Editor's Picks for Accessible Design

Editor’s Picks for Accessible Design

Editor’s Picks is a mini-series, where we showcase some of our favourite concepts for Debut payment cards shared by the community.

Sometimes, even a minor change, alteration or adaptation can result in a significant improvement for many people. Incidentally, far more often than not, accessible and practical design considerate of one group unintentionally creates unexpected opportunities and access for others in different situations. For example, today, most footpaths have a small ramp on the corner, making them accessible to people using wheelchairs. However, after installing ramped curbs, people quickly found they had utility for many more groups, like people pushing prams, pulling heavy suitcases or using mobility scooters, people with blindness or impaired vision, and just crossing the road a little more safely.

Similarly, accessible design in the context of technology has had far wider-reaching effects. For example, text-to-speech (TTS) is often heralded as a breakthrough for people with blindness or impaired vision. It also benefitted people with autism, paralysis, dyslexia, ADHD, neurodivergence and people who just wanted to listen while doing something else. Debut is for all Kiwis, and we want to make sure we build inclusive tools that make our products accessible to everyone.

From Braille to notches to using symbols to replace common or complex text to sleek considerations for added security, we have heard some brilliant thoughts and suggestions from the community on making Debut and the card experience easier, smoother and safer for a lot of people.

Braille On Cards by David Harvey

As a passionate member of the blind and vision-impaired community, David Harvey is an inspirational advocate for equality and inclusion. David has expressed how people with blindness or impaired vision can find it challenging to identify different cards in a wallet full of otherwise flat, rectangular cards. Inspired by a Braille visitation card given to him by a counsellor at the Blind Low Vision NZ after his mum passed away, David has suggested adding Braille or raised text to make Debut card easier to pick out.

Go to Braille On Card | Vote for Braille On Card

Support 4 Me by Dawn Maraki

When you learn that an estimated 35% of teenagers in New Zealand struggle to read and write by the age of 15 (UNICEF 2020), you realise just how much we take these abilities for granted. According to RNZ, “40 percent of adults cannot read at a day-to-day functional level.” (RNZ, 2018.) Social Work graduate, great-grandmother and part-time support worker, Dawn Maraki suggests using pictographs, icons or images in place of common or known text. A few people Dawn works with are illiterate, but banking and insurance are two areas where a support worker is not allowed to assist. Dawn suggests that confirmation information like birthdates or phone numbers could be alternatively associated with a specific picture. This could spare people who struggle with text and numbers to avoid frustration. Dawn believes that such a pictograph system could also benefit people with disabilities.

Go to Support 4 Me | Vote for Support 4 Me

Practical and Safe by Azeem and Rozleen Khan

These two are full of good ideas! Azeem and Rozleen Khan shared a few ideas for design features that are both practical and safe, starting with adding a small punch hole to carry your Debut card on a keychain or lanyard.

Azeem and Rozleen have also suggested that the card could be blank. We like this idea, because it means that even if the card is picked up by someone else, they won’t be able to use it for online shopping. All of the card details can be accessed in the app.

The card readers at checkout and ATMs are based on a standard-sized card, but we’ve seen modifications are possible. Azeem and Roszleen question what a differently-shaped card could look like. We’ve heard from others that this could be useful for people who find it challenging to know which way to swipe or insert their card.

Finally, the Khans have proposed offering decals that can be used to restyle cards. Decals can be made by users at home or offered by Debut.

Go to Practical and Safe Card Design | Vote for Practical and Safe Card Design

People’s capacity to see, hear, and process language words and concepts vary from person to person. We all have unique strengths and abilities. Debut wants to make sure everyone can access and benefit from helpful financial tools. What entry above was your favourite?

The concepts above were shared by community members in Debut’s Card Idea Competition. Voting closes tomorrow.

See Entries and Vote


Please note, Debut is not a registered bank under the Banking (Prudential Supervision) Act. This is about our future intentions. Investments with us are not supervised currently by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.