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Improved Efficiency, Reduced Tech Debt: Why—and How—Platform Provider Socure Adopted Agile Accessibility

Che-Bin Liu, director of software engineering at Socure
“We needed a partner that could help us fill our knowledge gap, providing ongoing education and training, as well as tooling integration, monitoring, and actionable reporting. That partner was Level Access.”

Che-Bin Liu,

Director of Software Engineering, Socure

Software platform Socure has an audacious mission: solve identify verification for everyone. With that mission in mind, the engineering team behind its DocV Application solution set out to develop an interface that can verify 100 percent of identities in real time.

Director of Software Engineering Che-Bin Liu understands that accessibility is crucial to accomplish this goal, “Approximately 15 percent of the world’s population has a disability. That means that if our application isn’t accessible for people with disabilities, it will be impossible to deliver on our promise to verify 100 percent of identities.”

Digital accessibility—that is, the practice of removing any barriers for people with disabilities—became an engineering and an organizational priority. But, like most, the company was new to accessibility and facing two challenges: understanding the complexity and scope of the problem and learning how to address it.

“Because we sell to the public sector, it was important our product meet Level AA conformance of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. We started exploring those standards, and that’s when we had a ‘lightbulb’ moment.” Jordan Burris, the Vice President and Head of Socure’s Public Sector Strategy, continues, “Our signature brand color often failed AA color-related accessibility requirements. The problem was bigger than code.”

From development to design

In that pivotal moment, engineering started thinking more about design principles. “We wanted to understand what, from a UX/ UI perspective, could help support accessibility requirements,” Liu says. Socure realized solving accessibility issues doesn’t live with just one team—engineering—in just one phase of an experience creation life cycle—development. A successful program requires a collaborative approach.

“Addressing accessibility after the product is built is time-consuming, requiring costly re-engineering,” Liu adds. “We needed cross-collaboration—a shared commitment to embed accessibility at every phase of the software development life cycle. From there, we were much more efficient, improving our time to market with every release, and saving us money.”

“The key to successful collaboration is getting everyone to understand why this work is so important. Early in our journey, we told every engineer to navigate our app with voice-over only—to have the app 'talk to you.' That revealed inconsistencies that made the product experience confusing, frustrating, and sometimes impossible to navigate. We built empathy for those who rely on voice over technology. And from that experience, we knew we had to do a much better job making a product that's usable for everyone.”

Che-Bin Liu,

Director of Software Engineering, Socure

An agile approach

Like the familiar agile methodology, an agile approach to accessibility involves focused projects, constant iteration, and close collaboration. But this shift to tackling accessibility as an early, often, and iterative process required extensive training and tech support.

Liu adds, “We needed a partner that could help us fill our knowledge gap, providing ongoing education and training, as well as tooling integration, monitoring, and actionable reporting. That partner was Level Access.”

Socure required its designers, developers, product managers, and testers to take accessibility learning courses. They needed everyone in the organization to not only think about accessibility as part of their work but incorporate it into their day-to-day responsibilities. And this included legal and marketing teams as well as senior executives.

To learn more about how Socure pivoted to agile accessibility, access our full webinar.

Access webinar

Socure’s five tips for a sustainable program

1. Start early: Embed accessibility as early as design and at every phase of the software development life cycle.

“Level Access Design Evaluations unearth important accessibility concepts that can lessen the tech debt created for the product and engineering teams in the future.” 

2. Stay iterative: Embrace change and the benefits that will result.

“Technology is continuously changing, which means our product is continuously changing. Keeping it accessible is a journey, not a destination.” — Burris

3. Invest time: Devote effort on the front end to save time and money in the long run.

“By getting this right from the beginning, the business case was clear. We better positioned ourselves to serve our customer base, and our customers’ customers. It also put us in a position to continue to improve the platform in ways that allow us to scale for all use cases.” — Burris

4. Check in often: Establish regular monitoring to avoid introducing new barriers.

“The Level Access Platform analyzes and flags accessibility errors, communicates which elements need to be fixed at a code level, and helps us prioritize the work.” — Liu

5. Seek help: Align with the best digital accessibility partner to equip, enable, and educate internal teams.

“With Level Access, we have access to ongoing training and support, so we’re fully educated on the latest standards and best practices. And continued education is critical because the work is never done.” — Liu

Agile accessibility with Level Access

As the market-leading digital accessibility solution provider, Level Access offers a combination of software and expert managed services to help organizations implement—and sustain—an agile approach to digital accessibility.

Whether you’re getting started or scaling, engage with our team today.

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