Discover Advances Design Accessibility in the Open

Discover contributes open DesignOps tools to advance accessibility and improve design practices for everyone.
April 12, 2023
Last updated April 12, 2023

Discover® Financial Services is ramping up its work in open source with projects aimed at boosting accessibility in design.

While most people think of open source in terms of code contribution, there are numerous ways for people to engage in open source communities. Contributions go far beyond that as Discover is showing with its work in the accessible design space and through a series of sponsorships and speaking engagements.

It starts with the Fintech Open Source Foundation’s (FINOS) Global Accessibility Awareness Day Hackathon, which runs April 24-May 18 (registration closes April 21). Discover is one of two Gold sponsors for the event and has issued the Atomic Accessibility Design Challenge. It focuses on design thinking and asks teams "to develop an end-to-end solution that explores novel applications of accessibility technologies for financial services."

The hackathon goes beyond code, pulling together different roles and disciplines to engage broader perspectives.

"We recognize that there's a general challenge within the designer tool chain," Discover distinguished engineer Andy Smith says. "We've brought together technologists and designers to look at DesignOps and our open source project office. We've built an approach where we innovate internally to solve a problem with designers, and we contribute that to the Discover GitHub repository. Open source is all about building community, and we think hackathons are a great way to start building and seeding that ecosystem."

In the Discover GitHub repo, visitors will find existing projects including the Accessibility Theme Builder software development kit. This SDK, which adheres to the Atomic Accessibility Design Methodology, is described as, “A system for generating machine-readable asset types allowing design systems to publish products that are accessibly inclusive.” Hackathon participants are encouraged to use the Accessibility Theme Builder in their projects.

Discover will further publicize its design accessibility focus to a broader open source audience at the Linux Foundation's Open Source Summit May 10-12 in Vancouver. Discover Vice President for Technology Capabilities and Innovation Angel Diaz will deliver a keynote on the opening day of the conference. Discover distinguished engineer Lise Noble will deliver a breakout session at the conference where she’ll do a deep dive into the need for accessible design and the ways Discover aims to build community around a solution.

"Creating accessible digital experiences for our customers and employees is not just a legal obligation," Noble says, "it's the right thing to do. It's supported by our Discover Behaviors, which encourage us to build 'a supportive and inclusive environment where all can thrive.' Discover is a leader in inclusive practices and policies and our end-user experiences should reflect that commitment. In addition, creating accessible experiences improves the consistency and usability of our applications for all users."

In February, Discover announced that it had joined FINOS and the Linux Foundation as a member organization. Through these design-focused open source initiatives, the hackathon itself, and by participating in local and international events, Discover is showing some of the ways it plans to increase its open source footprint and give back to the broader tech community. These efforts look to drive innovation in the open and build an ecosystem around areas that matter in financial technology and beyond.

While the hackathon is one way to contribute, the collaboration around accessible design is ongoing. Discover will continue to share its work in the open and invite others from the broader tech and design communities to contribute their ideas.

"This is a significant step for Discover in our open source journey," Diaz says. "Design is such an important part of the products we offer. We can't wait to see what will happen when we can share our work and collaborate with others in this space. We're fully committed to finding areas where our designers and engineers can add value to a broad range of open source communities."

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