Getting technical with digital accessibility at Capital One

Discover how Capital One’s partnership with Evinced enabled accessibility at scale.

Making digital experiences truly inclusive starts with equipping developers with tools to test and catch accessibility issues before consumers ever encounter them. 

Picture a customer with low vision firing up their laptop to check their bank balance. Imagine another who has a physical limitation paying a bill online with their tablet. Envision a parent with a baby on their lap reviewing how much they spent on groceries last week, on their desktop with one available hand. Or maybe it's a customer with a new phone they’re trying to use.

Prioritizing accessibility into the design and development of digital products

We’re always on the lookout for new ways to make our website and mobile applications usable to all. Digital accessibility is a priority at Capital One and we look to fully integrate it into the products we build. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 are a set of international shared standards that influences the way we build products and it turns out there’s a force multiplier effect that benefits a range of customers.

The role of data and automation in product development

Data and automation drive the future, touching every aspect of our lives, including product development. However, most accessibility tools have lagged behind this wave, leaving companies with terrible choices - test less, test later or grind your delivery to a halt. The industry is still heavily reliant on manual testing and remediation strategies and some may argue that accessibility testing simply cannot be automated.  We believe the truth lies in the challenge, not the impossibility and that technology is essential to helping our team make products accessible at scale. 

How venture capital contributes to strategic impact 

Evinced, a company backed by Capital One Ventures, has been integral to our efforts to rapidly evolve how we’re able to manage accessibility. We're investing heavily in prevention, awareness, and automation to tackle accessibility challenges. That's where Evinced comes in, which allows us to test for accessibility more comprehensively than what’s ever existed before. It has been a part of the entire software delivery life cycle.

Ensuring accessibility and inclusion in digital experiences through automation

Automation comes in many forms. For example, Evinced provides browser plugins, which are the best line of defense, because they help associates reduce accessibility issues before committing any code.

Automation SDKs detect potential issues during functional tests, where existing test suites built by engineers can be leveraged for testing. User-driven testing solutions, akin to Google Analytics, discreetly harvest accessibility bugs in the background of testing environments as teams test and navigate their web apps. A developer can simulate a credit card application or a car buying experience while the analysis runs quietly backstage. This holistic approach frees up valuable time for subject matter experts to focus on areas that are harder to automate, ensuring a more accessible and inclusive digital experience.

Tracking progress

With Evinced, Capital One is able to scan and monitor our customer-facing assets, generating vast volumes of data that continuously provide signals early in the software development life cycle.  Evinced expands our ability to detect specific components and pinpoint root cause issues at the code level, enabling us to go straight to the source for remediation. In a pre-production environment, we track the "lifecycle" of a potential accessibility issue, from its initial detection to every subsequent interaction. This visibility allows us to monitor outstanding work, and track the progress of remediation efforts, ensuring that we're continuously improving accessibility across our products and services.

Accessible data leads to a proactive development approach

By generating such rich accessibility data, we can shift from a "test and fix" to a more proactive approach that incorporates accessibility right from the start of development. This shift allows us to address accessibility concerns earlier in the development process and suggests remediations tailored to the needs of a particular team, resulting in more inclusive products and services for our customers. The wealth of data also empowers us to draw insights to continuously improve our products. 

For example, when building a responsive web application we must consider how something like keyboard navigability affects the application in a web browser on a computer but also a mobile browser. 

Customers, including those that are non-sighted often use the tab button, arrow keys or the spacebar when they leverage a keyboard to navigate websites, in and out of modals, tables or forms. While critical for non-sighted users, being able to tab through the required fields improves the experience for power users that place a premium on speed and efficiency.

This data-driven, proactive approach is revolutionizing the traditional process of teams submitting their code for accessibility review, typically done when nearing launch. By identifying and addressing issues earlier with Evinced, we're dramatically reducing the amount of rework required and enabling a smoother, more efficient development process.

Capital One's innovation and product development enable accessibility at scale

Capital One has embarked on an ambitious tech journey to ensure we can leverage our modern tech stack and work with startups to deliver new experiences, at scale. When our homegrown technologies coexist with solutions developed by companies like Evinced, those experiences have the potential to be more inclusive.

Our partnership with Evinced has not only helped us streamline accessibility testing but has also given us the opportunity to be proactive in our approach. The data we're now able to collect enables us to make smarter decisions and improve accessibility across the board. We're excited to continue our journey with Evinced and see what new innovations we can bring to digital accessibility.

Lundy Hartshorn, Product Manager, Digital Accessibility

Lundy Hartshorn, a seasoned digital expert with 10+ years of experience, is pushing boundaries in digital accessibility. With a focus on a product-centric approach to accessibility tools, he is transforming the management of accessibility at an enterprise scale. Holding positions in design, tech, and now product, Lundy's multifaceted skillset enables him to deliver inclusive products and services that cater to diverse user needs. Lundy Hartshorn: championing accessibility through innovation and empathy.

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