One Hundred Percent of Financial Institutions Tested Are Failing Disabled People On Accessibility

One hundred percent of the UK’s best known financial institutions, tested by leading digital inclusion specialists, Dig Inclusion, have accessibility errors on their website homepages that are causing unnecessary hardship for disabled people, who expect to be able to deal with their own finances.

Dig Inclusion, which helps public bodies and private organisations improve their digital accessibility, carried out a survey of 20 of some of the biggest banks, building societies, lenders, and insurers in the UK, at the end of July 2021. They found a catalogue of issues that are stumbling blocks to accessibility for people with a range of disabilities.

Steve Webb, Head of Customer Engagement at Dig Inclusion, said: “We are shocked at these findings, which are far worse than we expected. Without fail, each and every one of the homepages we manually tested against the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) reported a fault. Some of the issues on the homepages alone – which are effectively the digital shop windows of these financial institutions – are worryingly critical. We didn’t look beyond the home pages for this test, but I would be confident that the issues will extend to other pages, apps and tools. We know that being able to manage their own finances is vital for disabled people who want to live independently and the fact that finance companies are not grasping the nettle on this is disappointing.

“Since 2018 all public bodies have had a legal requirement to ensure that their websites, apps and other digital tools are fully accessible, under the principles of WCAG. Websites and apps are ever evolving and so we not only help groups and organisations to make sure they are accessible today, but through ongoing training and support in this important topic we also help them to build a culture of accessibility into the future, and I suspect this is where our financial businesses are falling short. If a site passes WCAG once it doesn’t follow that it will forever more.”

The good news is that digital accessibility is a requirement that many companies are getting right. Those that do so tend to be the bodies that take on board the fact that as well as being a legal or a moral obligation, accessibility also makes very sound business sense. The number of disabled people in the UK is increasing – from 11.9* million (2014) to 14.1 million (2019), so this is an ongoing story and businesses need to make an ongoing commitment to getting it right.

Steve adds: “It’s important to note that when we talk about digital accessibility, we must think beyond blind people using screen readers, keyboard only users and those who need screen magnifiers, to include people who are colour blind, dyslexic, or with cognitive impairments (such as people living with dementia). And we should think about catering to those with temporary disabilities too. Everything in the design of your website and apps, from your font to the simplicity of your language, through to your use of colour contrast is vitally important. Financial institutions are by no means alone in falling below acceptable standards in this. A 2019 survey of one million websites from around the world found that less than one percent met basic accessibility standards on their homepages.

“Financial institutions should seek professional advice on this matter so they can get their house in order. At Dig Inclusion we already work with many leading banks, insurers, businesses and institutions. Our team of experts rigorously tests websites and apps against the latest WCAG regulations.”

Find out more: https://diginclusion.com/
*Statistics from wearepurple.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

The findings are as follows:
12 out of 20 had issues with image alt text
13 out of 20 had issues with headings
13 out of 20 had issues with landmarks
11 out of 20 had issues with reflow
9 out of 20 had issues with text spacing
10 out of 20 had issues with text contrast (3 of which had more that 5 issues)
3 out of 20 had issues with skip links
13 out of 20 had issues with focus order and visibility
16 out of 20 had parsing error

About Lisa Baker, Editor 2357 Articles
Lisa Baker is the Editor of Always Finance, and writes about Business, Finance Technology and Healthcare. Lisa is also the owner of Need to See IT Publishing.