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A Balanced Approach to Iterative Change

A Balanced Approach to Iterative Change

CI to Eye with Special Guest Sue Ann Rodriquez

This episode is hosted by Priya Iyer.

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In This Episode

We embrace the evolution of digital content. From the shift towards vertical video across social media platforms to the imperative of website inclusivity and accessibility, you’ll learn how to keep your organization moving forward.
Digital Download

CI’s graphic design team, Jess Berube and Stephanie Medina, share the scoop on Instagram’s new immersive feed with design tips to help your content shine in 9:16.

CI's Stance

CI Senior Consultants Sam Kindler and Laura Dauksewicz discuss why it’s time for your organization to explore TikTok, and how you can take the first step.

CI to Eye Interview

Christopher Williams sits down with web accessibility expert Sue Ann Rodriquez from Digital Accessibility by WeCo to find out what it really means for your website to be accessible to disabled users, from your site map to your purchase path.

Priya Iyer: Hello and welcome to CI to Eye! I’m Priya Iyer, and joining me this month is our special guest host…Christopher Williams!

Christopher Williams: Hi! I’m so excited to be here.

Priya Iyer: Many of you know Christopher as our VP, Managing Director here at CI.I know him as my partner in crime everyday, and I’m excited to extend that relationship into this episode!

Christopher Williams: Same here! And we’ve got a great episode ahead. First, Digital Download with CI’s graphic design team, Jess Berube and Stephanie Medina. They’ll give us an update on Instagram’s new immersive view and what it means for your content.

Priya Iyer: Next up: CI’s Stance where we’ll dive even further into vertical video content with Sam Kindler and Laura Dauksewicz.

Christopher Williams: That’s right—TikTok usership is on the rise and spoiler alert: it’s time for arts organizations to start planning their organic TikTok presence.

Priya Iyer: And finally, Christopher chatted with web accessibility expert Sue Ann Rodriguez from WeCo Accessibility Services, which fills in our interview for this month’s podcast.

Christopher Williams: She shared some actionable insights about online accessibility and I can’t wait for you to hear them!

Priya Iyer: I can’t wait, either! But first, I have to seize the opportunity I have with you as my cohost. Before your time at CI, you were on the client side for 20 years. And now, you oversee all of our consulting teams and digital advertising services at CI, so you’re still so in touch with our industry’s needs. I want to take advantage of you being here and give our listeners a chance to hear what’s on your mind.
What are some emerging themes you’ve noticed with our clients and in our industry over the past several months?

Christopher Williams: The question that I continue to be asked over and over again is, “How can we attract and retain the talented practitioners who care about the field? And furthermore, how can we create environments in which everyone can thrive? And I, you know, this is something that I feel so strongly about. And I, and I know that as an industry, we have the ability to do this really well. And I think in some ways, so much better than our, you know, highly profitable for profit competitors. We, yes, as, as folks who choose to work in the arts we are empathetic creative individuals. And I know that in time as a, as an industry, we will, we will figure how figure out how to do this really well. And today’s like, I hesitate to use the words “post-pandemic,” but almost post-pandemic world. So I certainly, I get the question a lot. I ask the question myself a lot and I know that this is gonna be a question that we all continue to ask ourselves for some time.

Priya Iyer: Absolutely.

Christopher Williams: Another thing that we continue to hear a lot and talk to clients a lot about right now is sales, trying to understand what projections should look like. And I think depending on an organization’s programming approach and how that looks compared to what it looked like previously has a big role to play in sales and expected sales and marketing. And I am a marketer and a sales manager who first and foremost remembers that I’m selling art. And so that’s always the place that I go to start thinking about these kinds of things. And, and you know, I, I think we have to be realistic and balance our realism with a bit of hopefulness and think about making changes that are hopefully iterative. And I know Priya, this is a balanced approach that you’re so good at taking you know, making overnight change is often a recipe for disaster, not always, but can often result in disappointment. And I hope as organizations, we are all trying to make important but iterative change that allows us to succeed and be fueled by that success as well. Not that we don’t learn from failures and mistakes, we absolutely do. But I also think , as a, as an industry, we are all a bit fatigued right now. And so having an artistic success and a, and you know, a sales success, whether that is like having a lot of people attend a particular exhibition or filling up, you know, a, a theater night after night after night is going to feed us and, and, and give us the energy to, to keep going. My biggest hope is that we can all have a sense of grace in terms of the kinds of revenue goals that we try to stare down and the projections that we set for future seasons. Because I think there’s a lot that we don’t know about the future

Priya Iyer: Agreed; sometimes, the conflict of a desire to shift and to shift quickly and to move in a direction that we all want to be moving in. And sometimes that comes in conflict with the realistic nature of what is possible and this idea of iterative optimization. And it’s, it’s really hard to balance those things and balance those, those feelings. And we certainly feel it. And, you know, I, I know that our, our industry is feeling it, but it’s hard to feel like we are moving fast enough. I’m putting that in air quotes. So you can see me cuz it’s a podcast, but you know, fast enough, but does too fast mean that things don’t happen? I don’t know, you know, mm-hmm, so it’s, there’s, there’s a lot of, a lot of that sort of turmoil that I, I hear in, in what you’re sharing too.

Christopher Williams: I think one of the other themes that’s often discussed right now and I would say that we bring this up as much as, as it’s brought to us by the constituency is just how volatile the digital landscape feels at the moment. And I don’t wanna be a downer about this , but you know, I, it has never felt more volatile and that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an effective place for us to be spending our time. And in fact, so much consumer behavior research tells us that we’ve never spent more time online and digitally. But there are, there are a lot of other things competing against us. One of those things is just our ability to measure digital in the way that we’ve all become accustomed. Privacy legislation and protection is taking away some of the ability to measure the way that we have ha have gotten used to. And I will say as an arts constituency, I think we did a really great job of using all of the bells and whistles that exist in digital to make sure that we can help others in our organizations understand its power and that’s changing. And so we’re all having to figure out how to continue to advocate for digital investment when there’s less data fuel to support the case for it. And so that’s, that’s friction that I feel like we’re often discussing right now. And I think on the same side of the sort of volatile digital landscape coin is just thinking about the changes in social for so long. It’s, we’ve, we’ve all as arts marketers got up in the morning and known that Facebook and Instagram are where it’s at and we are, we are moving in the direction of having to add TikTok to that sentence. And that’s gonna mean something very, very different for arts organizations. In terms of content creation, it is a very different approach as a consumer. It is something I enjoy so much. And so I don’t want to, I don’t want us to be afraid of it, but I know that as our organizations, we are going to have to lean into change that will need to be present in order for us to succeed in that environment. And you’ll hear more about this from Sam and Laura and CI stance later in the podcast. And listen, those of us who have been on this ride for, for 10 or 20 years, we managed to shift to digital in the first place. So shifting within digital to an emphasis on TikTok is certainly going to be something that we are all able to do. But I know that the balance of 2022, and I think probably the majority of 2023 are, are going to be months where we spend a lot of time working to get better at that.

Priya Iyer: Thank you for those thoughts, Christopher. With that, I’d love to bring us into our first segment, Digital Download!

Christopher Williams: Instagram is testing out a new, immersive feed—what does that mean for content creators? Jess Berube and Stephanie Medina are here to tell you what it’s all about, and how you need to adapt your content.

Jess Berube: Instagram debuted a brand new, immersive feed. What does that mean for content creators? I’m Jess Berube, CI’s Manager of Graphic Design and Brand Strategy.

Stephanie Medina: And I’m Stephanie Medina, CI’s Senior Graphic Designer. As we’re recording this in mid-June, the immersive feed is still rolling out to all accounts, but here’s what we do know: The update mimics TikTok’s For You page. That means all the content you see—including static images—will be in a full-screen, vertical, 9:16 aspect ratio.

Jess Berube: And like TikTok, the updated algorithm focuses on recommending content you might like. Even if you’re not a part of the immersive feed test, you’ve probably noticed more suggested posts in your feed.

Stephanie Medina: I’ve definitely noticed that! With any algorithm change, there are pros and cons. But one thing remains constant: engaging, thumb-stopping content is imperative. And with the new immersive feed, you have a better chance of being recommended to users who like accounts similar to yours. That’s excellent news for reaching new audiences!

Jess Berube: So, what makes content engaging enough to excel in the new algorithm? In 2022, it’s all about video. Instagram has been clear that video content—especially Reels—are the algorithm’s top priority going forward. In fact, since 2020, the average engagement rate for static images on Instagram has decreased by 38%. Now, we’re not saying get rid of static content altogether—but try experimenting with at least one or two Reels a month to find your video groove.

Stephanie Medina: Next tip: design for the 9:16 aspect ratio. This new format gives us more design real estate to work with, which is exciting! But, it isn’t an open invitation to put ALL of the text on one image. Remember: keep text to a minimum and use bold, eye-catching imagery.

Jess Berube: Keep in mind that with the new 9:16 ratio, the top of your image will be overlaid with your username, and the bottom will be covered by the comment, like, and share buttons. Remember to build margins into your design to avoid covering important information.

Stephanie Medina: Finally, with Instagram’s new algorithm change, it’s more important than ever to incorporate branding into each post—it’s important to help you stand out and have a stronger brand recall among a sea of recommended posts.

Jess Berube: Remember, don’t stress! Every brand will need to adapt as we enter the era of fully immersive feeds.

Stephanie Medina: That’s right! And if you’re following content and design best practices, you’re already ahead of the game.

Priya Iyer: Thank you so much, Stephanie and Jess! We’re going to stick with the topic of vertical content for CI’s Stance.

Christopher Williams: That’s right. We’ve been watching TikTok grow over the last few years. Its usership is reaching a turning point, and it’s time for arts organizations to take action. Over to you, Sam and Laura!

Sam Kindler: The updates to Instagram’s feed and algorithm indicate a significant shift—not just for Instagram, but for your content strategy overall. I’m Sam Kindler, a Senior Consultant in Digital Marketing at CI.

Laura Dauksewicz: That’s right, Sam! I’m Laura Dauksewicz, Senior Consultant in Digital Marketing, and today, we’re going to follow the vertical video trend all the way to the source: TikTok. Now, I’m sure TikTok is on everyone’s radar—and the big question is: should your organization be on TikTok? Well, we know from the 2021 Performing Arts Ticket Buyer Media Usage Study that most arts buyers are still on Facebook and Instagram, but only 11% are on TikTok so far.

Sam Kindler: But that number is likely to grow. According to Scott Galloway, the average TikTok user spent 26 hours per month on the platform in 2021—that’s more than Facebook and Instagram combined!

Laura Dauksewicz: With those stats, it’s clear that arts organizations need to start thinking about their TikTok strategy. This will take some time and effort—not just in the style of your content itself but also with your internal team culture. It’s common for posts to go through layers of approval before they make it to the feed. But trends move so quickly on TikTok that by the time you take a video through your approval process, it might be passé.

Sam Kindler: How important do you think it is to follow trends like that, Laura?

Laura Dauksewicz: You don’t need to keep up with every trend, which is great news for busy arts marketers. First, create an environment where team members can be responsive and empowered to make content. This is important not only for TikTok but for all platforms! Next, think about recurring content series to build your TikTok presence around. A great example is the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s “mollusk Monday” series, where their resident expert Tim Pearce tells hilarious snail jokes. People look forward to this content each week. Finally, think of ways you can lean into trending audio, which is something American Ballet Theatre does very well. Their dancers film backstage and during rehearsals to stay on top of trends and respond quickly with their takes.

Sam Kindler: That’s awesome—I love ABT’s account because it’s so genuine and of the moment. TikTok users can sniff out inauthenticity, right?

Laura Dauksewicz: Absolutely. Engaging storytelling and timely ideas matter much more than perfection. Plus, TikTok users can easily clock ads.

Sam Kindler: I’m glad you brought up ads—you’re running paid TikTok advertising for one of your clients, right?

Laura Dauksewicz: Yes! It’s our first TikTok paid campaign—but I’ll say this test didn’t come out of thin air. This client is already on TikTok, and they’ve worked to create content that resonates with their audience. It’s also worth noting that this client is invested in other platforms that have performed well historically, like Facebook, Instagram, and Display. We’re not pulling from those investments, just adding a new platform to address their goal of reaching younger audiences. In terms of content, we’re testing both produced trailers and some more organic-looking videos. I’m sure we’ll share some learnings once we see how the campaign goes.

Sam Kindler: So, let’s talk recommendations. What steps should an organization take first?

Laura Dauksewicz: I would say, first, just download the app! Scroll and see how it works. Familiarize yourself with the tone of the content. Second, play around with the video editing tools. You can even post your first video! Don’t overproduce; just go for it. Third, start capturing and creating content for a 9:16 vertical world. And with short-form video, you need to get the point across fast. Be sure to incorporate exciting transitions and impactful visuals, so users are less likely to scroll past your content.

Sam Kindler: Is there anything else you’d like to say to content creators considering TikTok?

Laura Dauksewicz: Take a deep breath and have at it! You don’t need to dive headfirst, but you do need to start thinking about this now if you aren’t already.

Sam Kindler: Thanks, Laura! And that’s CI’s Stance on TikTok!

Priya Iyer: Thanks so much, Sam and Laura! Next, let’s dive right into Coming Up, where you’ll hear about events, resources, and content from CI to help you market smarter.

Christopher Williams: Boot Camp 2022 is on sale and as always, it’s 100% focused on digital marketing for the arts! You can join us in person at the SVA Theatre in New York City, or online, with the same great content either way. Hurry—in-person tickets are going fast. Head to to register!

Priya Iyer: We’re continuing to release timely blog content for you all year long. Recent highlights include an article from our SEO team about using blogs as a search-first tool to increase organic traffic to your site.

Christopher Williams: I love a blog post about blog posts! We also published an article on the case for running branded search campaigns with paid media, instead of just with your Google Grant.

Priya Iyer: You can find these and more resources at And be sure to follow us on social for even more content to help you market smarter. There, you’ll find content series, like our Resource Roundup on Instagram, which compiles timely digital marketing news and tips.

Christopher Williams: It’s worth checking out if you’re looking for the latest news in digital marketing and the arts!

Christopher Williams: And without further ado, here is my conversation with Sue Ann Rodriguez. Sue Ann is the Director of Accessibility Services at Digital Accessibility by WeCo, a mission-based consulting group founded and staffed entirely by digital technologists with disabilities. We talked about her experience as a Blind user of the internet and some tips and best practices for accessibility across the web. Plus how to advocate for web accessibility at your organization.

Christopher Williams: Sue Ann Rodriguez, welcome to CI to eye.

Sue Ann Rodriquez: Thank you very much. I appreciate you having me on your show. Just to let everybody know, there might be pauses or you’ll probably hear me like struggle a bit trying to say words. Just to let everybody know, I do have a speech impediment and also I use a screen reader, so I may be pausing a moment or two to collect my thoughts or to hear what my screen reader is telling me in order to convey it to everybody. And I will explain what a screen reader is as we go on the interview, just to point those couple of things out to everybody,

Christopher Williams: I would love to start off with just a quick definition of web accessibility so that we and our listeners can all be on the same page for our conversation today. So Sue Ann, how do you define web accessibility?

Sue Ann Rodriquez: So I would say in its most essential form, digital accessibility means that people living with disabilities can easily access the same information that users who do not live with disabilities can access. This includes people whose disability or disabilities requires them to use assistive technology like screen readers. But I wanna also just convey that not all users with disabilities use assistive technology.

Christopher Williams: In addition to being an expert in accessibility consulting, you are also a user of assistive technology to navigate the web, as you’ve stated before we get into your professional recommendations. And I know you’ll have some great insight to share with our listeners on that. I would love to hear firsthand about your experience of using the internet as a blind user, because I know many of our listeners haven’t tried using a screen reader or other assistive technology before.

Sue Ann Rodriquez: Yes. that’s a really good question. And as a user of a screen reader, went on the computer on the internet I do face some certain challenges. With that said, I wanna explain what exactly is screen reader is. So a screen reader is what is called a text to speech software. So it is a software program that I have installed on my computer and the screen reader takes the, the text that’s on the screen and it verbally conveys it to me. So that is how a screen reader works. Now, when it comes to web pages, for example, all the screen reader gets their its information through the code. So not what you essentially see on the page, but how the page is written in code the screen reader also lets you have the ability when a webpage first is displayed on the screen. It will tell you information such as how many headings are on the page, how many links are on the page. I would also tell you that the page title, this is really important information and when it’s not coded properly using whatever programming languages are being used, for example, the HTML code then it’s not helpful to a screen reader user. So for example, if there is a heading or a text on the page that you would like it to appear as a heading, for example, the text is called “About Us,” and the code says that the font size is instead of a 12 it’s an 18. The actual text is unfolded. The screen reader will not recognize that “About Us” text as being large font and bolded. Rather, it uses the HTML tag called a Heading One through Heading Six tags, just keeping it really basic. So if that “About Us” text is coded with an H1 tag, my screen reader will tell me about us heading level one. And it will also allow me to use what we call it. Shortcut keys for screen reader, users, to jump from heading to heading on a page. If that heading is not used, I will, would not be able to be, to jump from heading to heading on a page. Also one, I think the challenge that can come up for screen reader users is that we only see whatever is highlighted on a page. So what that means is just try to imagine yourself looking at a webpage through a straw in, in that you only hear what you’re seeing through that straw. So that’s why it’s really, and it can be challenging when items are not coded properly or not structured properly challenges like that we can encounter.

Christopher Williams: I was wondering like, I don’t know, say you need to purchase, you know, a new wardrobe and you, and you know, that certain retail sites are, are more accessible. For example, to a screen reader. Are you just that much more likely to purchase from a brand because you know, their tech is going to be supportive of you?

Sue Ann Rodriquez: Personally? Yes. I feel like I may have to prioritize what my overall goals are. And one of my goals is all the time is to try to be as independent as I can. Mm-Hmm so that means if I have to take some brand name of clothing over another brand in my clothing, just because I can access the website, I can hear what the description of the clothing is. I would gravitate towards that website because I know I can read the alternative text descriptions of the images as well as be able to complete a purchase on my own. And I would gravitate certainly towards that website.

Christopher Williams: I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about your work with WeCo and what the firm’s mission and values are.

Sue Ann Rodriquez: My work at WeCo, I’m the Director of the Accessibility Services Department, which basically means that we are the ones that have the work with clients in accessibility and usability training, testing, and consulting. So the company’s overall mission, and I’m going to read this to make sure that it is accurate. So based on the principles of building up, moving forward,, and focusing on our strengths, WeCo’s mission is to foster accessibility, awareness, and independence for all people, regardless of their abilities.

Christopher Williams: And Sue Ann, how is business for a firm who does the work that you all do these days? Are you finding that this is becoming increasingly important for for-profit companies, nonprofit companies, just across the board?

Sue Ann Rodriquez: Yes, that’s a really good question. We have found recently, well before, when I first started at, WeCo, the desire to be accessible was not as a high of a priority. It was more about being accessible because of legal reasons. But I’m really happy to say since I’ve been at WeCo, that has really changed. We are now in a time where clients are coming to us because they wanna be accessible because they see the benefits of not just for being being legally compliant, but benefits in that they just want to do the right thing. They know the value in extending their market reach to not only people that are not don’t have disabilities, but those who have disabilities, as well. We also are finding that the client, some clients that come to us, they’re more aware of like the legal compliance standards. They’re more aware of accessibility is, is as in a, a general sense. So we are really happy and pleased to see that that changed. And especially since I’ve been at WeCo.

Christopher Williams: I love that. As you know at CI, we serve exclusively arts and culture organizations, and as arts marketers, we primarily use our websites to highlight our programming and we use them to sell tickets to memberships, and we spend a lot of time making our homepages and our landing pages as beautiful as we can, and is an interesting as possible with things like parallax scrolling or auto loading videos and automatically advancing image, carousels, things like that. And I’ve been curious since we last spoke about what that experience is like for you as a blind user. And also if you could tell us about an experience you’ve ever had, trying to use a site like ours, like an arts organization to actually purchase tickets online?

Sue Ann Rodriquez: Videos are pretty important to have to convey information, but there’s a way to make those videos accessible. So first of all, have captions and I’m talking from an individual’s perspective in that across all the disability groups, which just not from my own perspective as a screen reader. But those four groups are cognitive, mobility, hearing, and sight-related. So having captions is what’s helpful for those individuals who fall under that sharing and cognitive impairment visibility groups along with videos, having an, an audio description of what’s happening within the video visually this is what a, a track that you can include in the original video itself, or you can have a separate link to that same video with the audio description between dialogue pauses, that it will verbally describe to you what’s on a screen at the time. And then also having a descriptive transcript. This is for those who are both deaf and blind to have a description of what’s happening in the video in text because typically those individuals use a Braille display, which is basically what you would think of as a computer monitor, but that will display what’s on the screen in Braille. And then as far as like moving carousel, we, our, our experience is that having those carousel advance automatically is not a good thing that can be really distracting for individuals who, for example, may have ADHD, It may be really distracting to them if they can’t control the actual advancing feature. So that’s why we always recommend to have controls that will stop or start or pause that carousel and also to have the carousel automatically be paused and not have it automatically be advancing when an individual comes to a web page. And then overall experience though through my work as a screen reader user here. So individuals who use screen reader also are keyboard dependent for the most part. So I have encountered times where a form you can’t access the form through a keyboard. So for me as a screen reader user, I would not be able to purchase tickets if I cannot access the form through my keyboard. Other things that may inhibit the purchasing of tickets that I’ve encountered is having the alternative text descriptions of those images are not there or unclear especially for things that are really visual, it’s really important to have the alternative text description for those images. And then also with forms, having a, like a drop down menu of any kind, not automatically submit your option as you’re trying to arrow down the options within that dropdown box I’ve experienced where you are trying to get through, let’s say the state I currently reside in, Minnesota. So, of course, M is further down that dropdown list. And I have experience where I’ve went down one option for the state. It goes up that dropdown box automatically if, as if that was my election, which it was not. So just can imagine the time it would take the frustration for users who live in Texas, or even me Minnesota have to go do that whole process every single time.

Christopher Williams: Is there… I’m listening to all of the, I’m listening to all of that, that you just said, and I’m starting to sort of make a mental to-do list for myself. And it just makes me wonder where you point folks for resources to help them take action steps like you’ve just described. If I were to stop listening from this podcast and, and go to my desk to start to try to, to peck away at improving my organization’s website what, what online tools would you point me to immediately

Sue Ann Rodriquez: Go to the company where I work for, the company’s website, which is And on the website, you’re gonna find a lot of things on there that can help you get started in your accessibility journey, whether it be awareness, implementation, et cetera. We have webinars that we do approximately twice a month that are for, for free, and we have a free accessibility library that focus on topics again surrounding accessibility, usability for those living with disabilities too. So we do have a wealth of information on our website.

Christopher Williams: Thank you for that. We’ll definitely link to all of those resources on the show notes for this episode. I know that our marketing team here at Capacity Interactive has been working on developing our accessibility strategy for social media specifically. And we’ll actually link to a blog post in the show notes about that. And we came across a lot of barriers with social platforms themselves. For example, Instagram stories are totally incompatible with screen readers. And I was wondering if you could speak about your personal experience, engaging with brands on social media and any tips you can offer our constituency on how we can make our content more accessible on those platforms that we don’t have control over.

Sue Ann Rodriquez: Yes. And that’s a really good question. We do encounter clients who don’t have control over certain features or things that they they incorporate into their web sites. And so what we tell the, the clients that we have, but first of all, with regards to social media you know, if you don’t manage and don’t have any control over those, you know, take the opportunity to approach whoever you’re using and inform them, Hey, you know, these things that these, that the, like you said, example for the, in Instagram, you know, we wanted to know it’s not accessible for screen reader users, you know, who knows where that may lead. We actually have a client that we are working with, who who’s pretty committed to working with their, the third, third party vendors and trying to get them to make their things accessible. So I would say the, the first thing is to reach out to those third party vendors, see more awareness out there and, you know, for anybody to reach out to those, those, those third party vendors like Instagram saying, “Hey, this isn’t accessible. You know, it’d be really great if it was,” you know, how we help different people would be a good first step that you can do at this point. But I would like to say about hashtags. I know that those are really popular now it’s everywhere. One key theme that you could do on your part is to, as you know, hashtags are kinda like just one big, long word for screen reader users, they cannot differentiate that, that big, long word with no places is actually, you know, a couple of different words. So what we suggest is to capitalize the first letter of each word also when you are, I do believe there’s an opportunity or a way that you can do alt text for images like in Facebook. So, you know, when you do that, just be aware to try to have the description of the image, be as clear as possible. What are you trying to convey that image or what’s the overall different aspects of those images wherever possible, when you can make alt text descriptions descriptive, do so.

Christopher Williams: Excellent. So, and one, and one of the things I definitely heard in there was that we all need to use our collective voice to make sure that all of these tech social platforms know that we believe that accessibility is important, and we need to be asking for those changes to be made. I know before your career at WeCo you an accessibility consulting, you worked as a webmaster and a database administrator for a nonprofit organization called twin cities rise. Most of our listeners work at nonprofit organizations, and I’m sure you can relate to many of the challenges they face in moving digital initiatives forward. Certainly, you know, getting board approval for focusing resources on areas like web accessibility can still be challenging for smaller teams, actually many sized teams truly. What, what advice would you give us for helping to get leadership buy-in and support for this work and, you know, what are some of the ways that greater accessibility might actually contribute to greater profitability?

Sue Ann Rodriquez: I would say to start off accessible design is more conclusive, meaning that the information that you’re trying to convey or don’t nations that you’re, you’re trying to you know, receive is reaching a larger number. But also with regards to individuals with disabilities as you know that is a, a large number, and I do not have the current statistics on that, but as you may be aware, the, the population is aging and with, with the, the aging process comes with particular disabilities. And I would say, you know, the, the number one or close to it is vision. So you do have a, a growing population potentially having some type of visual impairment that should be accounted for, and then accessible design improves the ability for everybody across the board. No matter what, if you have a, let’s just say, for example, if you have a simple design layout that has a donate button, or has the, the services or goods that you provide right there, where a shooter can see it, find it without having to go through or try to be distracted by a lot of images or a carousel that has images that there’s no way to control it, meaning pause it or stop it. That can be really distracting, you know, having a simple layout with controls. Like if you wanna have a carousel, that’s great with images, dancing, things like that. But if you have controls that will stop that, you know, that’s gonna help all users, not only the ones that you know, can be distracted, but provide those controls or screenwriter users, et cetera accessible design also helps your, your search engine optimization. So if it’s, for example, if you have images on your on your website and they have clear descriptive alternative text descriptions, that’s gonna help your research engine ation which in turn will help your rankings when an individual does a search via a search engine. And then I would like to say, finally, I would say, accessible to the design manages risk risk in that regards legally. I know that’s a, a big thing and you know, it, it is something to take into account. If your website is for the most part accessible, then your risk of not meeting legal compliance, or having something inaccessible will lower the risk or eliminate the risk of a potential lawsuit or legal something legally being held you know, to a nonprofit or a, a company in general.

Christopher Williams: So much to think about. Thank you. We have arrived at your CI to Eye moment, Sue Ann if you could broadcast one piece of advice to the leadership teams, staff, and boards of a thousand arts organizations, what would you want them to know right now?

Sue Ann Rodriquez: I would say that disability needs to be part of your diversity efforts. We know that diversity, you know, includes the different ethnic race groups but it also needs to include the disability group. I do believe that, you know, inclusivity diversity should also include individuals with disabilities who have not been part of those conversations.

Christopher Williams: Sue Ann, I have learned so much from you today. Thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Sue Ann Rodriquez: Thank you again for having me. I do really appreciate it, and I had a great time as well.

Christopher Williams: Me too. Thank you, Sue Ann.

Priya Iyer: Thank you for listening to CI to Eye! We’re your hosts, Priya Iyer…

Christopher Williams: …and Christopher Williams!

Priya Iyer: CI to Eye is edited and produced by MP and co-written by MP and Krisi Packer. Stephanie Medina and Jess Berube are CI to Eye’s designers and video editors, and all four work together to create CI’s digital content. All of our podcast music is by whoisuzo.

Christopher Williams: This week, you heard from Jess Berube, Stephanie Medina, Sam Kindler, Laura Dauksewicz, and Sue Ann Rodriguez.

Priya Iyer: As always, please click the subscribe button wherever you get your podcasts.

Christopher Williams: Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter for regular content to help you market smarter and sign up for our newsletter at

Priya Iyer: Until next time, thank you for listening!

About Our Guests
Jess Berube
Jess Berube
Manager, Graphic Design and Brand Strategy, Capacity Interactive

Jess Berube is Capacity Interactive’s Manager of Graphic Design and Brand Strategy. As a proud member of CI’s creative team, she pushes pixels and a strategy-first design agenda. Find her heads-down in content, communications, and your favorite conference (Boot Camp! You’re coming, right?). She joined CI after receiving an MA in Mass Communication from the University of Florida. Outside the office, Jess is doodling, vintage shopping, or performing standup for her cat, Mitski.

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Laura Dauksewicz
Laura Dauksewicz
Senior Consultant, Capacity Interactive

Laura Dauksewicz is a Senior Consultant at Capacity Interactive specializing in digital marketing. She joined the team with a background in the performing arts, hospitality, and events. In her consulting role, she is grateful daily that her work finds her in collaboration with a team of passionate professionals dedicated to serving the arts. Outside of CI, you can find her spending time with her family, seeing theater, exploring her new neighborhood of Maplewood, NJ, and trying to learn how to garden.

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Sam Kindler
Sam Kindler
Principal Consultant, Capacity Interactive

Sam Kindler is a Principal Consultant at Capacity Interactive specializing in digital marketing. She has been on the CI team for nearly a decade after working in general management for non-profit theaters. Sam graduated from Tufts University with a BA in Drama & Dance and, prior to CI, worked as the Off-Broadway Company Manager for Manhattan Theatre Club. She has a tremendous passion for the non-profit arts sector and currently serves on the board of directors for WP Theater. In her spare time she loves to travel, see theater, sing karaoke, and explore her neighborhood. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, her dog Piper, and her son Milo.

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Stephanie Medina
Stephanie Medina
Senior Graphic Designer, Capacity Interactive

Stephanie Medina is a Senior Graphic Designer at Capacity Interactive with a passion for bringing ideas to life—from static designs to animations. She joined the CI team after graduating from New York University with a BFA in Studio Art and a minor in Media, Culture, and Communications. In addition to brainstorming creative solutions and making things “pop” with the marketing and content team daily, you can also catch her at home binging a show on Netflix (or really any reality TV show). She also loves exploring different food spots in Queens and is always on the hunt for new ones.

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Sue Ann Rodriquez
Sue Ann Rodriquez
Director of Accessibility Services, Digital Accessibility by WeCo

Sue Ann Rodriquez is the Director of Accessibility Services at Digital Accessibility by WeCo. She began her digital career as the webmaster and database administrator for the nonprofit Twin Cities RISE! and received her Master’s in Digital Communication from Metropolitan State University, where she explored digital accessibility and UX by testing the university’s webpages using assistive technology.

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