Software as a service apps i’ve tested with assistive technology
The purpose of todays article is to share with you Software as a service apps i’ve tested with assistive technology.
It took me a long while to realize that these 2 software as a service applications were tools blind small business owners could use in order to build their own digital product.
In most cases, when you are consuming content from yours truly, I mention WordPress as a platform that people need to use, however today’s article is specifically software as a service packages hosted in the cloud.
Though wordpress can be hosted in the cloud, for transparency reasons because i don’t have any experience with the cloud hosted wordpress services, Listen to WordPress.com vs Self Hosted.
Back on episode 13 Damashe and I discussed with you the important foundation for all small business owners.
In that episode, we mentioned a couple of tools, that I still think are amazing.
Only one of those tools however we mentioned in today’s article, so I do recommend you listen to the episode where we share what we feel are the foundation for all small-business owners
Side Note Before We Get Into It:
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Best email marketing software for assistive technology users
I’ve tested a few different email marketing services, AWeber, Convertkit, Pure Leverage, mail chimp, and a few additional ones I can’t remember off the top my head.
Long time listeners of the podcast and readers of the blog know what tool I’m going to recommend for assistive technology users looking for the best email marketing service.
That being said however, , some of you might not realize why I recommend my favorite email marketing tool, and that there are some specific problems that I’d love to be improved with future releases of this software as a service package.
If you’re seriously interested in building and email relationship with your subscribers, convertKit is going to be the most accessible and easy to use email marketing service.
What’s good about convertkit for Assistive technology users?
The first question I’m asked typically is worded a bit more eloquently than how I worded the heading of this section, however the just of it is the same.
As you might know, the price of Convertkit’s starts out at $29 a month. If you click on a link that I refer you through, I’ll get paid a 30% commission ($8.70 ) and you will show some support for the podcast. Also, as an added benefit for you showing support, you’ll get a 30 day trial as well.
Thanks loads to each of you who have shown your support.
The answer to “why”, though goes back about a year and a half for me.
** Please note, I cannot a test to any accessibility revisions made to AWeber since my last use in April 2016. Please share your experiences and the comments.**
In May 2016, I was using AWeber to manage my email marketing campaigns. Admittedly, I didn’t have a hell of a lot of subscribers in my account, if I remember right I was still under the 500 count. However, I learned about a new Beta feature earlier in 2016 and was very exciting.
The feature that I was so excited about was campaigns, and it would allow you to send tailored content depending on how someone joined your list, and then follow up with those individuals based on actions they took.
Let me map this out for you little though, it would probably be easier to understand:
you come in to my mailing list by opting in for the 10 free WordPress plugins that Damashe and I recommend.
we send you emails for the next five days related to how you can best use those plug-ins on your new WordPress site.
at the end of the five days, you let us know that you’re more interested in learning about email list then themes by choosing one of two options we send you an email.
we then send a brief email series talking about email marketing, and then transition back into our main follow-up sequence related to how to find a good theme.
You can skip all of these steps and just opt-in for information about themes depending on the content your consuming.
and the end result is that you have higher open rates and a higher engagement rate, ultimately ending up in a higher satisfaction rate, of your email subscribers who would then be more likely to purchase the product you have that takes the pain they are in away…
In AWeber you would create a trigger, what would be someone opting into one of the forms, drag this trigger to an action, and choose which action you wanted to happen.
How Do I Get Started With Campaigns in AWeber?
Then, continue building based on actions and triggers.
unfortunately, with most of the assistive technology I have experience with leveraging software as a service packages, the ability to drag-and-drop icons is generally not accessible and one of the reasons WordPress implemented Widget Accessibility Mode
In convertkit the process to set this up would be the following:
- Create 2 forms (The plugins form and the themes form. I guess you could also create a third if you want people to opt-in to get just email list building tips)
- Create your sequences, and make all setting changes within the “ SEQUENCES” tab of convertkit
- Connect the forms with respective sequences (under the Forms➡️form name➡️Settings➡️Select from the drop down just before the save button)
- Create a thank-you page for each option (I use optimize press)
- create an automation rule, on linked trigger, to add people to the form that associated with each of the options.
- then put yourself in the main sequence, make sure everything works properly.
All of the aforementioned steps are 100% you will bowl from a voiceover users point of view, and there isn’t any guessing or trying to accomplish something in order to connect everything.
Yes, it might seem a lot longer of a process than simply dragging and dropping different elements of your automation sequence into place, however the fact is I can independently set up my own automated multilevel sequence and not need to inquire from someone who can see if I’ve properly dragged things into the correct place, or even bother someone because I can’t drag them independently.
There are some disconcerting issues that I face while using the Convertkit software with assistive technology that I’d love to see improved in the near future.
How Convertkit could become a better software as a service app with assistive technology
There are a few back-and-forth steps necessary to build out the previously mentioned campaign as you’ll see when you reference the six steps above.
I forgot to mention that you’ll also need to go in and ensure that the links people click on in the follow-up sequences are the links that you set up in step number 5 above.
If you just send people directly to the thank you page, typically, that won’t have any effect.
(apparently optimize press has some cool features that can help prevent this in the future, I’ll be testing them and sharing my thoughts regarding the new smart optimize press theme so stay tuned)
However, in order to accomplish what we’re looking to do, with just using the convertkit tool you’ll need to change all links to the link trigger automation.
In August I got access to the beta, of Convertkit visual automation builder.
This would eliminate a lot of the back-and-forth, you could start by creating your form, connected to the sequence that you create right there within the automation, Connect the link triggers to other forms while building those automation follow-up sequences without leaving the automation rule screen.
It’s amazing, however unfortunately the menus that convertkit leverages in order to make selections, appears to not be very accessible with Safari.
I have had better luck accessing these menus with chrome, but have not been able to independently set up my own visual automation sequence using convertkit.
e.g. When i take these steps:
- Select “automations”
- Find the “Visual Automations” heading
- Select “ AUTOMATIONS BETA”
- Select “New Automation”
I can’t do anything on this screen
Side note: I noticed the link to display the menu next to each automation in visual automation is labeled as ”
this is what Voiceover speaks for blind users). If your looking to edit or remove your automations, for the time being, that’s the link you need to select. Maybe Convertkit could change this link to say something like “show options” or “display menu”, or at very least something more useful then “○○○”
It is my hope that The engineering team will be able to address this in the near future, before a lot of the cool ass tricks for visual automation are implemented so that i can keep sending you the content you need to get.
I will however say on the other hand that not all is bad with the new Convertkit visual automation tool though; I had someone with sight help me create an automation and was impressed with the improvements made to the selection box that you make tag or form selections from.
In the visual automation system, if you’re looking to select a form, you are presented with a traditional “pop-up” (Combo box) to make your form selection from.
This is not the case in the current selection method, where you must type in a part of the name of a tag or form, Return, and then see if you entered the proper name. If it’s the wrong one, select the “x” button next to it, and this will remove it from your selection.
You face this when creating filters for your broadcast messages and when making selections for tags, and forms, in the original automation setup.
it would be nice if they could use traditional pop-up menus to make this more accessible, or explore the accessibility improvements freshbooks has made for selecting client in the invoice creation process.
Those lists look the same to me…
You can also reference WebAIM: Creating Accessible Forms – Accessible Form Controls, another reference i’ve provided to an organization recently for creating more accessible web forms..
The most accessible Learning Management System for Assistive technology users
If you haven’t figured it out yet, the primary assistive technology example that we’re using with the software as a service packages his screen readers. I suspect however that screen magnification software will also work well with the software as a service packages shared in today’s article.
An example of this comes with my favorite learning management system, I’ll tell you more about that later on in this article.
More specifically though, we are using voiceover with Safari or chrome when necessary on the latest version of Mac OS.
Some of the testing that I’ve performed and some of my references later on this article may come from my iPhone, running IOS 11 up with the latest software improvements and bugs.
Why is Thinkific A Good Software As A Service solution for assistive technology course creators?
I was first introduced to Thinkific sometime last year when I was looking for a platform I could use that was easier for me to navigate and use then Teachable.
It’s important to note that I haven’t used Teachable since I decided to switch to Thinkific, so I cannot compare accessibility improvements if any as of the date of publishing this article
As a bonus, Thinkific offered a couple of courses, that I took when I created my accountant in September, 2016.
When I originally created my account the intention was to simply add the [Wordpress Course http://payown.link/wpcourse) and then figure out where I wanted to go with course offerings from there.
However, on IOS 10, I had an amazing experience with taking that course that Thinkific offered related to pricing, and conceived the idea of creating my own Course based on navigating the Thinkific learning management system.
See, by the end of this article, you understand that all of these software as a service programs that I suggest assistive technology users use, both have their own pros and cons.
I decided to create my own
Course for creating a course.
Another thing I need to revise in the coming months.
Thinkific made it very easy for me to add videos, create content based around those videos, and put together a Course.
One of the first things I noticed why was putting together my course, and probably and contributing factor to my decision to create This was that while I was choosing one of the three templates for how I wanted my course to look, all I heard as a screen reader user was:
Obviously this didn’t provide me any use, so I decided to enlist the assistance of one of my younger brothers who could you provide me a more descriptive Version of what each of the templates work.
I then recorded that description and shared it with the students.
Thinkific Easy for assistive technology users but?
When looking for a learnning management system i had a few primary requirements.
- First of all, it has to work well with Assistive Technologyand I had to be able to accomplish all the primary tasks a “Normal” user would have to do without assistance or jumping threw a lot of hoops.
- The system had to integrate with my favorite payment processor stripe
- speaking of integrations, a direct integration with Convertkit would have been nice, I would’ve been happy with an integration through Zapier
- and again, I didn’t want to fight with it every time I wanted to do something.
For the most part Thinkific met all of my 🔼 requirements, except there were a couple of little problems that I had.
- in order to reorder lessons or units, a user had to“ drag-and-drop”.
- The Themes did not have very descriptive alt tags.
So far, with my experiences, those are the two major challenges that I faced with this learning management system.
If they can be improved, then it would definitely be my favorite piece of software to use everyday.
concluding the two software packages small business owners using assistive technology should be using
If you’re using assistive technology, again specifically a screen reader, and your seeking a software as a service solution to your email marketing and course creation needs, I hope you received some value in my insight with the aforementioned tools.
If your experiences with these tools are different, please share them in the comment so others can learn
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