UBank releases open source accessibility kit on Github

The kit allows iOS developers and contributors to audit the accessibility of their app.

UBank has released an open source accessibility kit on Github in a move to help iOS app developers and contributors improve the accessibility for users that experience issues such as low vision, cognitive impairment, or neurological impairment.

UBank digital banking chief product officer Peter O'Malley said making the accessibility kit openly available for the first time is part of the bank's mission of "making technology accessible to everyone". 

"There's nothing in the market. There's no easy tool that are available for developers or contributors to make sure their apps more accessible and so for us, we want to ensure technology is accessible and easy for people to use no matter who they are," he told ZDNet.

The kit was originally built as part of an internal testing tool by the bank's in-house developers.  

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O'Malley said accessing the kit allows anybody -- iOS contributors, spanning developers, designers, testers and product owners – to audit the accessibility of their app.

For instance, users can check features such as colour contrast levels, how labels are structured and whether it's appropriately worded for features such as voice-over, or if the app's digital touchpoints allow seamless interactions, without limitations.  

"The way it works is it creates an overlay over your app, which then points out where you're meeting the accessibility criteria, where you have some work to do, and what are some of the improvements you have to make. It takes all of the objectivity of building an app and what makes it accessible by design," O'Malley said.

O'Malley also spoke about how the National Australia Bank-owned digital bank continues to push forward plans to enhance its budgeting tool in partnership with fintech firm Basiq.

 He says the current tool is "a bit like a cool fitness tracker for your finances" but the next steps would be looking at "how we're going to aggregate customer's financial data from other banks that they may have a relationship with".

"What [accessibility] is doing is focusing on the experience that we're building, and as we draw on additional data, additional insights from customers of different financial institutions, we hope we can provide one of the easiest and simplest experiences for customers to pull all their information on one place."

Updated 4 February 2020, 9:20am (AEDT): Peter O'Malley's title has been updated to reflect his current role. 

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