Bridging the gap: Nubank’s commitment in serving the visually impaired

Embark on NuBraille's journey to address a significant gap: the need for accessible banking services for the visually impaired.

NuBraile card

At Nubank, we firmly believe that accessibility should be at the heart of every service we offer. That’s why we embarked on a transformative journey to address a significant gap in our offerings ー the need for accessible banking services for visually impaired clients.

In this article, we will delve into the development process behind NuBraille, highlighting the key steps taken to bridge this accessibility gap. From identifying the challenges faced by visually impaired individuals to collaborating with experts in the field, our commitment to inclusivity has guided every decision we made.

Central to our efforts is the integration of braille into our banking services. We recognize the power of braille in promoting independence and self-reliance for visually impaired individuals. By incorporating Braille inscriptions on credit cards, such as the person’s name, which had not yet been used, and the last 4 digits of the card. Considering distinctive features for easy identification, we are empowering our visually impaired customers to navigate their financial journeys with confidence and autonomy.

But our journey doesn’t end there. We understand that continuous improvement is crucial in creating a truly inclusive banking experience. Through extensive product testing and client feedback, we are refining our offerings to meet the unique needs of our visually impaired users. Their voices serve as our inspiration, propelling us forward in our quest for accessibility excellence.

Join us as we explore the impactful strides we have made in bridging the accessibility gap for visually impaired clients. Discover how our innovative approach is revolutionizing the banking landscape, and learn how we plan to shape a future where inclusivity is not just a goal, but a fundamental principle of our services.

Laying the Groundwork for an Inclusive Initiative

Spotting an Unfilled Niche

In our relentless pursuit of broadening our service range, we identified a gapーa gap that predominantly impacted our visually impaired clients. This encounter was a stark reminder of the essentiality of accessibility in our services.

It underlined that inclusivity is not just a desirable attribute, but a necessity that should be woven into the fabric of any company’s ethos, especially in an industry that is an indispensable part of our daily routines.

The Initial Stages of Action

Having recognized this issue, we launched into a series of internal dialogues aimed at zeroing in on the primary obstacles that were hampering our capacity to serve our visually impaired clientele effectively.

Grasping the gravity of the challenge, we realized that we needed to lean on expertise to navigate these uncharted waters. So, we set the wheels in motion, seeking professionals equipped with the apt knowledge and hands-on experience that could steer us towards finding sustainable solutions.

The Guiding Influence of Leonardo

Our stride towards an inclusive service was greatly facilitated by Leonardo Gleison Ferreira, our Software Engineer who himself is blind. His direct experience with the hurdles encountered by visually impaired individuals shone a light on the accessibility inadequacies in our current offerings. Leonardo’s experiences served as a valuable lens through which we began to comprehend the genuine issues visually impaired people face when interacting with our services.

The NuBraille project goes beyond providing independence for visually impaired people; it is an initiative that aims to bring respect to people with disabilities, especially those with visual impairments. This demonstrates Nubank’s concern for all aspects related to people with disabilities.”

Since the beginning, I have been involved with NuBraille and there were many discussions about the importance of having a card with Braille”, said Ferreira, who continued: “for me, it was significant because it is not common to find companies that develop products with the intention of meeting the needs of people with disabilities and that directly involve these people in the development process”.

The participation of people with disabilities was essential for NuBraille, with representatives from various sectors and types of special needs. Unfortunately, in many places and companies, this approach is not taken into consideration. One time, the project team questioned the inclusion of the user’s name in Braille on the card, but Ferreira explained that in case a blind person lives with another blind person, which is his case, it would only be possible to identify the owner of the card if the name was printed.

As the team embarked on the journey to bring this concept to life, they encountered a myriad of challenges within the factory. The machinery was not equipped with the correct characters or the appropriate size to facilitate high-quality Braille reading. In fact, the team was literally in the factory, working alongside the machines as they printed the cards, brainstorming alternatives and solutions on the spot. With Leo’s constant emphasis on the significance of this project, the team remained steadfast in their pursuit.

They understand  the NuBraille card as a fundamental innovation, a tool to challenge the status quo of the factory. This was no easy task – it was a stressful and demanding process, but the team was committed to overcoming these hurdles. According to Ferreira, “when it comes to people, we are not just talking about numbers or data. It is much more meaningful for me to see my name printed in Braille on the card. I think this was my main contribution to NuBraille”.

When his name appeared on the card at the public launch, Ferreira received “messages on WhatsApp from people who thought it was a fantastic idea. It was the first time many had seen something like this. I also noticed many people unboxing the card in Braille, which was a big hit in the visually impaired community and helped bring Nubank even closer to these people”.

“The vast majority of people I contacted praised the initiative and emphasized the importance of having a user of the product involved in the development process. This makes me feel even better served as a Nubank customer. As a person with disabilities, it was exciting to receive the Braille card. I thank Nubank for existing, because they make a difference in the lives of 80 million people, including mine”, said Ferreira.

The NuBraille Project: A Journey of Iterative Improvements

Fuelled by this newfound awareness, our team pledged to an iterative approach, a step-by-step method aimed at honing our product design. This approach granted us the flexibility to progressively refine our services based on continual assessments and constructive feedback.The developmental voyage entailed numerous rounds of designing, prototyping, and rigorous testing. Each stage inched us closer to our ultimate goal – delivering a product that was not only practical but also accessible to all our clients, irrespective of their visual capabilities.

The Dawn of Inclusion: Product Features

Our commitment bore fruit with the introduction of our new credit cards featuring braille inscriptions of the client’s name. This intuitive enhancement enables visually impaired individuals to independently identify their cards, thereby fostering an added sense of convenience and self-reliance. 

NuBraille differentiates itself from other market solutions by prioritizing the needs of visually impaired individuals in a unique and impactful way. We took a step further by also adding the four last digits of the card number in braille. This thoughtful conclusion makes it significantly easier for blind individuals to unblock their cards and enhances their overall banking experience. After unlocking the card, we direct these users to the creation of the virtual card.To do this they just need to scan the QR Code that is sent with the welcome kit.

Braille: The Catalyst for Independence

The transformative role that braille plays in the lives of visually impaired individuals is profound. It’s an avenue that leads to self-reliance, equipping them to read and interpret information independently. Our decision to incorporate braille on our cards was driven by our ambition to empower these customers, thereby enabling them to manage their finances with a renewed sense of confidence and autonomy. According to Carolina Azevedo:

With NuBraille, we reaffirm our commitment to putting the customer first, creating an experience of inclusion and autonomy. Each customer is an individuality that deserves to be recognized and valued, and each name in Braille is a testament to that purpose of ours.

Introducing the concept of including the client’s name and the last four digits of the card in braille was not without its challenges. As we were doing something unprecedented in the financial market, we faced the task of convincing our card production partner of the crucial importance of these elements in enhancing the experience of blind customers.

Countless tests were conducted to demonstrate the significance of personalization and identification for visually impaired individuals. It required persistent efforts to convey the vision and necessity of creating a fully accessible product.

Product Testing: A Seal of Validation

In our commitment to delivering a product that met the unique needs of our target audience, we undertook comprehensive testing of our product prototypes with visually impaired individuals. Their valuable feedback and insights allowed us to gauge the product’s usability and accessibility firsthand. This iterative feedback played a pivotal role in refining the card’s final design and in optimizing its features for the ultimate users. The hands-on experiences of our testers were integral in tailoring a product that truly catered to their needs and provided an enhanced banking experience.

A Collaborative Effort: Recognizing the Contributors

The success of this project would not have been possible without the exceptional talents and dedication of the individuals and teams involved. The project was conceived by Creative Manager Carolina Azevedo in partnership with Card Squad, with Bruna Souza from Product, co-leading the project. The software engineer Davi Alves played a pivotal role in bringing the project to life, and the Designer Ariane Morganti was responsible for drawing both the card and the welcome kit. Their collective expertise and commitment ensured the realization of our expectation.

In addition to these key contributors, we are immensely grateful for the valuable contributions of Leonardo Gleison, Software Engineer and NuPlural member, whose contributions were indispensable to get this project off the ground. Their creativity and technical prowess were integral to the project’s success.

This project really exemplifies the power of the proactive collaboration of many, with individuals and teams from various disciplines coming together to create a more accessible and inclusive banking experience for all our clients. We are immensely grateful for their unwavering dedication and collective contributions.

Furthermore, we extend our recognition to a multitude of teams, encompassing Cross Design, NuPlural, D&I, Global Marketing, Audio Visual, Compliance, Legal, and Customer Xperience. Their collective prowess and expertise were pivotal in the flawless execution and deployment of our inclusive banking services.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition: The Rollout and Client Feedback

Rollout Strategy and Training the Troops

To ensure a smooth and glitch-free transition to our new service, we devised an extensive rollout strategy. This strategy provided us with a clear snapshot of potential issues and helped us gauge the overall performance of the new offering. To support the rollout, we undertook an exhaustive training regimen for our customer service teams. The training equipped them to effectively handle any inquiries related to the new braille cards, thus ensuring a smooth and efficient transition for all our customers.

The Importance of Client Feedback and Our Approach for Its Collection

Initial signs are promising, with the feedback from our customers reflecting an overwhelming acceptance of the new service. We have been able to get in touch with customers who are using the feature, most of whom found the card easy to use and expressed their satisfaction with this innovative service.

We believe in amplifying the voices and perspectives of our end-users. By doing so, we hope to humanize our narrative and gain a deeper understanding of the impact of our work.

Personal Reflections: A Journey of Learning and Growth

Having dedicated nearly three years to working on accessibility features, Carolina Azevedo can assert that “it has been a journey marked by enlightenment and personal growth”. To her, the most heartening aspect of this endeavor has undoubtedly been seeing the tangible benefits our clients have reaped from our solutions.

The emotional responses we’ve received have been deeply moving, whether it’s the joy of receiving their new cards or the excitement of opening the welcome kit. These moments of affirmation keep us driven in our quest to make banking more accessible for all.

Our Path Forward

As we look to the future, our plan is to continually refine and enhance our accessibility features, guided by the feedback of our users. We will always champion a customer-centric approach, innovating and adapting our services based on their needs and experiences. Their voices will continue to be our beacon, leading us to create a more inclusive and accessible banking experience.