Evinced Helps Capital One Meet Accessibility Guidelines

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Capital One knows that digital accessibility needs to be a priority, not just to stay in compliance with current regulations but also to attract new customers who have accessibility issues, such as hearing or sight impairment.

“A key imperative has always been continuously advancing our goal of integrating accessibility into every aspect of our software development life cycle,” says Lundy Hartshorn, Capital One’s accessibility manager. “Accessibility at Capital One is evaluated end to end during product ideation, design, and development, through automated and manual testing and ongoing monitoring of our production environment. Ensuring all of our web and mobile assets are accessible and usable by all is a commitment across our organization and executive leadership, who are fully committed to this effort.”

However, despite Capital One’s commitment to accessibility, testing to ensure accessibility meets corporate and customer expectations often takes a back seat to other areas, including cloud management, security, application development, and data management, according to Hartshorn.

“Most automated testing solutions use static syntax analysis, which provides adequate coverage in a world of static web properties. Today’s modern web and mobile content, however, leverages more dynamic, JavaScript-heavy web applications that can leave existing testing solutions limited in monitoring accessibility/automated testing, often catching less than 10 percent of critical issues,” Hartshorn explains.

As software release cycles become more frequent, manual review quickly struggles to scale and slows the overall release cycle, he points out, noting that during implementation of new features, development teams previously interacted with Capital One’s Digital Accessibility Team (DAT) in a traditional consulting fashion. During development, an accessibility subject matter expert worked with developers to make sure that the feature was accessible.

Though the process eventually resolved outstanding issues, the back and forth, testing, and retesting dialogue took way too much time, Hartshorn says.

To automate the accessibility testing, last May Capital One partnered with Evinced, a company that provides artificial intelligence-powered digital accessibility service for developers. The company’s technology leverages computer vision and machine learning models to automatically detect accessibility issues.

According to Hartshorn, the partnership was focused on helping developers release accessible code, integrating multiple automated testing steps through the build and deployment life cycle, and building products that could quickly and automatically scan for accessibility across a full web property.

“Our developers use the Evinced Dev Debugger to check their code for accessibility before a pull request,” Hartshorn says. “From there, some teams have begun using the Evinced Cypress Automation SDK to automatically test critical flows for accessibility.”

Capital One also uses the Evinced User Flow Analyzer, which it augments with manual testing. “Once code is pushed into production, the Evinced Site Scanner continuously monitors our production environment and reports our overall accessibility status,” Hartshorn says.

The results to date have been outstanding, according to Hartshorn.

Evinced has discovered as many as 10 times more critical accessibility issues than Capital One previously found through automated testing alone. An even greater number of issues are discovered when sites are interactive, including keyboard and screen reader usability issues.

Automated testing on a scale needed by a company as large as Capital One can be extremely complex and time-consuming, but “Evinced is speedy and reliable, with 40 times faster execution, enabling us to cut our processing time in some cases from four to five days down to less than three hours,” Hartshorn says.

Next up for Capital One is the ability to leverage events (webhooks) from prominent code repositories to kick off scans with little input from the corresponding development team, Hartshorn says. “This will give us almost real-time data as code flows from developers’ fingers all the way into production. Evinced is a great partner, delivering real innovation and helping us further integrate accessibility in our software development life cycle.” 

The Payoff

Since turning to Evinced to help ensure its customer-facing digital properties are fully accessible, Capital One has seen the following results:

  • discovered 10 times more critical accessibility issues than previously found through automated testing alone;
  • increased execution times by a factor of 40; and
  • cut processing time in some cases from four to five days down to less than three hours.

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