Did you know that 1 in 4 people in the U.S. has a disability? With differences in hearing, cognition, neurology, physicality, speech and vision, no two disabilities are exactly alike. Since so many of us experience the world in unique ways, it occurred to me that there are so many ways accessibility can be addressed.
Top of mind for me? The digital experience. We live and work in an increasingly online world, which had me wondering how Navy Federal was addressing accessibility through our website, app and other digital properties.
A Profession and a Passion
Just in time for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), I sat down with Jaunita George, a Quality Assurance (QA) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Analyst for Navy Federal Credit Union, to better understand. We discussed her motivation and dedication to accessibility, and what actions Navy Federal takes to make our website and digital products easy to navigate for all.
At the start of her career, Jaunita went to law school to help further human rights—but she was also nurturing a passion for technology. Combining the two is how she found herself helping Navy Federal come up with creative solutions to accessibility barriers.
“Because technology powers the way we live, work, shop and communicate, creating equal access is so important in allowing people to lead full, independent lives,” Jaunita said. It’s even more personal for her, though. She’s seen firsthand the impact an accessible experience has on her sister and niece, who both have disabilities.
Making It Happen
“Access to the web and other technology is a basic human right,” Jaunita explained, “because it’s so critical to how we interact with the world.” The way we experience the internet is through our senses. This means there needs to be more than one way to get information, since not everyone has full expression of all their senses.
Take videos for example—full audio descriptions are provided for visually impaired people, while closed captioning offers onscreen text for people with hearing impairments.
The Navy Federal website is also designed for easy navigation. Jaunita even reviews visuals to ensure nothing is too distracting. “My team and I follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and test across different assistive technologies to make sure no one is left out,” she said.
And, because Navy Federal believes that diversity is a strength, employees have access to the tools and resources to prioritize accessibility. They’re given trainings and work together to make sure all members have the confidence, support and resources needed to achieve their financial goals.
Gratitude and Understanding
After our conversation, I felt a deeper appreciation for the work Jaunita and her team do. Everyone deserves equal opportunity and access to tools and information. I am proud to be a part of a company that makes it their mission to help everyone access financial resources. Disabilities impact people in many ways. Staying informed, educated and aware makes us stronger. I’m looking forward to seeing how we’ll continue to prioritize accessibility.
Author Bio: Amy Donaldson has been with Navy Federal since 2017 as a writer for the Marketing and Communications team. She’s dedicated to ensuring messaging is clear and helpful for members. When she’s not writing, you can find her enjoying the outdoors, playing with her niece and nephew or hanging out with family.