People with disabilities deserve digital access to their financial institution's information. Just as financial institutions added Braille to ATMs and accessible entryways to their physical locations, it’s now equally important to ensure that digital financial interactions, applications, and documents are accessible to everyone.
In fact, it can even be illegal not to do so. If your firm isn’t yet following the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessibility standards, you need to prioritize this. To help you make your content available to everyone, here is a quick overview of the ADA standards, plus six tips you can implement to improve your site’s accessibility.
What are ADA accessibility standards?
ADA is a law enacted in 1990. It protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in all aspects of public life. It also ensures they have the same rights and opportunities as people without disabilities.
While the ADA is commonly associated with physical accommodations, such as offering wheelchair accessibility or assistive listening systems, courts nationwide have ruled that accessibility laws also apply to company websites.
It’s important to follow the ADA standards for accessibility to ensure that all your clients can access your website. Accessibility governance covers the following topics:
- Policy and management — Accountable to a company’s stakeholders, investors, and the public to provide accessibility for everyone. Overarching guidance to ensure your agency meets its ADA responsibilities.
- Acquisition — Buying and selling information and communication technology supports your Environmental, Social and Governance responsibilities (ESG).
- Content creation — When it comes to digital content, there are explicit standards that ensure your policies, metrics and business practices support your cultural responsibilities of diversity, equity and inclusion. People with disabilities are your largest silent majority of customers to include.
- Design and develop — It’s important to understand the principles of design that will make or break the user experience for people with disabilities.
- Testing — It is important to adjust your testing and scoring methods to evaluate your ADA or 508 documents with regards to new technology and further facilitate a positive customer experience.
How financial firms can make their online presence more accessible
You must make sure that all of your firm's digital assets are accessible to everyone. This includes your website, apps, PDF documents, and more. To help your firm meet ADA compliance standards, here are a few things you can do.
- Understand the requirements
Take some time to learn more about the various ways in which customers can access and interact with your website. Then apply that information to your goal so you can truly integrate an end-to-end solution. People without disabilities often don’t even realize the barriers others face, so it’s essential to do your homework and make sure you’re covering all the bases.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are a great place to start. It describes the building process for all disabilities including future development for cognitive, dexterity, mobility, learning, language and other attributes that are important for accessibility websites and the documents that are posted. If you understand those guidelines, you can help ensure that everyone can equally utilize your digital assets.
- Be careful with color
You already know that the colors on your website are important for aesthetic and branding purposes, but choosing the right colors can also make a big difference for people who are color blind or have low vision.
You’ll want to make sure to use contrasting colors between your text and the page’s background. If those colors are too similar, the words can be challenging to read. It’s also important not to use color for effect in your text because its nuances could be lost on some people. Instead, try using boldface or increasing the font size if you want to draw attention to a word.
- Utilize microsites that can provide further navigation capabilities, accessibility controls, monitoring and reporting
Think in terms that will revolutionize your ADA website by incorporating technology that can establish a logical way to keep your compliance documents up to date, easy to use, and provide a secure user experience.
- Strategically improve your internal user experience and workflows
Utilize cloud-based hosting so your documents can be accessed with a hybrid or work from home situation for product building and support internally before making them public.
Enhance your working group collaboration and management.
Incorporating a solid foundation for accessibility will provide the structure to scale for larger projects, integration of multiple cross-selling, and improve performance and efficiency.
- Strategically improve your external user experience
By utilizing an ADA and cloud-based strategy, you can incorporate an external user experience. This could be with a business partner, vendor collaboration or your customer.
Approach your initiative with the perspective of faster, secure and compliant communications platform that encompasses a truly integrated end-to-end solution.
- Accelerate your conversion rate from prospect to customer
Always make it easier for all of your current and future customers to interact, buy more, and amplify your message. You cannot get any better endorsement than that from your customer experience. And that includes people with or without disabilities.
Have a method to capture inquiries and route for further action. Customer service interaction or new product support.
Make accessibility a goal
Making your digital assets 100% accessible is a big project, and it won’t happen overnight. Establish and maintain ADA compliance continuously. This is not a one-and-done activity. And you cannot be partially compliant to avoid legal trouble or fines.
By making accessibility a top priority for your firm, you can reach more people than ever. You’ll also help your customers with disabilities feel understood and prioritized. If you need help making your digital assets compliant with the ADA standards, contact Toppan Merrill to learn more about our accessibility services such as compliance controls, scalability, technical expertise and seamless integration.