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Tuesday, May 30th Jake Abma – Accessibility Lead for ING Netherlands and Ambassador of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Accessibility Lead for ING Netherlands
For the last four years, Jake has set up a raft of initiatives to make sure products and services are accessible to people with the widest range of capabilities. He’s a passionate promoter of accessibility both inside and outside the Bank.
ING has introduced different initiatives to ensure full customer accessibility to our services and products, initially on a somewhat ad-hoc basis. Since 2 years Jake is the Product Owner for Team A11Y, and his mission is to make it managed and documented.
Building the right technology, and creating standards, is a top priority for Jake and his team, which is made up of people from different disciplines, such as IT, UX and communication, some of them having a disability themselves. “We’re also setting up a Champions Network, inspired by BBC and Barclays, and we’ve just launched a new page on the Dutch ING website inviting feedback from customers on what their needs are, and communicating with them about what we’re doing.”
Ambassador UN CRPD
Since a year and a half, Jake is very active as an ambassador of the UN CRPD. As an ambassador of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) actively contribute to spread the knowledge and to raise awareness of the existence and necessity of the rights of people with disabilities.
Web Guidelines Expert Group (WCAG)
Part of the WEG within the Netherlands. The WEG will propose amendments, ideas, concerns, interpretation and clarification of the Web Guidelines into consideration and issue a non-binding opinion thereon to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Collaborating across banks
One of the initiators of an accessibility ‘Task Force’ from within the G3ict, set up in conjunction with the UN, which currently involves nine banks in many different countries, sharing best practices on a range of topics. “Accessibility in banks extends to branches, ATMs, banking cards, basically any financial transaction where people are involved.”
An Accessibility Guild within ING, along with the lines of the Spotify model, is another of Jake’s initiatives. The Guild invites colleagues from different departments – IT, communication, debit cards, ATMs, branding, to come together and see how we can all help and strengthen each other. “This is currently just in the Netherlands,” says Jake, “but with the rise in modular architecture, with projects like TouchPoint Architecture and Model Bank, it could become relevant for other countries too.” Jake is in regular contact with countries such as Spain, Poland, Germany and Belgium, sharing best practices on accessibility from the Netherlands.
A passionate promoter
“The CRPD changed the definitions,” Jake explains. “It was no longer the person who had a problem, but the product, service or environment; if it had barriers that hindered a disabled person’s full participation in society on an active and equal basis with others, then it needed changing.”
Since then, Jake has been a passionate promoter of accessibility. He has made sure that accessibility principles can be found within ING’s user interface framework, The Guide. “And they’re not just for IT, but for Product Owners, designers, developers, the whole spectrum.”