Puritan Life sets future accessibility practice in motion with Deque audit
Creating an Accessible Experience for a Direct-to-Consumer Product
Puritan Life is an insurance carrier that offers life, annuities, and health products. Through Puritan Life’s affiliate company, “Canvas,” individuals can purchase and manage annuities via an entirely online experience.
“At the launch of Canvas, it became important to Puritan as a company to make sure that Canvas was accessible and an experience that all customers could participate in,” says Megan Duty, VP Technology and Project Delivery at Puritan Life. “We wanted to provide an inclusive experience for everyone using the online tools we were offering.”
Megan Duty and her team chose to partner with Deque because of its assessment services, learning resources through Deque University and robust tooling like the axe DevTools Browser Extension. Together, the Puritan Life team and Deque agreed on WCAG 2.0 AA as the standard to assess the Canvas site and make improvements to its accessibility.
The Deque team was really exceptional during the initial interview process by giving us a high-level overview of accessibility so as to set the table for us to understand what services might be a value-add and what wouldn’t.
— Megan Duty VP Technology and Project Delivery, Puritan Life
Audit and Tools help Prioritize and Address Accessibility Issues
Puritan Life relied on Deque’s accessibility expertise throughout the audit process and used Deque tools to help validate and implement fixes to the Canvas site. Axe Auditor was used to view assessment results while the axe DevTools Browser Extension was used to validate fixes.
“What I liked about axe Auditor was the documented ‘proof’ it provided,” says John Meister, Application Development Manager at Puritan Life. “When manual testing was performed during our audit, screenshots were captured that could be referenced later on by the development team. That was very helpful for us to see exactly where the problems were.”
Puritan Life understood that one assessment would not put them in a place of permanent compliance. Instead, Megan and her team emphasized educating the members of their team to take the accessibility learnings to position them for practicing accessibility in the future. “It was important to us to be able to bake accessibility into our software lifecycle and get it into our process moving forward,” explains Duty.
Puritan Life implemented a “Dark Mode” toggle as a creative fix for some color contrast issues.
“When I’m developing, I’m developing with accessibility in mind. I ask myself if everything I’m creating is going to be accessible from the onset.” — Dylan Barton Web Developer, Puritan Life
“When I’m developing, I’m developing with accessibility in mind. I ask myself if everything I’m creating is going to be accessible from the onset.”
— Dylan Barton Web Developer, Puritan Life
The Canvas Accessibility statement reflects Puritan Life’s dedication to providing an accessibile experience for its users.
Canvas Project Ignites Long-Term Accessibility Plans
Puritan Life and Deque also collaborated on a public-facing accessibility statement for Canvas’s website. The accessibility statement describes how Puritan Life prioritizes providing users with an accessible experience. Having an accessibility statement also invites valuable two-way communication between the Puritan Team and their users and acts as a powerful feedback channel built to improve and sustain accessible experiences.
Overall, the knowledge gained through the Canvas project and the Deque partnership provides Puritan Life with a methodology through which they can execute their accessibility mission. “We can say accessibility is important, but if we don’t have the tools, we don’t have a tangible way to get it done,” says Megan Duty. “It’s more than just the results of a scan– it’s the awareness of accessibility, the connection to customers to get additional feedback, the ongoing cognizance of where we insert accessibility, and it’s the learning tools that we have that help us check for accessibility every step of the way.” In sum, it’s not just the good results that count, but the learnings throughout the accessibility process that save an organization time and resources every time moving forward.