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The re­cent re­design of the Hal­i­fax bank­ing web­site was done with ac­ces­si­bil­ity in mind, re­sult­ing in a con­tent-led and clean de­sign rarely seen in the fi­nan­cial sec­tor. Ady Borkala ex­plains why in­cor­po­rat­ing ac­ces­si­ble de­sign was so im­por­tant: “Mak­ing your con­tent ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one is sim­ply the right thing to do, it also makes busi­ness sense – why would you make it dif­fi­cult for 13 mil­lion peo­ple across the UK who have a dis­abil­ity, to ac­cess your con­tent and ser­vices?”

Borkala also “didn’t want ac­ces­si­bil­ity to sim­ply be a tick box ex­er­cise,” so it was im­por­tant that the de­sign was in­clu­sive in its ap­proach to de­liv­er­ing con­tent: “I didn’t want any­one to re­alise that they were ‘in’ an ac­ces­si­bil­ity jour­ney. For in­stance, if a BSL (Bri­tish Sign Lan­guage) user wanted to come in to branch, why would we ex­pect them to visit our ac­ces­si­bil­ity sec­tion to find out about our BSL in­ter­preter ser­vice?”

Re­search was key to get­ting th­ese jour­neys right. The team called upon user test­ing with cus­tomers who ex­pe­ri­enced ac­ces­si­bil­ity is­sues to gain an un­der­stand­ing of how to make ac­ces­si­bil­ity features eas­ier for users to dis­cover. Syn­the­sis­ing the feed­back on Post-it notes, the team were able to iden­tify key prob­lems. They then pro­to­typed a new ap­proach, mov­ing from pa­per to an in­ter­ac­tive and testable pro­to­type us­ing Ax­ure.

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