The Accessibility Ally in Bank of New Zealand’s Usability Meeting

Today I had the opportunity to speak in the usability meeting of Bank of New Zealand (BNZ). Though the weather was cold and gloomy (and I was a coughing machine) this morning, the usability group at BNZ was friendly, lively, and interested in the topic. I’m glad to add this event to my list of great experiences in Wellington.

Julius presenting in usability meeting at BNZ

The usability meeting at BNZ is a regular event where usability champions gather to discuss issues and certain fields related to…you guessed it right, usability! I believe that this event is part of BNZ’s aim to enhance the usability and accessibility of their web site, products, and services. Usability experts from other companies also attend this regular meeting.

The presentation began with a demonstration of how a person uses a screen reader. This is a software that reads the highlighted text on the screen. Screen readers are generally used by blind people. I showed the reading functions provided by the screen reader, and the important settings such as the speed in which the screen reader voice would speak information. I was happy to hear that the group was interested in learning what a screen reader is and how it is used.

Then I showed how a screen reader user would access the Internet. The group gave suggestions of web sites for me to visit and explore. We focused mainly on one particular newspaper site. While doing the demonstration, I identified major accessibility issues that affect the browsing experience of blind individuals. The group and I also recognized the issues that affected the usability and accessibility of the web site.

I learned lots of things from the group’s excellent comments and observations. I was also glad to answer interesting questions from the group regarding screen readers, the Net through a blind user’s perspective, web accessibility, and software for blind persons.

Many thanks and cheers to BNZ for inviting me to their usability meeting! I’m very willing to help the usability group in any accessibility-related matters. This has been a truly good day.

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5 Responses to “The Accessibility Ally in Bank of New Zealand’s Usability Meeting”

  1. Mir Mohammad Says:

    I am gutted that I missed out on the session from Auckland due to technical difficulties! Sounds interesting!

    • Julius Charles Says:

      Hi Mir.

      I agree that it would’ve been awesome to have Auckland’s BNZ in the previous meeting. Anyway, I’d be very glad to help if your group has any accessibility related concerns.

      Cheers,

      Julius

  2. Andrew Davies Says:

    Hi Julius

    Thanks very much for coming in to demonstrate JAWS to our group. The screen reader is very clever but obviously it is constrained by the quality of the website design. Clearly some websites have very poor usability and there is a lot of work to do to improve them.

    A very enjoyable and informative session – thank you !

    Regards

    Andrew

    • Julius Charles Says:

      Hi Andrew.

      Thanks for your comment and for the interesting observations you and the group gave during the meeting.

      Yes, although JAWS and other screen readers are quite smart, web sites still need to have a good level of usability and accessibility so that screen reader users can use web sites properly.

      Regards

      Julius

  3. Anonymous Says:

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