In 2000, Bank of America was the first bank in the United States to sign an agreement to make its web site and on-line banking accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. In the almost nine years that have passed since the bank signed the first of three agreements with the blind community, significant work has been done both by members of the blind community and by countless Bank of America employees to make sure the agreements work as they are supposed to. Recently, we learned that one of those bank employees — Amy Vaughn — had died, and the tribute posted below was written by her colleagues.
Structured Negotiations depends on advocacy efforts of blind and visually impaired people across the country. Structured Negotiations also depends on the commitment and dedication of individual people in the corporate and public sectors who are needed to make accessibility happen. Amy Vaughn was one of these “behind the scenes” employees who have made Bank of America a leader in providing accessibility to the blind and visually impaired community. We recognize the work that Amy did, and express our condolences to her colleagues and family.
In October, 2008, Bank of America lost to Leukemia, one of its key authorities on accessibility. Amy Vaughn had been involved in the bank’s accessibility movement since its beginning. She was one of the authors of the bank’s original guidelines and helped draft subsequent versions to help make our web pages accessible to the visually impaired.
Amy worked tirelessly for accessibility, and was so well respected within the bank, that she was honored with an enterprise-wide award that goes to just the top one-percent of associates. She was truly that exceptional. Through her actions, she inspired the accessibility, design, and development teams to strive for world-class web accessibility.
She had an encyclopedic knowledge of accessibility standards, and was involved in everything from creating bank policy about accessibility, to reviewing code on the most infrequently used pages. She could have easily been a force in the accessibility industry at large, but she chose to keep her head down and focus on doing the best work she could for Bank of America’s aging and disabled customers.
Amy had been at Bank of America in various roles for more than 30 years, but her partner Lisa Miller says that her ability to do “work with a purpose” in her latest role as an accessibility analyst, made her very happy.
Bank of America Agreements with the Blind Community
Bank of America has signed three agreements using the Structured Negotiations process with the California Council of the Blind (CCB) and other blind bank customers. The first accessibility agreement covered the bank’s web site, Talking ATMs in California and Florida, and alternative formats for print information. In 2001, CCB and the bank signed a second accessibility agreement calling for installation of Talking ATMs at 85% of the bank’s locations nationwide. In 2006, Bank of America signed its third accessibility agreement, committing that 100% of its ATM locations in the United States would have a Talking ATM by June, 2009. With over 12,000 Talking ATMs installed, the Bank is well on its way toward meeting that goal.