Notes from G3ict International Briefing: Inclusive Financial Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

I was invited to represent Intuit at a meeting in Paris to discuss how International financial institutions could provide accessible experiences for their customers and employees. The event was organized by G3ICT and built upon the work done for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The following are notes I’ve extracted from the presentations listed below. There’s a wealth of information contained within these presentations and each is worth opening and studying.

Ted Drake Intuit and Robin Sargent, Business Development Executive, IBM Accessibility

Speakers and links

  • Matt Ater, Vice President, Services, Freedom Scientific • Presentation and Presentation
  • Dominique Burger, President, BrailleNet, European eAccessibility Forum
  • Alireza Darvishy, Head, Accessibility Center, Crédit Suisse • Presentation
  • Ted Drake, Accessibility Principal Engineer, Intuit • Presentation
  • Gita Esmieu, Director, Financial Services Accessibility Program, G3ict
  • Serge Leblal, Editorial Director, CIO and Le Monde Informatique
  • Axel Leblois, President and Executive Director, G3ict • Presentation
  • Dr. Monique Mai, Accessibility Group Department, Director “Communication, Remote Sales & Public Affairs,” Orange Group • Presentation
  • Sara Mansell, Design Lead, IBM • Presentation
  • Jean-Michel Mépuis, Director, Sustainable Development and CSR, Société Générale
  • Nicola Palmarini, Global Digital Creative & Technology Advocate, IBM Accessibility / IBM Research • Presentation
  • Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero, Deputy Head of Unit for Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Directorate General for Justice, European Commission • Presentation
  • Jean Royné, Director General, IT News Info
  • Robin Sargent, Business Development Executive, IBM Accessibility • Presentation
  • Paul Smyth, Head of IT Accessibility, Barclays • Presentation
  • James Thurston, Vice President, Global Strategy and Development, G3ict • Presentation
  • Yves Veulliet, Global Disability & Inclusion Program Manager – Global Diversity HR, IBM • Presentation
  • Frances West, Chief Accessibility Officer, IBM

Alireza Darvishy, Head, Accessibility Center, Crédit Suisse

For our clients, we provide the following accessible products and services

  • Bank statements in Braille
  • Bank statements in larger fonts
  • Talking ATMs
  • Sign language interpreter for deaf clients
  • Induction system for hearing impaired clients

Axel Leblois, President and Executive Director, G3ict

Three Major Global Drivers for Accessibility
Compliance in Financial Services

  1. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  2. United States jurisprudence and regulatory activity
  3. European Accessibility Act

ICT Accessibility: An Extensive Set of Dispositions in the CRPD

  • Preamble – Defines accessibility as an enabler for Persons with Disabilities to exercise their rights
  • Article 3 (f) – Identifies Accessibility as one of its 8 general principles
  • Article 9 – Elevates ICT Accessibility obligations on par with those for the built environment and transportation

“Access/Accessible/Accessibility” – 17 uses throughout the CRPD

CRPD includes avenues for documenting failures and steps to compliance.

UN CRPD Committee Decision Sets Clear Precedent (May 16, 2013)

Case against Hungarian banks not providing accessible ATMs was submitted to CRPD Committee

Committee referred to article 9.2 (b) of the Convention

Concluded that:

  • Hungary had failed its CRPD State Party obligations
  • Must remedy the situation of inaccessible ATMs

UN CRPD Committee also Mandated Hungary to:

  • Establish minimum standards for the accessibility of banking services provided by private financial institutions
    for persons with visual and other types of impairments
  • Create a legislative framework with concrete, enforceable and time – bound benchmarks for monitoring and assessing the gradual modification and adjustment by private financial institutions of previously inaccessible banking services provided by them into accessible ones
  • Ensure that all newly procured ATMs and other banking services are fully accessible for persons with disabilities

Dr. Monique Mai, Accessibility Group Department, Director “Communication, Remote Sales & Public Affairs,” Orange Group

3 categories of service: Mobile Money, NFC Payment, and Mobile Banking
Orange Accessibility’s missions

  • integrate accessibility from conception to delivery
  • create adapted product and service range for the seniors and disabled people (Fr, Spain…)
  • develop distribution networks
  • drive web accessibility policy
  • communicate and set up partnerships
  • public affairs (CSR, regulation, standardization)

Sara Mansell, Design Lead, IBM

IBM Design Thinking
Sample design specification
Accessible products begin with clearly defined keyboard navigation specifications

Universal design

The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design (Ron Mace, 1988)

Inclusive Design

Products, services and environments that include the needs of the widest number of consumers (UK Government 2000)

Design for All

Everything that is designed and made by people to be used by people – must be accessible, convenient for everyone in society to use and responsive to evolving human diversity (European Institute for Design and Disability (EIDD) Stockholm Declaration in 2004)

Nicola Palmarini, Global Digital Creative & Technology Advocate, IBM Accessibility / IBM Research

New clients: the aging

  • Market for aging population is a >$20 Trillion World Wide opportunity.
  • US – Estimated assets for this demographic $8.4 to $11.6 Trillion
  • Rising Eldercare costs will disrupt economies 6% of US GDP will account for social service costs for the Elder. Double the current percentage.

The challenge is converting a world built by and for the young into a world that supports and engages population that live 100 years and beyond.

Other demographic factors affect the business

Seniors cannot be treated as a homogeneous population, but comprise different subgroups.

The third age ( young old ) describes older adults’ healthy and active life phase, which is characterized by the continuation of their former lifestyle after retirement (approximately from 65 to 80).

The fourth age ( oldest old ) beginning roughly at 80, is associated with fading health and independence.

Elderly people can also be very active

  • 30% to 80% of seniors over 65 still travel.
  • On average, seniors spend 5 of every 7 days outside their homes.
  • 68% of seniors have their own cars.
  • Two-thirds of seniors have a partner.
  • 75% of seniors are grandparents.
  • Approximately 70% of seniors with children see the m several times per month or week.
  • 45% of seniors engage in volunteering activities .
  • 42% of seniors feel healthy or very health

Some challenges

Need for story telling and simplification to understand and buy new business models
Compliance & Access
Bare access to digital services is still an issue/ Compliance is driven by business performance
Usability and Accessibility
Huge Usability and accessibility gap: in the United Stat es, older boomers are over 95% underserviced and senior s manage to complete only 55.3% of tasks online.
Biometric rise the issue of privacy
Easy of access rise the risk of fraud: in US only elder fra ud accounted for $36 Billion in losses in 2014

Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero, Deputy Head of Unit for Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Directorate General for Justice, European Commission

Why an European Accessibility Act?

Economic reasons

  • Free circulation of accessible products & services
  • more accessible and cheaper products/services for 80M of EU citizens • Divergence of national legislations
  • fragmentation of the EU Market
  • counterproductive for enterprises
  • Opening markets for being ready for global competitiveness

Legal Obligations

  • The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) entered into force for the EU in 2011
  • Its obligations increase the risk of divergent accessibility legislations in MS
  • The EAA helps to implement the obligations of article 9 on Accessibility

Products & services in the scope of the EAA

  • Computers and operating systems
  • ATMs, ticketing and check – in machines
  • Telephones and smartphones
  • TV equipment related to digital television services
  • Telephony services and related equipment
  • Audio – visual media services (AVMS) and related equipment
  • Air, bus, rail and waterborne passenger transport services
  • Banking services
  • E – books
  • E – commerce

Robin Sargent, Business Development Executive, IBM Accessibility

Apple, IBM, and Japan Post Group are reimagining elder care in Japan

The Aging Population is growing at rapid rate

Seniors=25 % of Japan’s population. Projected to grow to 40 percent by 2055

  • Fear of being alone
  • Afraid of being Institutionalized
  • Concerned about someone else taking control or
  • Losing control

So much of what happens within your social sphere affects your healthcare …… And depression is big issue with elderly people

IBM and Apple collaboratively designed a suite of apps that provide structure and transparency to eder care at home. There are three components

  1. Elder Support – handled by Postal/Commercial Elder Support Services or Assistance Worker
  2. Elder at Home – The Senior at home alone
  3. Elder Advocate – Friend, Family, Carer

Elder Support

1 of 3 interdependent apps in the Elder at Home Suite, Elder Support is for enterprise workers assigned to monitor and assist sponsored or subscribed elders living alone and using the Elder at Home app and their families using the Elder Advocate app.

Elder at Home

Central to Elder at Home Suite, the app is specially designed for use by elders providing reminders for meds, real – time interactions with family and support service provider through associated apps, and ability to incorporate 3rd party services in ecosystem established by a client organization. Such services may include shopping, community activities, and social service requests

Elder Advocate

The app for families of subscribed or sponsored seniors, it supports and interacts with senior activity on the Elder at Home app as well as Elder Support worker app for monitoring and remote support of senior for collaborative, interactive, assistance, and communication with far – away loved ones

Paul Smyth, Head of IT Accessibility, Barclays

Accessibility resources from Barclays

Ted Drake, Accessibility Principal Engineer, Intuit

Read the full presentation: Future Accessibility for Financial Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

Reducing the effort for a customer will bring better usability and accessibility. The evolution from paper based financial tracking to electronic has already given users greater control over their financial records

How do we balance the need for security while also minimizing the cognitive load for our customers? Near Field Communication, bio-metrics, and multi-factor authentication have already improved the experience, what is next?

Future Accessibility for Financial Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

This short presentation was an introduction to a panel discussion on how financial institutions can use new technology to provide accessible solutions. It was part of this event: G3ict Hosts International Briefing: Inclusive Financial Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities, Paris, France

Continue Reading Future Accessibility for Financial Services for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities

ARIA Label Bookmarklet

I love simple bookmarklets that visualize coding patterns. I was working on a project today and wanted to verify that aria-labels were sufficiently descriptive. So I put together this quick bookmarklet.

aria-label bookmarklet

Simply drag that up to your bookmark bar and click on it whenever you need to test a page.

If an element has an aria-label, it should get a yellow background and the label displayed in red. Your particular styles may affect this.

If an has an aria-labelledby, it should have a pink background and the object it is pointing to will be displayed in green.
I’m labelling the next element


I’m using this on a project that uses aria-label extensively in a complicated form. In the past, I found some of the aria-label attributes didn’t provide adequate context, so this now makes it pretty simple to discover.

Android Accessibility – The Missing Manual

This presentation was created for the Bangalore Accessibility Week at Intuit, October 2015. It’s a collection of hard to discover information on making an Android application accessible.


DevicesTesting is done both on actual devices and with automation, such as Calabases and Android Lint. Intuit’s product development also relies heavily on user testing, including users with disabilities.

Intuit also has a mobile device library that allows anyone within Intuit to check out a mobile device for testing. This has significantly lowered equipment cost and makes it much easier to test applications on an assortment of phones. This can be important as phone manufacturers may break accessibility, such as the Samsung keyboard.

Android Lint

Android lint allows you to run accessibility tests within your development environment. It’s easy to find and fix the issues.


This session, Improve your Android App’s Accessibility, from Google IO 2015 introduces AccessibilityChecks and teases the upcoming testing app.


TalkBack is the built in screen reader for Android devices. ChromeVox is the screen reader used in Chrome and on ChromeOS

Turn on TalkBack

This video shows how to enable TalkBack and how to use it as a developer. It also shows how to use the context menu for reading the entire screen and turning of TalkBack temporarily.

Two Fingered Gestures

It is easy to use custom gestures with Android. If the app depends on a single finger gesture, TalkBack will pass the same gesture with two fingers. This is very helpful with signatures and swipe navigation.

Android Accessibility Shortcut

Android provides a convenient shortcut for enabling TalkBack on a device. This short video shows how to use it.



Place this declaration on the container that includes data that changes dynamically. The new content will be announced when it appears.


This short video shows how a live-region’s content is announced whenever it is changed by deselecting a row within the table. This is an HTML page with aria-live=“assertive”


  • Swipes and other hard to discover actions
  • Actions are activated from the Local Context Menu
  • While this could be used to provide hints for actions, I haven’t found the documentation/examples on how this is accomplished.
Create AccessibilityAction
 * @param actionId The id for this action. This should either be one of
 * the standard actions or a specific action for your app. In that case it
 * is required to use a resource identifier.
 public AccessibilityAction(int id, CharSequence label)
 new AccessibilityAction(, getString(R.string.dismiss));
 new AccessibilityAction(ACTION_CLICK, getString(R.string.play_song));
// Constants for all the standard actions with default label:
Handling a Custom Action
eventView.setAccessibilityDelegate(new AccessibilityDelegate {
 public onInitializeAccessibilityNodeInfo(
        View host, AccessibilityNodeInfo info) {
   super.onInitializeAccessibilityNodeInfo(host, info);
   info.addAction(new AccessibilityAction(,
     public boolean performAccessibilityAction(
            View host, int action, Bundle args) {
      if (action == {} // Logic for action


diagram of UI layers within Android and setting noHideDescendants on unused layers. Use Auto on current layer

If you are using a stacked interface, where the hidden layers are still receiving focus, you can use importantForAccessibility to define the layers that are not important. Hamburger menus would be the most common use for this technique.

Set the visible layer to “auto”, which lets Android manage it’s functionality. Set the “hidden” layers to “noHideDesendants”, which should remove the layer and its children from the Accessibility API. Switch these values when you hide/show layers.

android:importantForAccessibility = "auto"
android:importantForAccessibility = "yes"
android:importantForAccessibility = "no"
android:importantForAccessibility = "noHideDescendants"


diagram of a modal layer within Android. Use <a href=setModal(true) to make sure it acts like a modal view”>

For popups, such as a set of options A better option, however, may be to use a ListPopupWindow or PopupWindow if you’re attempting to display information in a modal context. Just be sure to setModal(true) to ensure the contents of that window, and only the contents of that window are focusable with TalkBack.


Forms are critical for a great user experience and we need to make sure our users understand what each input represents.

Form Labels

Which is correct for your app?

  • android:hint
  • android:labelFor
  • android:contentDescription


The hint is like the HTML “placeholder” attribute. It is a visible label within the input and is surfaced to the Accessibility API when the input first receives focus. However, the hint is ignored when the input has a value. SSB Bart published a great article on this topic:
Android Accessibility Properties and TalkBack

Android form using android:hint, but no visual label

  • This create a placeholder text string within an input
  • This was the preferred method but is a hack
  • The hint is removed when a user adds a value to the input
  • Still a valid method of adding a label to an input


The strongest method for adding a label to an input is the “labelFor” method. If your app has a visual text label, add “labelFor” to this text view and point it to the form input. The user will always know what the form input represents.
Android app using visual labels

 android:text="Invoice amount"/>
 android:hint="Invoice Amount"/>


ContentDescription is much like HTML’s “aria-label”. It’s an invisible text string that is surfaced directly to the Accessibility API. Android documentation specifically warns against using the contentDescription directly on the input.

Note: For EditText fields, provide an android:hint attribute instead of a content description, to help users understand what content is expected when the text field is empty. When the field is filled, TalkBack reads the entered content to the user, instead of the hint text.
Making Applications Accessible – Android Developer Portal

  • Invisible description for TalkBack
  • Should not be used directly on an input
  • You can use it on an input’s container and combine with labelFor


It is possible to use “contentDescription” and “labelFor” to include a hidden label for your application. For instance, this pattern works with the recently introduced “textinputLayout” for Material Design layouts. This same pattern should work with a basic container around a form input.
Material design for form inputs include the android:hint as a visual label.

   android:seterror="Create a valid email address"

This is the pattern suggested for Material Design in Marshmallow. It has some bugs with Android support, but these should be solved soon. More information: Accessible Android Inputs with Material Design

Checking for TalkBack

AccessibilityManager am = (AccessibilityManager)
boolean isAccessibilityEnabled = am.isEnabled();
boolean isExploreByTouchEnabled = am.isTouchExplorationEnabled();

You can check to see if the user has talkBack enabled and then make modifications to your application. For instance, this could be used to add continue and back buttons to a swipe-based navigation interface.

More Android Documentation

Create Accessible Word Documents

There’s a big AODA Accessibility deadline hitting Canadian companies (and American companies that have Canadian customers) on January 1, 2016. All large companies must be able to provide an accessible alternative to public documentation on request. This means that if you are sharing a printed document, an untagged .pdf, or other non-accessible form of information, you need to also have a back up that is accessible.

For many people, the first step towards accessible documentation is creating a semantic, accessible Word document. Once this has been established, you can easily paste it into WordPress and other web applications to create a semantic page. This also helps you generate an accessible PDF document. Keep this Word document handy for those requests from a customer.

The Microsoft Accessibility Team has created a great set of short videos that show how to make your word Documents accessible. Take a few moments to watch this and share with your co-workers. It doesn’t take any longer to do it right. Keeping your documents semantic also makes them easier to style with the Word Themes.