'd be like, oh, this is good. I would buy this again.

Robbie Wagner: [06:13] Right.

Amber Hinds: [06:14] But then you start to weigh like, what else could I get for this price point?

Chuck Carpenter: [06:20] Exactly. If this was like $20, $25, as it used to be, I would be like, well, it's inexpensive for what it is, it's fine. But once you start to like double and triple that no, doesn't make any.

Amber Hinds: [06:32] That said we're all going to continue drinking.

Robbie Wagner: [06:35] Oh, yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [06:36] Oh, of course.

Chuck Carpenter: [06:36] Yes. I mean, I don't waste things.

Robbie Wagner: [06:39] I would say that this is the React of whiskey because it's popular because it looks cool and people say it's popular and it's expensive. So you're like, oh, this is cool, let me get it. And it's all a lie.

Chuck Carpenter: [06:52] Once people found out it had the same mash bill as Pappy, then people started freaking out and someone figured it out that you can take the three and blend them in a certain ratio and let it sit for a bit and then you technically get the same Pappy set up. I don't know. So Pappy Van Winkle that yeah, I don't know, I never tried it. But that was part of what pushed it to get super popular. Yeah. The React of, this is Robbie's job to bash on the React. I don't know if you've listened to enough to pick up on that, but what I would say is it's like the Absolut Vodka of JavaScript frameworks, like. Really well marketed, so everybody's buying it, but when you get it, you're like, this tastes like rubbing alcohol. But all these other people like it. I guess we should keep buying it. I don't know.

Robbie Wagner: [07:41] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [07:42] Yeah. I think there are some plugins like that in the WordPress world.

Chuck Carpenter: [07:47] Yes. Which that's a good segue into the WordPress world. I mean, I like many other developers who've been in the game for a long time, definitely had a period in my career that was like all about that, doing like, marketing websites and whatnot. And it's always kind of the starting point. And you have a company based on that. So I'd love to dig into a little bit, like what's it like to be working in WordPress in 2022. Yeah, because in 2005 it was very different.

Amber Hinds: [08:15] I will say depending upon the room. Like, sometimes when you say you work in WordPress, it's like, oh, you don't know anything about development. Right. It's like, oh, PHP.

Robbie Wagner: [08:28] Right.

Chuck Carpenter: [08:28] Right. Which has been long looked down upon. But I know that there are a lot of newer frameworks that kind of create some sanity out of the chaos. And Robbie mentioned to me, like, he looked up some stats and it basically powers over half the internet these days.

Amber Hinds: [08:44] Yeah, I think the recent number that I saw was 43% of websites are built in WordPress, so it is a huge market share in a very large part of the CMS world. I think the next biggest CMS might be like Shopify or Squarespace or something. And it's like 3%, so it's a huge gap too.

Chuck Carpenter: [09:05] I used to work for the Drupal company. Don't tell them that.

Amber Hinds: [09:09] Yeah, I don't even know what Drupal is, but it's down there.

Chuck Carpenter: [09:12] Yeah, it makes sense.

Amber Hinds: [09:15] No, I mean, I got into WordPress originally I was doing work in Dreamweaver, like coding PHP sites, and then I got tired of I lived on Nantucket, I just had one kid and I was like, working part-time freelancing as a developer and I got really tired of people texting me when I was at the beach being like, we changed this sentence. And I was just like, no, there's got to be a better way.

Chuck Carpenter: [09:41] Right?

Amber Hinds: [09:42] So that was when I discovered WordPress, which was in 2010. And that definitely made a big difference and kind of started getting into the accessibility stuff in 2016.

Chuck Carpenter: [09:53] Yeah, nice. So that's pretty early days for accessibility. That's great to kind of see that need and again, seeing that there's such a huge market share. And how do we help these companies of various sizes address these issues?

Amber Hinds: [10:05] Yeah, it's been interesting to watch in the very early days. It was pretty much all university clients, government kind of stuff. And I feel like in the past year, two years is when we're starting to hear more from businesses and for-profits about accessibility. I think there's still a huge hole for this in any sort of content management system beyond WordPress. Even like anywhere where there's DIYers. I think there's definitely a huge need for there to be more education because I think still there's a lot of people who don't even realize what accessibility is. But I do feel like in the more recent years we've been hearing more about it.

Chuck Carpenter: [10:43] Yeah, definitely. It's bubbling up. I want to regress a little bit back because it occurs to me that I'm sure a percentage of our listeners are still kind of early stage in their careers, let's say five years, three years or less. And they've probably learned more just application development with React or NextJS, those kinds of things, and may not be as familiar on the CMS side of things. So like, maybe just a brief overview of WordPress and kind of its use cases.

Amber Hinds: [11:11] Yeah. So WordPress started as purely a blogging platform. It's open source so you can go to Wordpress.org and download a free copy of WordPress to install on any server that you want. It is different from WordPress.com, which, if people aren't familiar, that's a confusing thing. But WordPress.com is a for-profit company run by a company called Automattic, which is run by Matt Mullenweg, who is one of the original developers of WordPress, the content management system. And they use WordPress content management system on WordPress.com. But really it's gone much beyond blogging and you can build very complex websites and even web applications with WordPress and it gives users the ability to manage all of their content. But it still has a theming system setup and it allows for plugins which are third-party code packages basically that can extend WordPress to do other things. And so it has, as we talked about, a really robust user base that use it for all kinds of different applications.

Robbie Wagner: [12:18] So I don't know that I've used WordPress before, I did some PHP back in the day, but this might be a dumb question. Does it support dynamic HTML? Sort of things like as a user of the CMS part, can I put in code or am I just editing text and images and stuff?

Amber Hinds: [12:35] So WordPress itself was almost all built in PHP, but there is a large shift over to JavaScript and React as being part of it. The editor that a user would use, it used to be tinyint C and so you'd have like a visual tab or you could flip over to an HTML tab. Let me think about this. 2018, I want to say fall of 2018, there's an external project that was built for WordPress, but for other things called Gutenberg, which is a new editor. And actually, it's on Tumblr now too. And I know that Matt Mullenweg's plan is to try and get other CMSs to adopt it and it's a very different editor that replaced tinyint C that has blocks and all of that is built in JavaScript. And it's like there'd be a heading block and a paragraph block and there's a code block. So if you want to go insert code, you can insert a code block and then put your code in the code block.

Robbie Wagner: [13:37] Yeah. What I was wondering about is in terms of accessibility. If you're allowed to put in arbitrary code and HTML and stuff. You could really shoot yourself in the foot because if you're a casual user and you're like oh. I want to put in a widget or something I found. And just copy and paste it, it could be. You could ruin all the work that the people who did the setup for WordPress did. I just wondering about some of kind of the unique problems that you have accessibility-wise with WordPress.

Amber Hinds: [14:06] Yeah, so I think in any content management system where a user, a marketing person, let's say, right, like I'm head of marketing and I go and I want to edit my website, accessibility problems are going to happen if you don't have any sort of tools built into the CMS that kind of introduce guardrails. So there are increasingly third-party plugins that are trying to add more control by user role on whether or not you can access certain blocks or modify certain parts of the site like the header or the footer or the sidebar. That's not necessarily in core WordPress just yet for all of that levels. But I know they're talking about adding it into core, but really any content area. So if we think about links that have ambiguous anchor text where someone just says to visit our contact page go here and they link the word here. That really can happen on any website where someone who doesn't know and that's where you want to have some sort of guidance in the application, if possible, to catch those and flag them for users and say, hey, this link is ambiguous, go give it a better anchor. But yeah, definitely there are problems unique to WordPress, one of which would be that a lot of people who are not coders, they decide they're just going to go pick a theme or they say, I want a calendar on my website, so I'm just going to go look at all these different calendar plugins and I'm going to install one. And if they've never heard of accessibility, they don't know to do things like keyboard test it and see like, can you get to all the things without using a mouse. And so really, like, the plugin developers and the theme developers have the ability to either make or break the accessibility of a website.

Robbie Wagner: [15:48] That makes sense.

Chuck Carpenter: [15:49] Yeah, there's kind of a communal effort in a way, sort of like educating yourself over time to sort of give you that. So your company has a plug-in that does this kind of audit. Is it an audit, like just on what becomes front facing? Or do you give like an audit when someone's creating content? Like, how does that work?

Amber Hinds: [16:14] Yeah, so our plug-in is freemium. So there's a free version on Wordpress.org and it does like posts and pages, which are the main core components of WordPress, not any sort of custom areas. And basically whenever you on post save. So either if you're saving a draft, hitting publish or update, it will run a scan and it does scan the entire page, not just that content area because we want to catch things that maybe are coded into the template as well. And then on that page edit screen, or if you have the premium version, there's a centralized area where you can go, look, you can see a report of we have more than 40 different checks that we look for. In some ways, it's kind of similar to Wave if someone's familiar with the Wave tool as far as what kind of items we're looking for, and then it puts that issue there and prompts you to fix it. And then if you fix it and you save again, it will rescan, and then it will be gone. And so, yeah, the goal is really to try and provide more of the guidance in editors to the users. We have a lot of developers that use it too if they're trying to figure out accessibility because it can also be a good learning tool. You're not really sure what to look for.

Robbie Wagner: [17:30] Yes, I mean, as a developer, I can tell you I'm not sure what to look for most of the time.

Amber Hinds: [17:36] I feel like it's always a learning process though I've been working on this, I mentioned for quite a while, and this year I joined the organizing committee for the WordPress Accessibility Day conference. And we have two people on our organizing committee who are blind and they use screen readers every day. And I was taking a lead, helping with building that website, and they came in and they were, like, testing some of the forms and they're like, this is confusing. I thought it was fine, but I feel like you always learn things and that's why it's important to have users involved and not just do your own stuff. But I feel like there's always things that you're like, I see what you're saying. Like, I should do this differently next time.

Chuck Carpenter: [18:16] Yeah. Having different perspectives. I think it could be really valuable there.

Chuck Carpenter: [18:22] Yeah. Like things like even just alt tags on images and stuff. I'm definitely guilty of being like, this is whatever logo, or not describing it and thinking about someone going through all of that with a screen reader. It would be like, this is the most ridiculous website I have ever been on, you know because it doesn't actually describe what's there. Like, I don't know what their logo looks like unless you tell me what it looks like you know.

Chuck Carpenter: [18:45] Right.

Amber Hinds: [18:46] I mean, the thing that's interesting about logos is you don't always actually want to describe what the logo looks like.

Robbie Wagner: [18:52] Right.

Amber Hinds: [18:52] Because a lot of times the logo is linked to go to the home page and it's kind of irrelevant what the logo looks like. What matters more is where the link is going.

Robbie Wagner: [19:00] Yeah, that's fair.

Chuck Carpenter: [19:01] It's true.

Amber Hinds: [19:02] So the alt text on the logo and the link to your home page should just be like, go to website homepage.

Chuck Carpenter: [19:08] Well, there we go. I just learned something that makes a lot more sense. Rather than describing the image and the image is meant as an action, describe the action. That it. Okay. There we go. I'll drink to that.

Robbie Wagner: [19:19] Yeah. Apparently, you're actually supposed to put empty ones on things you don't want to be described.

Amber Hinds: [19:26] Correct.

Robbie Wagner: [19:27] Which I recently found out. So that's interesting.

Amber Hinds: [19:30] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [19:30] So the attribute has to be there regardless for accessibility checks, but then doesn't check to say that there's a value.

Robbie Wagner: [19:36] Right.

Robbie Wagner: [19:36] Empty string is still.

Amber Hinds: [19:38] Yeah so it should be alt equals empty quotes. And that's how you get it to not read out the URL to the image. So if you don't have an alt at all, a screen reader will think you just messed up. And then it will try, like it'll read the file name, which, as you can imagine, sometimes is really bad.

Chuck Carpenter: [19:58] Frustrating.

Robbie Wagner: [19:59] Yeah.

Amber Hinds: [19:59] Shutterstock underscore some very long number. Jpg.

Chuck Carpenter: [20:06] I could see what that'd be annoying.

Amber Hinds: [20:08] Yes.

Chuck Carpenter: [20:08] You should try navigating the Internet without sight one day. Probably learn a lot.

Robbie Wagner: [20:13] Oh, yeah.

Amber Hinds: [20:14] Turn your monitor off.

Chuck Carpenter: [20:15] Yeah.

Amber Hinds: [20:15] And go around and just go around.

Chuck Carpenter: [20:17] And see what happens.

Amber Hinds: [20:18] It's a practice that I always like to recommend to people, too, is turn your mouth off and stick it in a drawer for a day. Use only your keyboard to navigate around.

Robbie Wagner: [20:29] That would get very frustrating.

Chuck Carpenter: [20:30] Yes. I have two mice that kind of I have the trackpad, and I have this mouse. Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [20:35] Do you use them both at once?

Chuck Carpenter: [20:37] I'm getting older, and I'm having a lot of wrist issues, so I found that this one, it helps me a lot for all the regular stuff, but for, like, pinch zoom and all that kind of fun stuff. I need this on my left.

Robbie Wagner: [20:49] So you have that just for gestures?

Chuck Carpenter: [20:51] Yes.

Robbie Wagner: [20:53] Okay.

Chuck Carpenter: [20:54] Not above getting that. And I've got one of those tinted keyboards and everything else, too. Like, getting old sucks.

Amber Hinds: [21:01] Yeah. No, I was just thinking about that. I have a Magic Mouse. The other day, I was just like, man, my wrist really hurts. I need to get a better mouse than this. It's like too flat.

Chuck Carpenter: [21:09] So this is the Logitech Lift is what it's called Logitech Lift for Mac. And it puts your hand in this like, it's supposed to be, like, the handshake position. I don't know. It's very comfortable. I highly recommend it.

Robbie Wagner: [21:22] Yeah, hold that up again. Is it the same one I have at home? Have you seen mine?

Chuck Carpenter: [21:26] I have no idea.

Amber Hinds: [21:26] It has, like, a mouse or, like, a thumb rest and everything.

Chuck Carpenter: [21:30] Yeah, it's got, like, a thumb rest there, and it's got all these buttons and stuff.

Robbie Wagner: [21:33] It might be smaller than the one I have. I have one that's like that, too. It's also Logitech, but.

Chuck Carpenter: [21:38] Yeah, there is a larger version. I don't think you have bigger hands than me, though, so I think you're just exaggerating.

Robbie Wagner: [21:44] I just got one. I don't like small mice.

Chuck Carpenter: [21:48] Easier to eat. You're not a snake.

Robbie Wagner: [21:50] Anyway.

Chuck Carpenter: [21:51] Sorry, we're way off track here. Have another. All right. Yes. Getting back to.

Robbie Wagner: [21:59] One of the things on here that I can go to unless you had something to.

Chuck Carpenter: [22:03] No, I'll add it after. Go ahead.

Robbie Wagner: [22:05] Okay.

Chuck Carpenter: [22:05] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [22:06] So you had mentioned in your notes that you were big into, like, awareness and education around accessibility and stuff, too. I wonder what your thoughts are around how we can get it more prioritized in official curriculum and things for boot camps or college or wherever the case may be.

Amber Hinds: [22:26] I don't know. I wish I knew the answer to that. This is what we need to do to make it a priority for people to teach accessibility. I feel like if I knew that answer, then that problem would be solved. We always have the conversations because even with clients, right, these days, people come to us because they know we do accessibility. So we don't have to have these conversations in the same kind of way that we used to in the beginning. But in the beginning when we'd be like, why are we saying something about color contrast in this design and telling you your brain color does not work and trying to justify it, talking about the percent of people. One thing that I really enjoy is, and I don't know if you guys have ever heard the A11y Rules podcast that Nicholas Steenhout puts out, how to check it out. That podcast. He's been doing a series for a while now, like over a year, I feel like, where he does his little six-minute episodes, where he interviews people with disabilities and it's all a wide range, and he's asked them three questions, which is describe their disability, talk about challenges they experience on the web, and then what is the one thing they wish designers or developers knew? And that podcast was really eye-opening for me because getting to hear about other people, I learned from that podcast about the Darci USB, which is a morse code keyboard for a gentleman who doesn't have fingers, but he has partial fingers on one hand, and so he's able to use morse code, and that is how he engages with the web.

Chuck Carpenter: [23:54] Wow.

Amber Hinds: [23:55] Yeah. And so I feel like just having more general visibility about the broad range of disabilities and also maybe putting real faces, people's faces, to things is super helpful. I mean, that was something we used to do with clients sometimes, would be like, can you think about someone in your customer base who, you know, might be this, might be color blind or anything like that? And if you can come up with a human, I think that's helpful. But I don't know. The curriculum to me is interesting that universities don't teach it as much as they should in design or web development. I used to guest lecture at Colorado State University for their undergraduate web development course. So I saw, like, the whole syllabus. And they never talked about accessibility at all. And it was just a couple of years ago, and I just kept thinking, why? You guys in university know you ought to be accessible.

Chuck Carpenter: [24:48] Yeah, right.

Robbie Wagner: [24:49] I wonder how much they even teach, like, HTML, though. I feel like the basics get glossed over because they want to have fancy, like, logic-heavy coding type of things. And they're like, oh, you can figure out HTML later. You can figure out accessibility later. We'll just skip that and teach you React and stuff. Because I know it was like that for me. Like, I had one class well, there weren't even really web classes at all. Like, it was all, do Java and do C, and whatever. But the couple of web classes I had, it was like, here's HTML, you can style it with CSS. Go have fun. There wasn't much thought about it.

Amber Hinds: [25:26] They weren't like, this is a button tag and you should use it.

Chuck Carpenter: [25:29] Right.

Amber Hinds: [25:31] Or like main and nav and all those kinds of tags.

Robbie Wagner: [25:34] Right.

Chuck Carpenter: [25:35] There you go. So that's the natural companion, I think, to accessibility, which is when you have the conversation about the semantic web, right, machine-readable web. That's the point of it is that it's read correctly by the machines and they're in smarter delivery to you. And I think right there is where you tie in accessibility because they can kind of go hand in hand and here's the semantic web, but now let's layer on the accessible web to that, and then it starts to get a little better.

Amber Hinds: [26:05] And that's where I think accessibility and SEO can go hand in hand a lot because a lot of organizations put a lot of emphasis, rightly so, on SEO. And so sometimes being able to be like this will help make your SEO better is helpful as well. But I don't know too, if sometimes the boot camps just go oh, accessibility, that's a design thing. Yeah, it doesn't matter. And they forget that the developer has to build it and then it goes beyond the color selection and the positioning of elements. There's this whole underlying code element that's required.

Chuck Carpenter: [26:39] Yeah, I agree with that. Because they're not incentivized, right? They're trying to get you hireable in twelve weeks or 18 weeks or whatever it is. And being good at React tends to do that. And I think that's part of the pervasive like that wave of accelerated developer things that happened over the last few years. I think that that helped push React a bunch and I think it helped push a lack of fundamentals like not understanding native, like vanilla JavaScript APIs, web APIs, and just basic like HTML document structure. So I think you touched on a thing right there around SEO because I was thinking, oh well, there are laws in place and there's lawsuits and things like that which haven't managed to accurately incentivize. Even big companies really down this path. I think it's better than it was a few years ago, but probably still a long way away. But I mean, if Google changed the algorithm and basically prioritized accessible sites in the same way they prioritize mobile friendly sites, there's a lot of power to that.

Robbie Wagner: [27:43] I think they do some.

Amber Hinds: [27:45] So I feel like they probably do a little bit. If you think about things like bounce rate, you're probably more likely to have a higher bounce rate on a site that's super inaccessible or has a really bad color contrast. No one can read it, they're going to leave. But I think you're right. I feel like it's going to come, I have no idea when, but looking at I mean, White House got added in, right? They are scanning, they have the ability to identify at least some accessibility problems. But yeah, I think that would be the big thing. I think on the boot camp front, companies need to communicate to boot camp that they want accessibility skills in their developers.

Chuck Carpenter: [28:20] Yeah, agree with that too.

Amber Hinds: [28:22] And that a little bit requires companies realizing that all of their developers need to be accessibility experts. And then it's not just like, oh, this one guy or gal that I hired is going to be our accessibility lead and everyone else can just do their job. Like companies need to realize that accessibility is everyone's responsibility and it saves them money. Right? We shifted earlier in the process, but I think if they start communicating that more in their hiring needs, if every job description says you need to understand basic accessibility testing, then I think our training programs are going to start noticing that and they're going to start including that in their training.

Chuck Carpenter: [29:04] Well, yeah, and then I see it as being shifted both horizontally and vertically in organizations, though as well. So that means that up the tree, they got to say that this is a priority for us, that the end product has that built into it. We're not going to get that blowback on it. Like we prioritize that. And then product organizations are saying, when we plan our roadmap, we understand the definition of done for each milestone includes this along the way, and we give proper time to it. We're estimating and giving proper time to it. And I think that they're accelerating features that they think change revenue and aren't willing to create this kind of tech debt. And it happens not even just in accessibility. Happens in other things too. So I think it's still a problem too in the way that organizations sort of like weigh features and what happens in applications.

Amber Hinds: [29:57] Yeah, I think I mean, it's sort of going back to what we're talking about with WordPress and plug in developers and I think one of the other areas at least, and maybe this is more unique to WordPress than in the broader web development web application development ecosystem, but a lot of people in WordPress are self taught. They didn't even do a boot camp, right? They started in WordPress building a blog and then they wanted to figure out how to change the colors. So they Googled something and they learned a little CSS and then they were like, wait, how do I move my comments from the top to the bottom? So they Googled something and they found a code snippet they could paste in and they didn't really know what it did, but it worked, right? And that's like this progression. And so I think that is a challenge too, especially as those people became self-taught and they learned and they're like, oh, I can build a plugin that might be useful to other people. So it's either going to be free or it's a paid plug-in or both, but they don't have any formal training. And so I think on that same front, we need to have the users of those plugins creating that same sort of demand and requesting that. And that's something that I've been trying to do more of, like we used to do, or we do accessibility audits and I used to only give the audit to the client, and now I'm like, give the audit to the client and then I go, look, do they have a GitHub? Do they have a wordpress.org support form? Like, where can I find that? I can go also report this to the plugin developer. Because sometimes the solution is, I tell you, this is horrible, just uninstall it and use this other plugin instead. But how does that make that plug-in a that got uninstalled better because that plug-in developer will never know.

Chuck Carpenter: [31:32] Yeah, they're de-incentivized at that point.

Amber Hinds: [31:33] Right, yeah. Well, or they don't even know because they might not even know they lost one install and why. Right.

Chuck Carpenter: [31:40] Yeah.

Amber Hinds: [31:40] And so I think there's just this general need to talk about it and how important it is to share information just broadly in general, which is here's the problems that are there. And this is why you should prioritize them.

Chuck Carpenter: [31:55] And you mentioned the WordPress-specific initiatives around this. I also think at the top, there's some responsibility for evangelizing that across the board as well. Like what gets integrated into core, what gets evangelized by the big corp? Because like you said, yes, you have the.org but you have the.com you have Matt and Automatic, and they're pressing enterprise solutions. So what's in the enterprise solution? What are they? They could be integrating your plug in by default in enterprise solutions and that someone could opt into the page or things like that. So I think there's a lot of different knobs to turn there, too. And with great power comes great responsibility.

Amber Hinds: [32:41] Yeah. So every year, Matt gives what he calls the state of the word. That tells you something about the WordPress ecosystem. That’s what his talk is called. But he did the state of the word talk. And last year I tried really hard. I pressed him a bunch and Tweeted and a bunch of other people pressed him and I was like, you need to say accessibility is a priority and tell people to learn accessibility. And he responded back and he basically said that he didn't want to because whenever he talks about accessibility, someone always says they're not doing enough or they're not doing it right. And therefore he must pay people with disabilities, which I will say there are definitely some negative people on that front that they just get so, they're like, you're an awful human being because you didn't do this one thing right.

Chuck Carpenter: [33:29] Right.

Amber Hinds: [33:30] But that said, I think you have to decide as a leader, those people are edge cases, I think, and most of us recognize that what they're saying is not accurate and still say that this is important and this is a priority. Because I think you're right, there's a lot of top down if we start saying if they implemented a rule which said we aren't going to allow any plugins with I don't know. I'm trying to think of something. Now that's very easily deductible, right? But like hashtag links. So A equals hashtag and there's no role equals button. So we're like, okay, obviously they're trying to use this as a button, but they're not. If we said no plugins with this are allowed in the WordPress directory, we can scan for it automatically. The second you do it, we're going to tell you you have however many days to fix it or your plugin comes down, replace it as make it a button or add roll equals button or something. Right?

Chuck Carpenter: [34:21] Right.

Amber Hinds: [34:21] If we made a rule like that, it would be painful in the beginning, but we would have no more hashtag links.

Chuck Carpenter: [34:29] Right.

Amber Hinds: [34:29] Or they'd at least have aria on them to help make them a real button. Closer to a real button.

Chuck Carpenter: [34:34] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [34:35] Wait we shouldn't use divs for everything?

Amber Hinds: [34:37] And spans?

Robbie Wagner: [34:40] Anyway. Sorry.

Chuck Carpenter: [34:42] Fair enough.

Amber Hinds: [34:43] See that's where the JavaScript gets dangerous because it's like it doesn't have to be anything because I just make it that way with JavaScript.

Robbie Wagner: [34:50] Yeah, which is funny. Like I found in some client code a few months back there was like a div with a role equals button with like an on click of something. Like basically they were hacking. What if you just wrapped an input in a label and if you click the label it by default clicks into the input. But they didn't know that. Like whoever wrote it didn't know basic HTML so they didn't do that. Right, and added on clicks to select it when you click the text. And I was like, I just deleted all of it and put in label input and we're good.

Amber Hinds: [35:23] Yeah. So it's funny, right? You probably deleted like 40 lines of code or replace it with two.

Robbie Wagner: [35:28] Yup. So I think that's right back to education. They just didn't know that because they were just taught React and they didn't know anything else.

Chuck Carpenter: [35:37] So I want to pivot a little bit. I want to talk about this thing that you've done in life because I well, I didn't do it to the extreme that you have done, but we tried it, this RV life.

Amber Hinds: [35:48] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [35:49] The TLDR is like, oh, we got a big we rented a big trailer and we had this plan to drive cross country and all this kind of stuff and we rage quit in Austin and stored the trailer and just did hotels the rest of the way. So you did better.

Amber Hinds: [36:05] Why? I want to know why?

Chuck Carpenter: [36:07] It was miserable on a lot of different levels. Okay, so our car could do 700-pound tow capacity. I think we got a 6500-pound trailer which is like 27ft or so. I was like, okay, whatever. We went from like 25 miles per gallon down to like seven in the way that we planned the trips. We were like, okay, we'll drive like 6 hours a day and we'll be here, here, here. Not when you have to stop that often. So then it turned eight to twelve-hour drives. I have two small kids.

Amber Hinds: [36:40] They have to go to the bathroom.

Chuck Carpenter: [36:41] They got to go to the bathroom. They don't want to sit that long. There's just like all this stuff that just ended up being not great. And we had a couple of okay experiences. Like we stayed on a farm outside of Austin and that was kind of cool and some other stuff. But in general we were like, this just isn't working for us. We're either going to go home oh, and I was driving through storms, so I was driving east and there were all these tropical storms.

Robbie Wagner: [37:04] During a hurricane, wasn't it?

Chuck Carpenter: [37:05] Yeah. So then it's like, I've got this giant trailer I'm driving and I'm just like. This is not cool. It's just like not pleasant for anyone. And yeah, we eventually were like, okay, we can either take this back or we can just store it. And that's what we did. We just stored it and we went the rest of the way about our merry old time and hotels are nice, so I don't know, that was my experience with RV life, was like we probably made a lot of mistakes, I'll admit that, but it's almost traumatic. So how was yours?

Amber Hinds: [37:41] Weirdly. I kind of miss RV life a lot. We moved from Fort Collins, Colorado to north of Austin in 2017. And we sold our house up there. We bought a trailer and we lived in it on my father-in-law's land for a while and then we don't homeschool. At that time we had three kids. We have four now. And we don't home school. So we were during school we were parked on his land and then any time they were out of school, we traveled. So spring break, winter break.

Chuck Carpenter: [38:12] Nice.

Amber Hinds: [38:13] Although that one time I would say taking a we had a 40 foot travel trailer. We did have a truck, but taking a 40 foot travel trailer to Michigan for Christmas, not a smart idea.

Chuck Carpenter: [38:24] Fair enough.

Amber Hinds: [38:25] Everything froze. We were driving back and we had no water.

Chuck Carpenter: [38:29] Oh man.

Amber Hinds: [38:30] We had to stop in Shreveport, Louisiana at a campground. And Chris, my husband, went and got a bunch of space heaters and he was blowing them up under the trailer and trying to thaw so we could actually flush our toilets. So that part is not so great, but the rest of it was really good. And then over the summer, we would go on eleven-week trips. Basically. They'd get out of school, they'd have a dancer recital, and then we would go on the road and we'd come back two days before school started. And so they have been to every state capital west of the Mississippi, except for somehow, we missed Nebraska. And now I guess I have to take a trip to Nebraska, which seems weird, but if we're going to fill the book, we're going to do that. So I really liked it. It was fun. There's a lot less to clean once you live in forty square foot space.

Chuck Carpenter: [39:18] Right.

Robbie Wagner: [39:19] Get a Roomba, it's done in one pass.

Chuck Carpenter: [39:21] Yeah.

Amber Hinds: [39:21] Yeah. Although I don't know, there's probably a lot of tiny spaces that a Roomba couldn't get into.

Robbie Wagner: [39:26] That's fair.

Amber Hinds: [39:27] We had a cat and a dog in there with us. The cat I was a little, like, about because of the litter box.

Chuck Carpenter: [39:33] Oh, yeah.

Amber Hinds: [39:34] But it was like I don't know. It was a really fun adventure, and we got to see a lot of cool things, and they liked it. Then when COVID happened, that was right around the time we had our fourth, and my husband was like, I'm not driving in a pickup truck with four children and one in between us in the front seat. We sold the trailer, and we still debate every once in a while if we should buy something that's drivable. We talked about doing a school bus, but it's hard. Our oldest is 13, and she's, like, getting into dance, and now she's like, I don't want to miss summer because that's when she does all her activities and stuff.

Chuck Carpenter: [40:09] Oh, I see. Yeah. I'll just say a school bus is a real commitment. I've seen some interesting conversion projects in that, and I'm like, that sounds good in theory to me, but I don't know.

Amber Hinds: [40:20] Yeah, I don't know. We talked about it because we thought it would be fun, and we got realistic about our time. So then we started looking at people that will convert them for you, but then you read the horror stories, so, like, they just did everything wrong.

Chuck Carpenter: [40:36] Right, yeah.

Amber Hinds: [40:37] That is the one thing I'll say about the trailer. We bought the trailer new because we thought there would be less problems with it. And in retrospect, I would buy used because there were, like, so many things, which they fixed on warranty, but our fresh water tank was cracked. We couldn't store any fresh water. They had to replace it. One of our slides was broken, and it took, like, all this work, but we bought it away from our house, so we had to go back to the same dealer. And when you live in it and it's literally your house.

Chuck Carpenter: [41:06] Yeah.

Amber Hinds: [41:06] So it's like, okay, we have to be out of our house for four days and stay in a hotel in order for them to fix our house.

Chuck Carpenter: [41:14] Yeah.

Amber Hinds: [41:15] So there are some challenges, too. But I liked it. It was fun. We got to see lots of cool things.

Robbie Wagner: [41:21] Nice. Yeah. So while we're on this topic, tell us about the Going RV show that you were on.

Amber Hinds: [41:30] Going RV, if anyone is not familiar with it, a little bit like House Hunters on HGTV. It's on Great American Country, which is an HGTV sister station, and we just, like, randomly I don't even know how we heard about it because my mom watched a bunch of HGTV she was like, you should apply to be on this thing. And it was after we had our trailer, and I was like, okay. So we did and they picked us, which was kind of funny, but they come down. I learned so much about TV, and I will tell you, I'll never watch any of these shows the same way. Okay, so they filmed our episode in a day and a half. It was a very long day and a half day.

Chuck Carpenter: [42:13] I bet.

Amber Hinds: [42:13] The before, the shopping, and the after, right? So it's like they're like, just put on different clothes and put a ponytail on instead to try and make it look like it's before or after, even though it's the same day. I'll thank you guys.

Chuck Carpenter: [42:31] The magic of TV is what you mean.

Amber Hinds: [42:33] Yes, exactly. And then they would do things like so they had three different trailers, one of which was similar to ours. It wasn't our exact one, obviously, but it was the same make and model. And then two other ones that they picked, and they would film us going through. They had two different camera people and a sound guy, and then they had a producer, and they first just have us walk through, and then they'd be like, okay, now open the door again and say what you said, only say it this way. You have to do it, like five like everything, like, five or six different times. So it's very interesting. My kids have gotten into watching what is it, America's Got Talent. And they were filming, like, one of the after scenes where someone walked out and she hugged her mum after she didn't get voted off. My husband and I was like, I bet you she hugged her mom, like, ten times. The first time they were like, your face didn't look happy enough.

Robbie Wagner: [43:27] Yeah, I think that's really interesting. My wife had told me about how that's how House Hunters is. Like, whenever they do that, they've already picked a house. So she's like, yeah, watch closely and you can see that they react more favorably to the one they're going to pick because they already lived there.

Amber Hinds: [43:44] You can read them.

Robbie Wagner: [43:46] Yeah. And it's like, oh, okay, that does make sense.

Chuck Carpenter: [43:49] All I ever pay attention to is how, like, the budgets are ridiculous. They're like, oh, we're looking for something in Rome. I want to spend 300,000. I went four bedrooms right downtown.

Amber Hinds: [44:01] And I'm a teacher.

Robbie Wagner: [44:02] Yeah. I like the memes that are like, yeah, our budget is one 8 million, and I raise lizards. And my wife is like, whatever. I don't know. It's like, jobs that don't make money.

Chuck Carpenter: [44:13] That's the Property Brothers one. So for some reason, Canadian dollars is like $2 billion per US dollar or something like that. Because it's always Property Brothers are like, well, we're looking for a starter home somewhere around 1.5 million, a fixer upper, kind of. And so this is the opposite. It's a really weird set up.

Amber Hinds: [44:33] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [44:33] It's fun when you visit Canada, though, because you go have dinner and you're like, that was kind of expensive. But then you get home and you're like, Wait. No, it wasn't. Like, here's the actual bill on my credit card.

Amber Hinds: [44:43] It wasn't as expensive as you want. You got money back.

Robbie Wagner: [44:46] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [44:47] Well, fun fact, you can go to London and it's the same case right now. Thanks, Brexit. I think it's like eighty cents to the dollar the first time ever. When I was there last, it was one and a half.

Amber Hinds: [44:58] So it's cheaper than it would be.

Chuck Carpenter: [45:00] Yes.

Amber Hinds: [45:02] So we should all book a vacation in London.

Chuck Carpenter: [45:04] Yes.

Robbie Wagner: [45:05] Anywhere in Europe. Right. It's just the euro in general is like, bad.

Chuck Carpenter: [45:08] The euro in general is down, but I think the pound is worse than the euro. It was like equal in the euro or just under. But the pound is like, way worse.

Robbie Wagner: [45:16] Right.

Chuck Carpenter: [45:16] Turns out when your country is falling apart and your money isn't worth as much.

Amber Hinds: [45:20] Yeah, when you have a prime minister that resigns after like, two weeks.

Robbie Wagner: [45:23] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [45:25] Who other than me really likes European soccer?

Robbie Wagner: [45:28.] It's just you.

Chuck Carpenter: [45:29] Just me. Austin has a good team, by the way, Amber. You should check it out. The MLS team there.

Amber Hinds: [45:35] Okay. Our kids do wreck soccer. And I see people wearing jerseys from the Austin team.

Chuck Carpenter: [45:43] There you go.

Amber Hinds: [45:44] But I'm always like, oh, there's soccer here. But I haven't actually been.

Chuck Carpenter: [45:49] Maybe McConaughey will be there. He's one of the owners.

Amber Hinds: [45:52] I did not know that.

Chuck Carpenter: [45:53] And he's very involved with the team. So if you need some incentive, perhaps.

Amber Hinds: [45:58] He is very around in Austin, so he does a lot. Who knows, someday maybe he'll be the governor. I think he has aspirations.

Robbie Wagner: [46:05] I was going to say, wasn't he wasn't he running for something, or was he just talking about it?

Amber Hinds: [46:09] I don't know. To be honest, I didn't actually like, I heard him say something and then I was like, I'm not going to vote for you.

Chuck Carpenter: [46:16] Yeah, nobody's really listening to what he says.

Robbie Wagner: [46:19]But he can sell me a Lincoln real damn good.

Chuck Carpenter: [46:21] Round, what flat circles. That's all I ever think it's him looking at the can, going flat circles.

Amber Hinds: [46:28] I don't know what that's a reference to. Is that from a movie?

Chuck Carpenter: [46:30] It's from the show he was on. The detective show. The one was on like, HBO or something. What was that?

Robbie Wagner: [46:37] I didn't know he was in the show.

Amber Hinds: [46:38] Oh, yeah, we're weird. We don't have TV.

Chuck Carpenter: [46:40] What?

Robbie Wagner: [46:40] Like at all?

Chuck Carpenter: [46:42] Explain.

Amber Hinds: [46:43] Well, we do have a television and it has an antenna, but we don't pay for like, Netflix or Hulu or any of those things or cable. Our kids watch PBS kids. That's probably the most of what I see. And we can watch the NewsHour.

Chuck Carpenter: [46:59] Okay, fair.

Amber Hinds: [47:00] And I guess if we wanted to, we could put other things on. It drives my dad nuts every time he won't visit me at Thanksgiving anymore because he can't really watch football.

Chuck Carpenter: [47:08] Right. You just need one of those, like, digital antennas and same thing.

Robbie Wagner: [47:13] Yeah. Well, everything should be more a la carte. Like, you should be able to say, I want all the football for one day.

Chuck Carpenter: [47:19] Right.

Robbie Wagner: [47:19] I have something you can buy that on. But they don't do that yet.

Amber Hinds: [47:23] Well, I think he pays for an NFL package on ESPN. And the last time he visited, he tried to put the app on our TV and make it work, and he couldn't figure out how to make it work. And he's very sad. He's very into, the Patriots. And as I was growing up, we always watch football, and he's been sending my kids Patriots jerseys and shirts and everything since they were born. He'll call and he'll be like, there's a game today. Are they wearing their shirts? And I'm like, dad, they don't know what that is.

Chuck Carpenter: [47:52] Yeah. Are you from the New England area?

Amber Hinds: [47:55] So I was born in New Hampshire, but I mostly grew up in Iowa. But I have a lot of family in New England.

Chuck Carpenter: [48:01] Right, that makes sense.

Amber Hinds: [48:03] He's in New Hampshire.

Chuck Carpenter: [48:04] Yeah. I haven't noticed any particular accent, so I was trying to kind of nail that down.

Amber Hinds: [48:09] Yeah, I definitely don't have the Texas.

Chuck Carpenter: [48:13] I don't think a lot of people in Austin have the Texas.

Amber Hinds: [48:17] No, not too many. I mean, there's a lot of people like me here that aren't actually from here now, which makes all the native Austiners not very happy.

Chuck Carpenter: [48:27] Right. It's been a hot space for a few years, for sure. I used to go to South By all the time and yeah, they never really changed the infrastructure for the growth, though. It's like all these people are moving here, and there's still, like, one highway in and out of downtown.

Amber Hinds: [48:42] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [48:43] Just stack more highways on top like they do in New Jersey.

Chuck Carpenter: [48:46] Yeah, there you go. Or La. Right? They do that in La.

Amber Hinds: [48:49] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [48:50] Kind of thing.

Amber Hinds: [48:50] Spaghetti highways.

Chuck Carpenter: [48:52] Food for thought. You can get on the planning commission to fix that.

Amber Hinds: [48:55] No, that might be very interesting, actually. But that also sounds like a lot of work.

Chuck Carpenter: [49:02] Oh, yeah. Well, I just consider it an accessibility issue.

Amber Hinds: [49:05] That is true. Yeah, it is an accessibility issue.

Chuck Carpenter: [49:08] Tied it together. That's what I do.

Amber Hinds: [49:11] I'm just focusing on fixing the web. When I fix the web, then I'll go fix the highways in Austin, or I'll be so rich because I fix the web.

Chuck Carpenter: [49:21] Have fixed the web, yeah.

Amber Hinds: [49:22] That I will no longer live in Austin and I'll go live somewhere else.

Chuck Carpenter: [49:26] I mean, it's a world well, at least a US-regulated problem. European regulated problem. I mean, that's a pretty decent market share. Yeah, there's a lot to go get.

Amber Hinds: [49:36] Ontario has a lot of very strict like, their laws are actually stricter than ours here, too.

Robbie Wagner: [49:42] Yeah, I think didn't they basically outlaw everything that Google does in, like, the UK? Like, you just can't use Google anything.

Amber Hinds: [49:51] I don't know about the UK, but so in EU, there's really strikes privacy laws with GDPR. And I know Germany has said, like, Google Analytics and Google hosted fonts and things like that are illegal because it sends data.

Robbie Wagner: [50:07] Fonts?

Amber Hinds: [50:07] Outside.

Robbie Wagner: [50:08] The fonts have data? I guess it cookies people. Come on.

Chuck Carpenter: [50:12] Google probably usage data or something. Yeah, I mean, it's like downloading an image and then getting kind of a send back header as to get some information around who's using it. So I could see that getting collected.

Robbie Wagner: [50:26] I guess free stuff is never free, right?

Chuck Carpenter: [50:28] No.

Amber Hinds: [50:29] Well, you can self-host Google Fonts, which is actually better for performance. That's the thing I always think is weird. Like when we're talking about SEO and Google really cares about page speed, but if you run a PageSpeed test on any website that has analytics or Tag Manager or Google Fonts and all that, you get hit and it dings your score so much. I was like this is Google stuff.

Chuck Carpenter: [50:53] Yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [50:53] You think they would allow their own, like if from Google don't ding you.

Amber Hinds: [50:58] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [50:58] From what I understand, though, products don't intermingle necessarily. There's often not overlap. So analytics has its own things that it's doing, and PageSpeed could have its own things that it's doing and they may not align.

Amber Hinds: [51:13] Yeah, I mean, that makes sense. It's probably massive teams that never talk to each other.

Chuck Carpenter: [51:18] No.

Amber Hinds: [51:20] Big company. So moral of that story, self-host your Google font if you want to use one, or just use system fonts.

Chuck Carpenter: [51:29] I think that's what anyone should take out of this episode. A, use your plugin. B cell host your fonts.

Robbie Wagner: [51:36] Yeah, I know. When we converted our site to Astro recently, I was testing it out to see what was faster, that or Nuxt 3 or you know various frameworks, and we were getting like an 80 on Lighthouse, and I'm like, this is terrible. I didn't even put anything in here yet. This is not a good framework. And I was like, oh, look, here's some Google Fonts that included in the boilerplate. Delete them. Oh, 100. Okay.

Amber Hinds: [51:58] That you aren't even using. Yeah. That's the hard thing with any of those themes or templates is that they put a lot of stuff in and preload a lot of things. The block libraries, too. If you're adding libraries because you're like, I need an accordion block, and then you go download something that adds like, I don't know, twelve or 15 different blocks because you only needed one. And then it loads JavaScript for all those blocks and styles for all those blocks on every single page.

Chuck Carpenter: [52:28] Yeah. Sounds like WordPress needs some, like, prebuilt tools. Shake out everything you're not actually using on the page.

Robbie Wagner: [52:36] Yeah tree shaking.

Chuck Carpenter: [52:37] Yes.

Amber Hinds: [52:38] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [52:39] There we go.

Amber Hinds: [52:40] We've been doing more of that when it's anything custom that we build, we in queue the files on the JavaScript on the block level. So if you don't use the block on the page, then it won't load any of that stuff.

Robbie Wagner: [52:52] Nice.

Amber Hinds: [52:52] But I guess maybe the plug-in developers haven't figured that one out yet. It's easier to just load it everywhere.

Chuck Carpenter: [52:59] Yeah, definitely. And if you're not being paid to build a plug-in, maybe you're not incentivized to continue to refine. I don't know.

Amber Hinds: [53:07] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [53:07] Definitely that.

Robbie Wagner: [53:08] Let's not forget, all of these things people put out for free are for free. The fact that they've shared with us at all i/s great. You can always fork it and change it and do whatever you need to do.

Chuck Carpenter: [53:19] Food for thought there.

Robbie Wagner: [53:21] Yeah.

Chuck Carpenter: [53:22] On that note yeah.

Robbie Wagner: [53:25] We are about at time here before we wrap up, is there anything we missed? Anything you would like to plug, anything like that?

Amber Hinds: [53:31] So if you are interested in learning more about accessibility in WordPress, but also accessibility in general, I run the official WordPress Accessibility Meetup. It's twice a month. It's virtual on zoom. It's live captioned. Sometimes we assign language interpreters, but not always. Depends on sponsors. So check that out. WordPress accessibility meetup. You can find it on meetup.com.

Chuck Carpenter: [53:54] Awesome.

Robbie Wagner: [53:54] Cool. All right, well, thanks everybody for listening. If you liked it, please subscribe. Leave us some ratings and reviews, we appreciate it, and we'll catch you next time.

Chuck Carpenter: [54:05] Thanks for listening to Whiskey Web and Whatnot. This podcast is brought to you Ship Shape and produced by Podcast Royale. If you like this episode, consider sharing it with a friend or two and leave us a rating and maybe a review. As long as it's good.

Robbie Wagner: [54:20] You can subscribe to future episodes on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. For more info about Ship Shape and this show, check out our website at shipshape.io.