Nailing the Discovery Process And Accessibility

Alicia St. Rose

Read the transcript

Jan Koch  02:12

Welcome, everybody. Thanks for joining me on the WP Agency Summit. I’m here with Alicia  St. Rose, which obviously is a tongue twister for me. This is the second time we are recording this introduction. Alicia, thank you so much for coming on to the summit.

Alicia St Rose  02:48

Oh, thank you for having me. This is great. And don’t worry, my name has been a tongue twister ever since I was in Catholic school, in an honest reply.  You will refuse to pronounce my name the way I want it to be pronounced. That was good.

Jan Koch  03:06

I love it. Can you give us an introduction about who you are and what you’re doing in the WordPress space?

Alicia St Rose  03:12

Well, I’m just having fun in the WordPress space. I fell into WordPress. Out of necessity. I wanted to put my own blog up, I tried started something on blogger and it didn’t look good. I might move on to WordPress, I couldn’t figure out how to work, ended up getting a book on coding and HTML and CSS. And from there on, I just fell into this love of putting things on the web. And then I discovered WordPress by putting my own blog up and working on other people’s projects. Learning as I went along. I ran or I fell into Justin Tadlock’s, team hybrid site that he had, and I’m so glad that I did because he taught me about hooks and filters, really geeky stuff to make a WordPress theme work. And then one day I was just tooling around on the internet, and I looked up and I saw this announcement for something called a WordCamp. I don’t even know what that was. So I went in and I said I googled WordCamp, I went to and I’m like, “What is this? This is crazy.” And there’s one in Orange County and it’s tomorrow. I’m like the end of the submissions for speakers was ending the next day. And so I decided to just submit a talk and I got accepted and I and from then on I’ve been talking about WordPress at meetups in Southern California, and our WordCamp. And I also have my own meetup here in Santa Barbara, where I help people with problems with their sites and they come with any kind of issue and just have fun trying to figure it out. And now with this Renaissance with because now they’re online. I’m rolling around with a group of people that I’ve only met virtually, and we’re going to meet up. And I’ve met some incredibly talented WordPress people. And it’s just, it’s amazing what’s happening right now. And so for me personally too I also have a WP with heart. And it is an agency, I do custom development. But I also coach people on doing their own websites. And I realized we can’t be done, we got to join them. People are gonna put their websites up no matter what. But now we just have to help them do it right. And do it in a way that shows that their authenticity came through instead of

Jan Koch  05:40

Yes. Squarespace. Yeah. I love it. And that is the exact reason I wanted to have a conversation with you during the summit is that you help people express themselves on a website, which obviously when we’re building websites for paying customers, is exactly what we need to achieve in our agencies. So yeah, how do you do that? How do you coach people to build websites that reflect themselves or their business?

Alicia St Rose  06:11

Well, the thing that I realized when people went to do their own website, and it became increasingly frustrating when they gave up on that and came to me to help, was that they never actually planned anything beforehand. They just immediately went to the site builder, and they started dragging things around. And so that kind of dragging around, drag and drop, that’s technically the only place for that is on the dance floor. Frankly, I tell them that, like there’s no, you don’t drag and drop who you are into a site. You have to actually have a strategy, like a content strategy. You also have to know why you’re doing it in the first place. Did you ask yourself these questions? Or did Jesus I’m what I need to make money real quick is not the way to do it. And it’s gonna fail. And so, what I realized was that people weren’t really understanding what they were doing on the internet and why. And that’s why, among other things, their sites didn’t look good, or did not work for them and actually worked against them. It’s because they didn’t realize they needed to put at least two weeks of an hour a day or something, just figuring out journaling or whatever of whatever doing so that by the time they got ready to build a website, the website was just a framework around what they were actually going to provide, instead of building something and then saying, I need to put content in that spot.

Jan Koch  07:44

That, that that resonates so well with me, and I hope with many people listening, and that is because from my experience in working with customers, some people claim to know WordPress, and they have played around with it, frankly. And then, they try to explain how to build this website, how to how to use Elementor or Beaver Builder, or what have you, and how to use this plugin over the other plugin. And they didn’t even take the time to figure out how the website will actually contribute to their business. Like why the website will be an asset and not just another liability, they have to take care of. I would love your thoughts on guiding people through this discovery phase, like helping people understand what a website can do for them essentially.

Alicia St Rose  08:34

Well, I always stress over and over again, your content will dictate what the website actually starts to look like. I always tell them that and they don’t understand and go, I’ve got a bunch of stuff hanging out somewhere, I’ve got something on an old website, or I got something in some journals. And I really got it all gel together yet. And I don’t know what I’m saying I don’t know I’m saying it too. And it just sounds like a bunch of stuff they’ve got in their head or somewhere else. And so I created something called the brain dump. And it’s a piece of basically a Google document. And I’ve given them a table of contents because I’ve formatted the document so they can use it, I tell them how to do it. And then I just say you know what, change this, this title here to about me, and then start dumping everything you know about yourself in this section. And then and then just keep dumping something else. Like it’s another aspect you want to talk about. But it doesn’t matter if you don’t think it goes on the website. It doesn’t matter whether you don’t think it fits, just dump it in there. And then when you read it over again, what parts jump out that you really need to tell somebody about, then you want to highlight that with bright yellow. And so and so then like if it’s what’s the second tier that like, you know, this isn’t that important, but I would like it to be on the website and then those See that one and then they go down to like, no highlight that came out. But I really don’t think it’s going on the website. So now we’ve like, given a hierarchy to their content. And now, they don’t know this, but they’ve created a homepage and call to actions in the first top tiers. So the content will decide what’s going to be on those buttons, what’s going to be in the hero section, you know, things like that. But for them, they were grabbing before that they were grabbing the sunset of Santa Barbara because they live here, you know, I mean, does that work?

Jan Koch  10:35

That is a really nice approach because that’s also one of the biggest issues that agencies face is that clients do not provide the content, and then you have to work with a place or does in Lorem Ipsum and other dummy texts and dummy images, and when you show a client, the prototype of a website with placeholder text, it doesn’t resonate at all with them, because they like the creative thoughts and the imagination of what it will look like with their own content on but by helping them create the content right in the first phase, I think that’s a really nice approach to speed things up.

Alicia St Rose  11:11

Well, the thing I like to point out is, I think agencies and designers and developers need to come up with a different approach too. They are sending that mockup with the placeholder text, or no text, just the gray lines. That doesn’t help because that actually reigns the client and again, to I can only say this much is going to do this. So then their authenticity will start to suffer because now they’re trying to fit literally fit themselves into a box. So if you allow them to just blurt out everything that they need to say, and you see what resonates, that’s important, then you start to have different creative approaches to their content, instead of “this is why we’re doing it”. And since then, any unusual and groundbreaking innovative website pops up out of that. It’s not the three services and then the hero and it’s strapped into a boot or whatever. It’s like, it’s just, it’s unique. And it’s more fun to collaborate with someone like that.

Jan Koch  12:21

Yeah, yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And it’s also something that you could potentially even sell as a discovery session in the first place before the project even starts. Because what you’re essentially doing in this time is you are helping the client understand what they do as a business, how they need to communicate it, and then how to make the entire package presentable to the target audience of the client, which is essentially business consulting.

Alicia St Rose  12:49

Yeah. So it’s, it’s I like to say it’s a holistic approach that I do and, and once they know what, why they’re doing it, I’m like, deep down is another exercise I do so they can get down to the exact why. And it’s usually not. I’ve had people tell me, I want to provide copywriting, or copy editing services for people who want to do their own write their own memoirs. And then when it got down to the meat of it, it was I want people to have that freedom to express that seed of their story that’s in their soul. I was like, Yes, that’s different than like copy editing. And when you write your content, or you even do means for social media, or even on your intake form, or whatever, you permeate that, that into everything, and now it’s like your intake form could be Tell me a story about this a short story, so I get to know you and everything is about the memoir now, for them. 

Jan Koch  13:52

 Yeah, yeah, this is a beautiful example. And it just goes to show how important it is to really know your story and know like, maybe in a more business term know that the tagline of your business why you do what you do, who you do it for, and what you are doing, I would even say in that order first Why then who and then what else besides the content makes a website reflect the business or personality?

Alicia St Rose  14:19

Um, the why, it’s because you can vote you vibrate with your passion, and everything you touch that vibration goes into it. So you can tell when you visit a website as a site visitor, whether there’s a passion in that, you can tell even if there was a passion in the person from the person who designed it sometimes. And sometimes you can tell that the passion was more from the client and or the person who did it themselves because what they wrote is moving in so thank goodness for that person had enough of who they really weren’t. Even overcome the design principle obstacle, okay? They did not have. And so you can, there’s this magic there. And so I’m the content, the intention, and also confidence, confidence in yourself and you only get that confidence when you really know what you’re doing.

Jan Koch  15:22


Alicia St Rose  15:22

You’re really doing.

Jan Koch  15:23

Yeah.  And you know what I love most about this answer it is, that it’s not the flashy design, it’s not the latest page builder, it’s not the best juice you can find on the internet or GIFs however you pronounce it. I think that that’s a different discussion in itself. But it isn’t, it isn’t any of these shiny techie tools. It’s it isn’t any shiny object, it’s really the brand itself. It’s really the person you’re building the website for, and you need to help them understand who they are and how they want to leverage their website. Yeah,

Alicia St Rose  16:02

Well, the benefit of that, too, is this huge amount of trust is built up. I’ve had clients tell me, just leave me a text because they thought about it in the middle of the night. And they thought, you know, I just wanted to tell you, I feel you care about my business more than I do. And I really feel safe. I mean, you work with me. And not only that, I learned things about everything. And so it’s not about putting my client in a cookie-cutter website, it’s about oh my god, there’s a whole new industry that I can learn from, and every industry that someone has, there’s a bit of it that you can take to enhance your own life and whatever you’re doing. It could be channels of shipping, or it could be someone who channels. automatic writing, I’ve had those two clients. So Oh, and you just learned something and it just enhances your life, you have to look at your client as a benefit to your life. Now if you as a designer or an agency person or freelancer, think decided that’s important that your client should be an asset that it’d be easier to let them go and they’re not. When they’re like making things difficult or, or there’s the appearance that things are difficult. It’s just not a situation you want to be in because you can’t really help them, either. Regardless of whether the difficulty came from your end, set their end or universal, whatever, there has to be a moment where you realize keeping going in a negative way is only going to produce a negative result. And like I said, the vibration. When people come in and like see the site, they’re gonna feel the pain. I know you’ve done that before gone to a website in the past, or Oh, yeah, I feel the pain of the last people.

Jan Koch  17:52

This is such an important point that you’re bringing up. I’m glad you’re mentioning this vetting the people you work with before you actually start the process. And I think what we talked about earlier in this discovery phase, if you go into that process, and you feel there is a disconnect between you and your customer, whatsoever, the reason, then it’s definitely a great time to maybe just say, Hey, I’m probably not the best fit for you. We can try this, but I’m pretty sure it won’t work out because of ABC. And here’s where I see the disconnect. May I refer you to somebody else who I think can better serve you. And then that that, again, builds reciprocity with your network of fellow web designers, web agencies. And then I think that’s something that’s really important. I personally have that myself, I have many friends who I keep referring business to, for example, when I’m overbooked. With projects, there’s only so much work you can take on. And then if some people come to me in that phase, I just refer them to friends, and they refer business to me. And it’s just a healthy relationship in this WordPress community, I think.

Alicia St Rose  18:58

Yeah, definitely.

Jan Koch  19:01

I love it. So we’ve talked a lot about reflecting the website owner on the website, how do we balance that against the audience, the website needs to appeal to?

Alicia St Rose  19:14

Well, from the beginning, you must stress to the client that the site is for hundreds to millions of people, and they’re just one of them, the client, and they’re not, so they’re outnumbered. So you’re like we want to please these people, and unless you want to revisit your site 20 or 30 times a month and buy your product and then put the money back in. Otherwise, that’s I understand your needs and there are things that you totally want to see on the site. And the fun part for me is and I’ll tell them this part is integrating what they wanted and pleasing the site visitors and I explain along the way, each step away why I’m doing something and I explain why I’m doing it for the visitor’s first. And the main thing right now is it’s not accessible. It’s something that does not aid inaccessibility and the client wants it. I’m pretty firm that that one, we got to stop there and try something else. Because now the clients, it’s detrimental to them too, because they may not understand how important it is not right now. And it’s getting more and more important. And it brings more value to their business if they’re they have an assessable site. Because 

Jan Koch  20:41


Alicia St Rose  20:42

only 2% of the web is accessible right now. So

Jan Koch  20:45

Yeah. And it’s big, it’s a big challenge to build accessible websites. So that is definitely really important. And for those people watching, you can refer to the session with Claire Brotherton, where we talk more about accessibility towards the end of the conversation. How do you explain that to customers so that they understand, for example, the classic make the logo bigger compensation? It’s one that logo in 10,000 fixes a width.

Alicia St Rose  21:19

Yeah, I always tell them that, that the bigger the logo is overcompensating, and you don’t want to look like that. Oh, and I was like, look at this company here. Like, they’re huge, because mother logo, I’ll show them like a major enterprise-level site, and they’ll they get it. But the accessibility one, it’s very easy, because the site needs to be accessible for all the same way. So a lot of times they found a shortcut, like an overlay or something. And that won’t work either. Because if someone cannot access the site the way everyone else does, or can’t access that at all, it actually violates their civil rights here in the United States, which is an amendment. So it violates the Civil Rights Amendment. And if there’s an overlay or something on there, and they have to come in differently, they’re coming through the backdoor. And so that means it’s a separate but not equal. And so I usually start with that. And that has a profound effect on an American person. But I think Europe right now is starting to roll out some rules about sales. Yeah, and Canada the same. So

Jan Koch  22:35

Yeah, and I think those laws become more and more agnostic to where the website is hosted. And it’s more towards where the visitors are coming from. So that is, with GDPR, for example, it doesn’t matter if the company is based in Europe or the US, as long as a US-based company gets traffic from Europe and does a transaction with European residents, then they have to follow GDPR. From what I understand, I’m no lawyer, by all means. But yes, that’s all I understood.

Alicia St Rose  23:08

do not play one on TV. So anyway, that so the thing here is I just wrapped this up yesterday. So WordPress had its first WordPress accessibility day went on for 24 hours. And they were each hour had a different presentation I gave one at 8 pm on October 2, but it was all over. And it went on. And the feed is in the process of getting captioned or correcting the captions. And there’ll be posting those talks. And I really suggest that everyone watch them because it’s really not that difficult to make your site assessable. And even as a content creator, you may have your WordPress site, but then you when you start putting your content in. If you’re not doing it appropriately, then you’ve undone pretty much what the designer did to keep it accessible. And there’s just those few tips and tricks. So I also do that in the DIY. One on one coaching, especially accessibility is now from the get-go hand in hand. It’s immersed in everything. Yeah.

Jan Koch  24:17

Yeah, I think that is a really great approach. And to at least pay a little bit of dividend to accessibility. I’m having all the session transcribed. But by a human, not just by an AI service. I would love to do captions, but honestly, it was so much content. It’s really, really expensive to have all the sessions captioned. But that is something that also when talking to customers is you have to make them understand that maintaining a website and constantly creating content to update the website is a lot of work. And that is something that from my experience, many people underestimate in the first place. How do you teach your customers that a website is not finished once it’s launched?

Alicia St Rose  24:58

Oh, I tell them constantly It’s not a finished product, it’s an evolution, it’s constantly evolving. There’s a lifespan that’s shrinking, actually, for a website, where you’re supposed to redo it. I don’t know if I believe in that two to three years is a lifespan of a website. But that’s what’s coming down to some agencies, I think it can get away with five years, but the technology is changing so quickly. And so what I tell people is that it’s like gardening, and you have your seasons, every year, the garden is gonna get richer and richer and richer, and you keep putzing around in it. Otherwise, if you just don’t do anything, it’s gonna get unwieldy, it’s gonna do some weeds and all kinds of like, things going on in it. And then when you go into spray the garden, you’re gonna have to kind of hire the professionals, just like roll up your sleeves and go in and do a little here and there. And so yeah, and right now, I just realized that SEO is, is a thing that you want to concentrate on. But I guess the word coming out now is that Google in the ads is pretty much making SEO not actually the big issue. It used to be because if you don’t pay for ads, you’re not going to actually get the top.

Jan Koch  26:10

Yep, that’s true. And it brings me to another question that I had is like, how do you set the expectations of your clients straight? Because some people I’ve worked with in the past, they after one month after the website went live, they called me and said, Why is the website not number one in Google for this or that search term? And even though I told them that it will take a while until the website eventually ranks in Google on the under the top 10.

Alicia St Rose  26:37

Oh, I never tell them that. They stopped telling me about years ago. Because Amazon and Wikipedia, and all these other places that have direct inbound links coming from billions of websites will never allow you to do that. So I simply tell them, I say get that out of your head completely what you need to do, because it’s holistic, it’s how many people visited your site. It’s not where you showed up on Google, you can see you’ve got site visitors, and it’s increasing, then do that. And ways to do that is to funnel them through from your social media, have a lead page, do all kinds of holistic things outside of the website, and just monitor your visits, and your return on your investment, like how many people visited and how much did you sell? or How much did you book? Excuse me? But yeah, the Google thing. It was laser over.

Jan Koch  27:35

I was struggling businesses would realize that at some point, they always focus on Google. But I think we are a couple of years ahead in terms of digit a couple of years after what in the US is happening in terms of digital marketing, you are way ahead of what we are doing here. I’m wondering, are there any, like really important exercises, you walk your coaching students through anything that jumps out that you would say is mandatory?

Alicia St Rose  28:06

Well, the exercise of asked asking them why they’re doing it, that’s key. Because when you find out because that’s why a lot of websites fail, too, is that the designer or the agency, they didn’t ask them why or, and they assumed there was an assumption, even if they ask the why the client responded with this simple thing. And so everything’s all surface. And, and when you’re surface, you’re competing with everyone else who’s literally on the surface. If you go deeper than there are very few people who fall into that deep into go and be who they are. And so then there, you stand out, you stand out because you’re authentic. Um, there’s that I have this like, exercise where I take them to these levels of why and I keep asking them why why why until we get to that one level where like, they’re like, oh, I didn’t realize this, but when I was a kid, this happened and that’s why I don’t ever want that to happen again. And I’m like, you know, there’s totally like into this thing. And like well, Wow, you really have like an engine driving you to, to motivating you to do this. There’s that one. The other one is then the persona, the audience who is your audience? What are you doing this for? And everybody’s not the answer.

Jan Koch  29:24

I want to sell everybody. I want to sell my products to everybody.

Alicia St Rose  29:29

No, doesn’t work.

Jan Koch  29:33

That is so true. What really strikes me is that why exercise? I think I’ve done that myself in the past was like, I think it’s a really simple one if I remember correctly, just asking why like five times in a row. And then you just with every level you need to find a deeper-rooted answer to that why and that is, I think that is why it’s so powerful. It’s just because it forces you to think a lot deeper. But it also can get very uncomfortable for the clients who can’t calm it because it really, it forces them to think about stuff that they probably didn’t even know what’s driving them.

Alicia St Rose  30:17

Yeah. Usually, by like the level of the fourth level, they’re there. Wow, you make me really think, Hey, I’m glad, because you should have really thought about this. And then sometimes I’ll do it. I’ve done it where there was a group call and ask someone to do it and others were afterward like, Can I Can we do it next? Because they know that there’s something deeper, and they’re just not able to get to it. So yeah, it’s pretty cool. It’s pretty powerful.

Jan Koch  30:44

Yeah. Do you teach your clients how to create the content? After the website is launched to, like, do you walk them through? how to structure a blog post, how to build a new page?

Alicia St Rose  30:56

accessibility, so sorry to cut you off. But that’s part of the accessibility because they have to know, to use the famous one that’s going to get a lot of people if we get this up out of the way, if anyone’s listening, font choices, not decided, you don’t decide your font choice by “Oh, I like what they’re doing with the headings, I want to use it here for this paragraph”. That’s not how it’s working. Because when you grab that heading thing, you’re actually creating a heading. So So I teach them about headings, subheadings, super subheadings. And also, when do you use a list, alt tags on these images, captions, all of that it’s very, very, very important. And even that is just taking care of any SEO issues, too. Because the whole hierarchy of the page is vitally important to Google indexing. If you know, you still want your sub-index. It’s just trying to beat the competition in Google’s it’s a hard it’s, it’s better if you went on Instagram, then did right now. Yeah. So

Jan Koch  32:09

I can’t remember how many times I’ve seen websites where they use h1, h2, h3 to style text inside a blog post, every time it’s like a facepalm, where you think about why did they do that? Yeah. And

Alicia St Rose  32:24

then they use for the headings, they use just bolded a paragraph. Bad news, it’s bad news that and it’s really, really if you ever have the opportunity to have a blind person, use a screen reader on your site. And you see that you will never do it again. It’s a painful, tedious, painful, painful, painful experience. And I’ve seen it before. And so that that those experiences of watching a blind person using a screen reader on a shopping site, and also a deaf person trying to make sense of caps. Well, she calls them corruptions of crashes. And when you see people trying to deal with that, you don’t want to be a part of that issue. You don’t want to be a part of their headache. Yeah, that. Yeah.

Jan Koch  33:14

 And that also goes to set you apart against the competition even further, because you are going the extra mile that many other website owners in the market probably won’t. Yeah. Yeah. This is so insightful. I’m just thinking that maybe when you’re launching a website, even as a person without visual impairment, you should probably run it through a screen-reader and just see me just the homepage, just see how it turns out. And I will probably do this myself after the summit is over. Because right now I’m booked solid. But after the summit is over, I have to rebuild the website, probably into to make it more accessible. I’m really excited to see how my website sounds.

Alicia St Rose  34:00

I would love to put in some kudos for an organization called Knowbility, K N O W B I L I T Y, like knowing, and they are accessibility organization. And I believe almost across the board, everyone involved has some diff ability. And they actually, I believe you can get people from the ability to test your sites for you, too.

Jan Koch  34:31

Nice. Yeah, I’ve just noted that down, so that I can check it out. And I’ll link it below the video as well. So that we link to Knowbility. Um, what other things do you think are important about accessibility? Like how can we incorporate that into our process to make sure when we’re building websites that they are accessible?

Alicia St Rose  34:54

Yeah, you have to start right from the beginning. Um, one thing you have to know your tools, and the plugins that you’re using, and the site builders, and you have to really, I would suggest going through the earlier part of the 24 hours that just passed when they actually, they might still be up to go to YouTube. It’s the wrong footage, but, but it was like it was live-streamed, but there’s so much information up there about how to tell the plugin is accessible. And then, later on, I, there was some more technical, highly technical talks about what to do in the HTML when you’re just a simple thing. But um, what you really want to do is it has to be tandem with the first moment, you sit down, you have otherwise you’re gonna have to go back and then it’s too much work. And so things like all tags and images, if it’s a design aspect, don’t worry about it, the hierarchy of the page, a lot of times you can corral the client into not ever messing it up. If you use a plugin, like advanced custom fields. And if you’re an agency, you’ve probably talked with the client, and there are a design and branding, so there’s no need for them to turn on another theme, okay? There’s never any professional. Okay, do it yourself, turn on other things, professionals make a theme. And that’s it. So you can actually wrap a lot of this accessibility code that’s needed around advanced custom fields, and all the clients doing is fill in everything. But what I was gonna say too, is like, you’ve got to know the page builders and things like that that you’re using, if that’s the tool that you use. And if you find out something’s not accessible, you either talk to them about it immediately. Or you’re gonna have to move away from it, because you’re jeopardizing yourself and the client. And I and I like to go inspire people in a positive way. But there is a negative to this. People are starting to actually take people to court a lot more since the quarantine started. So you don’t want to be one of those people.

Jan Koch  37:15

Yeah. It’s definitely true. Is it worth I mean, I know the answer to the question, but is it worth the trade-off? Because I’ve had so many conversations that, for example, just recently a conversation on center text versus left align text? And if my friend Peter Neary sees that I voted for the left-aligned text, so pizza, I learned that from you. But then the website owner wanted the center text and the argument was that from an aesthetic perspective, is he thought the center text would look better or convert better? So that was why there was a trade-off made?

Alicia St Rose  38:03

No, you all you have to do is one of those orphans.

Jan Koch  38:07


Alicia St Rose  38:08

know about orphans?

Jan Koch  38:10

This explains, yeah,

Alicia St Rose  38:12

what orphan text happens, because, um, there are about 30 different screen sizes, and then you can tilt them sideways or whatever. And so when you’re centering the text, sometimes I want little words just hanging out there at the bottom, it doesn’t make sense. And it’s really hard to read actually, for even a sighted person. Because once we get to the next line, we have to drag ourselves back to another area and we’re jacking it up. It’s not actually very comfortable, scientifically, so and physiologically, it’s not. So like that. That’s how I explain things to people like I if say it if they don’t, eventually, they’re the last, you know, the last say, but I’ve had people and they have the last say, and they came back later. And like, okay, 

Jan Koch  39:01


Alicia St Rose  39:01

 and I didn’t make them feel bad. I just said you get more research, come back and let me know. But the only time I use a center Text, was like for like a, like a testimonial or some kind of quote or poetry, okay. Otherwise, we’re trying to read the content here. That’s like, it’s not a poem. 

Jan Koch  39:22


Alicia St Rose  39:22


Jan Koch  39:24

Yeah, it’s just said that sometimes you have to you, I want I don’t want to say obey the client. But as you said, the client has the last say, and it’s their website. So what you need to do is you need to educate them. But then if the if they don’t agree with that, you just have to Eat That Frog.

Alicia St Rose  39:42

You also have to make sure in your contract that whatever they didn’t agree with, have them sign off on it that they said that. So that when an accessibility lawyer comes prepared to say and I mean, you don’t want it you really don’t At this point, it’s about, um, and also ask the client, if they did A B testing on the test. They probably did it. So if they didn’t do a B testing, they have no idea to know what converts better or not. That’s just guesswork.

Jan Koch  40:14

Yeah. But this sounds so far away and accessibility lawyer, I those laws really getting enforced already. 

Alicia St Rose  40:23

Yeah. That’s, um, I, one of the people I admire the most. And this little accessibility thing I teach. In April, I had no idea how big this was until she showed up at one of my meetups, meetings. And her name is, she’s special, she’s an accessibility specialist. And her name is Sumner Davenport. And she does remediation because, by the time they’re there talking to her, the lawyers have already, they’re already in litigation. So well, there are big companies, big companies. Domino’s Pizza is the biggest one, when, in the United States, there was a case for Domino’s. And they don’t quote me. But anyway, that’s how the court case when it went down, that they know, people with disabilities could not order on the phone or through the website for pizza. And with their apps or anything like that. And so they, the response was, well, we still have a walk-in. But the thing is, it’s that separate but not equal. And so the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and they lost. So that opened up everything. Um, so especially when you’re it’s e-commerce, e-commerce, or any kind of online shopping or food ordering. And then when we got into lockdown, that was the only way to get things to your house. And it turned out that 98% of the websites on the internet are not accessible through a tabbed interface to tab your way in, get an order. And if others do that, yeah. And of the 2%, they’re probably government sites. So who’s gonna do that? So yeah, I was just on a barely big popular music site. And I couldn’t tab through to see my library or discover new music, I just literally couldn’t like, wait a minute. It was very, very frustrating. I do that now with every site I visit, just to see who’s doing it.

Jan Koch  42:41

Yeah, I find that today, too. I was on my phone, and I was organizing some stuff. And then at some point, the buttons were so close to each other that I couldn’t tap the button, I needed to tab, which is the most obvious thing when you’re building a website is go into a responsive mode and check how the buttons are placed, and how all the links are placed and stuff like that. But there was a really big website that made this mistake. So it’s surprising on one hand, I probably wouldn’t even say I mean, obviously, it’s accessibility, but it’s also responsive design. And that, like the very basic principles of responsive design is to realign the buttons so that you can tap them. And it’s surprising to see how many websites still have problems with that.

Alicia St Rose  43:26

Yeah, yeah, it’s, um, and but the thing is to accessibility and Ada laws here, they’re there, they’re more out in the world, as opposed to the web is slightly different, like cousins. But those laws and regulations have been a benefit for everyone. So here in the United States, there are ramps for curbs. And so anyone rolling a stroller with a baby in it, or, or a dolly or something, they’re like, so happy to see those ramps or captions on videos. If you’re at a work meeting, and you’re like, I think

Jan Koch  44:10

I have my sleeping daughter on my arm. I would watch YouTube with just the captions on. 

Alicia St Rose  44:15


Jan Koch  44:16

but this I  want to cover with

Alicia St Rose  44:18

Do you think I help everyone? So

Jan Koch  44:22

yeah, fantastic point. And I do want to be respectful of your time. We’re coming into land here, unfortunately. So to summarize, discovery is super important to ensure that the website reflects your client. To do that, ask why more than once to have them really dive deep into why they want the website, why they’re running the business even in the first place. Get them clear on the content structure by doing the brain dump principle that you outlined. And from the very beginning, make sure that accessibility is a big part. Offer a website project and outline how to set them apart. Anything I’ve missed in that summary.

Alicia St Rose  45:07

Um, well, there’s one thing I would like to add is that sometimes a client like what’s the do it yourself. They have so many things they’re doing and they’re and they don’t know how to integrate it. So they’re trying to leave one went out. And like, I can’t do this, I can’t do that too. No one else is doing that. Or my friends told me I can’t I have to pick one and let’s focus on that and like no, you don’t you just throw it all together and brain dump it and see what comes out because that’s going to make you extraordinarily unique. And you get like I’ve merged kind of like life coaching with WordPress geekiness. I do custom development. So I’m coding, and then I’m doing the asking, Why do my clients, okay? So I mixed it up. It was a while I thought I’d only do this WordPress thing. I only do this like totally geeky stuff. And then I thought, Wait a minute. No, no, I’m gonna do my thing. And so then I decided to call it WP with heart. And that’s what I do.

Jan Koch  46:08

That is a brilliant way to wrap up this conversation. I love it. Where do people get in touch with you? Besides the live chat next to the session or in the networking lounge? Where do people reach out to you?

Alicia St Rose  46:20

Um, they can reach out to me and Twitter I’m an intrepid realist on Twitter. Also, you can go to my website WP with heart calm. What else I’m also on Facebook. I have a WP Heart eart page. And I also have an Alicia St. Rose. The business I don’t know what you call those pro-public pages where I’ve you’ll see my mug all because I just put 135 Facebook live videos I challenged myself to do 100 in 100 days. And I did and then I have other up there and I just would turn the camera on and talk about a topic or anything but just like fun stuff. So you can check that out too.

Jan Koch  47:06

Love it. Thank you so much for coming on to the summit. Alicia,

Alicia St Rose  47:10

this has been great. Thank you for having me. Thank you

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