TD’s new accessibility tool will allow Canadians to personalize their online preferences

TD Adapted Accessibility is a plug-in the company will soon roll out to Canadians

TD is working to bring a new accessibility tool to Canadians.

TD Adapted Accessibility is a browser plug-in customers will soon be able to use to personalize how they see a website. Dark mode, font size and a dyslexia-friendly font are some of the options users will be able to choose from.

The point was to create a tool that was “designed for inclusion,” Rizwan Khalfan, TD’s executive vice president and chief digital and payments officer, told MobileSyrup. The widget “gives you an experience that is much more designed for you and what your capabilities are.”

The tool co-exists with other technologies, such as software that magnifies screens. It was born from an idea to create technology that was focused on inclusion and creating standards that direct the next generation of software engineers to develop inclusive technology.

“There’s a potential to go beyond [the banking] industry and include those standards as part of the learning [process],” Khalfan said.

The widget represents one of those standards, and the vision, he said, is to have technology investments in Canada embrace this standard.

Samantha Estoesta, a product manager at TD, led the team that came up with the innovation. Her approach was to take the idea past simply meeting accessibility requirements.

“For real inclusion, we should be looking at making experiences — experiences that some of us take for granted — seamless for everyone. With the TD Adapted Accessibility tool, we have an opportunity to do that in our online spaces.”

While the tool seems simple, it leads to questions about why TD has only now developed something of the sort. Khalfan points to two reasons. The first is browser technology and the changes it has experienced over the years. The second is that people are using a different way of thinking; instead of making changes to one application at a time, a plug-in allows for change to happen at once.

But that thinking also has its limitations. The accessibility widget will only be available on browsers, such as TD’s online banking system EasyWeb. However, it won’t apply to mobile apps at this time.

The problem goes back to the limitations once held by browsers. “Every app is built uniquely,” Khalfan said. Where a plug-in would bring the accessibility option to browsers, it wouldn’t be for mobile apps.

While Khalfan said it’s a problem the company wants to solve, they want to ensure it goes up to their core standard of inclusivity through an output that every app developer can adopt.

Khalfan said Canadians should be able to utilize the feature in “the coming weeks.”

The widget is undergoing a pilot project that allowed 6,000 internal TD employees in the U.S. being able to access the service. Disability:IN, a non-profit focusing on business disability inclusion, is also using the widget under the pilot to ensure the tool is ready for the market.

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