With more than a century of business know-how to their name, Amica is the oldest mutual insurer of automobiles in the country. Amica values their customers’ experiences — in fact, one in three Amica customers has been insured with them for more than 20 years.
Amica set out to create an accessible experience for all users, but they also knew that it was important for their entire organization to understand what accessibility is and why it matters.
Michael Beauchamp, UX & Research Service Owner at Amica said, “When we started out, our Design team reported to Marketing and our Development team reported to IT. Once Design and Development started working together, it was a pivotal change for us. Accessibility became a baseline standard that everyone was responsible for.”
Beauchamp knew the aligned teams weren’t enough to scale their effort — they needed external, expert support and internal processes in place. That’s where Perkins Access came in.
When looking for a partner to help them along the way, Perkins Access stood out.
Beauchamp said, “We wanted to work with an accessibility partner who was philosophically aligned with us. Our approach was to primarily focus on the user experience and ensure that what we build can work for everyone — understanding that this approach would also lead to compliance with accessibility guidelines. We found exactly what we were looking for in our partnership with Perkins Access.”
Perkins Access started with a WCAG standards review of Amica’s public facing website, which was prioritized because it has the most site visitors. From there, usability testing was conducted to ensure key user goals were achievable. The game-changer for Amica was the Design System Assessment. “The review and recommendations for our building blocks — design patterns, colors and style guides — created a repeatable process that was efficient and scalable for our team,” said Beauchamp.
In addition to the audits and testing, Perkins Access also trained the Amica team on accessibility best practices. “Accessibility became something everyone was thinking about when Perkins Access led role-based training. That really enabled everyone to contribute to our accessibility effort.”
Amica wanted to go beyond meeting the WCAG standards and approach accessibility as an aspect of user experience. “It’s good design to make things work for everyone — it’s good business — and it’s rewarding,” said Beauchamp. “Perkins Access offered the perfect balance between manual testing and evaluation tools. They didn’t just throw a software solution at the process. They always put the user first, and it shows in the rigorous usability testing, training, reporting and guidance they provide.”
Through their partnership with Perkins Access, Amica is working towards their goal of building in-house accessibility expertise. Guidance from Perkins Access has helped Amica achieve scale, by building accessibility into their design process.
Beauchamp said, “The Perkins Access team has been incredibly helpful throughout the entire process. We expected technical accessibility expertise, and they definitely deliver on that. We’ve also expanded our in-house knowledge through training, experience and direct access to Perkins’ experts, who are always available via Slack.”
Gary Aussant, project lead and Director of Perkins Access Consulting, said, “Working together, we’ve incorporated inclusive design methodologies into the way Amica creates digital experiences. As Amica’s internal knowledge and expertise grew, our role became the coach, providing support, guidance and technical expertise, as well as real-time support and collaboration over our shared Slack workspace.”
Perkins Access and Amica continue to partner to improve accessibility and address barriers across all of Amica’s digital properties.