Placing an Importance on Accessibility and Assistive Technologies

TD Bank Group is strongly committed to accessibility. TD Bank believes that empowering a diverse workforce can drive innovation and help create inclusive customer products: a definite business advantage in an industry that banks on good customer service.

TD Bank Group is strongly committed to accessibility. TD Bank believes that empowering a diverse workforce can drive innovation and help create inclusive customer products: a definite business advantage in an industry that banks on good customer service.

Along with establishing the Assistive Technologies Program to process accommodation requests, TD created the Assistive Technologies Lab. Here, staffers research the latest in assistive technologies and developers can learn how to meet the bank’s internal standards, which align to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, published by Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium, at the AA level. And employees can visit the lab for one-on-one support and training.

Today, TD is taking another step toward becoming what Julie Branscombe, Sr. Manager, Diversity & Inclusion, calls a “disability confident” organization by deploying Microsoft Office 365 to all employees. It is in the process of deploying Windows 10 on all corporate workstations. “In a disability confident organization, everyone recognizes the unique skills and talents of each other. It’s about being comfortable acknowledging each other’s differences and realizing that we have a shared accountability for inclusion,” she explains. “By using Office 365 and Windows 10, we’re making it simple for our employees to create inclusive content for each other and for our customers, opening a new world of opportunity.” Building a culture of accessibility TD is on a mission to embed principles of accessibility and inclusive design into its everyday practices, because it believes that an inclusive culture benefits everyone.

With a passion for creating a fully accessible workplace, Erika Faust champions the benefits of Office 365. In her role as Accessibility Specialist, she prepares official communications, such as newsletters and presentations, to encourage everyone to create content that can be consumed without barriers.

She finds the Accessibility Checker helpful when creating her communications using Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. “TheAccessibility Checker is intuitive and powerful; this new feature will flag potential accessibility issues before sending an email. That’s going to be life-changing, because it will encourage employees to think about how the recipient will consume the information. As we spread the message of accessibility and why it’s so important. The Accessibility Checker is going to change how we deploy communications at TD.” Accessibility empowers everyone Kristen Luca, IT Solutions Developer at TD Bank Group, is among the approximately 6 percent of employees who identify as having a disability. Her story impacts her work at the organization in a positive way.

“I lost my sight when I was 23, and in the intervening 10 years, I’ve learned how to adapt to everything from a different perspective,” she says. “I want to make sure that someone with a vision impairment has the same opportunities as someone who is sighted. That goal informs the entire process of development—from design to implementation. I’m extremely proud to work for TD because it really
embodies its vision—to be The Better Bank by including everyone.”

Luca visits the Assistive Technologies Lab regularly to engage with the latest technology and discover what she can use in her work, such as special attributes in code that facilitate how a web application can talk to a screen reader. For her personal use, she is excited about Narrator, a screen reader built into Windows 10. “The great thing about Narrator is that it’s embedded in the operating system, so it’s there whenever I need it, even in the sign-in screen,” she says.

Luca saves time and works more confidently since she began using the Alt+Q keyboard shortcut, which takes her to a search menu. Instead of tabbing through the Office 365 ribbon and listening to the screen reader to find the command she wants, Luca can change font size or add images with a couple of clicks. “Alt+Q and the search menu are game-changers for me,” she says. “I used to spend a lot of time just trying to find the right tool in the ribbon, but now I can work faster because I don’t need to know where the icons are located.” Diversity fuels innovation, drives business

Kristen’s story of personal empowerment reaffirms a culture of diversity. The inclusive culture at TD encourages an empathic work environment that helps increase employee loyalty and retention. It also helps drive innovation by promoting employees’ ability to mine great ideas from a wide variety of personal experience.

“Encouraging diverse teams is a winning recipe—and a business imperative,” concludes Branscombe. “The more that
we can bring different perspectives, skill sets, and unique abilities together in one team, the better we’ll be at creating products and services that can help address our customers’ varied perspectives—and the faster we’ll get them to the market.”

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