Our websites need to be flexible and our approach to website design needs to adapt over time to stay current to all of the needs of our target audience and to meet the expectations of the Web at large. To that end, we want to briefly touch on two recent developments in the Web world.
Domino’s Pizza, the ADA, and What Dentists Need to Know
Domino’s Pizza was sued for ADA rights violations for not having a website that was accessible to non-sighted individuals. Domino’s lost the lawsuit but appealed, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case , essentially affirming that they believe the case was handled properly by the lower courts.
The primary issue with the case centered around the fact that Domino’s Pizza’s website was not friendly to screen readers- special programs that non-sighted individuals frequently use to surf the Internet. Screen reading programs convert text-based code into audible content and allow people to navigate without having to see the page. Domino’s Pizza had too much content that was tied up in image-based elements such that someone without site could not place an order on their website.
Pro Impressions Marketing has assessed what this means for dentists. Most modern dental websites will pose no challenge for a screen reading program. We have used scoring programs to evaluate our current website design practices and found that they comply with the ADA’s regulations. Having said that, we are taking steps to go above and beyond the basic requirements to make sure that prospective patients who have disabilities will have no problem utilizing their adaptive programs to consume our dentists content.
BERT and… Google?
In the same spirit of making content more accessible, both for users with and without disabilities, Google announced that in late October, they made a significant change to their natural language processing portion of their algorithm. They named this change BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encorder Representations from Transformers… yeah, we’ll stick with BERT.
Google uses language processing to handle voice search on personal assistant devices like Google Home. Users can also search with their voices on Google using their phones and laptops as long as they allow Google’s website to use their microphone. But BERT applies to ALL search- it just helps Google’s algorithm deal with conversational searches that use operators like ‘about’ or ‘without’.
We are still exploring the potential of voice search for dental office marketing, but the first step has been adding conversational content to the websites, and coding it in such a way that Google is more likely to utilize the content in what they call “rich snippets”- essentially content that Google imports into their search results as part of Google’s page, giving credit and a link to the website that provided the content. We will continue our R & D efforts where BERT and voice search is concerned to get you and other dentists maximum exposure.