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Digital Accessibility and Your Financial Services Business

digital accessibility

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 25% of all Americans – that’s 61 million people – are living with a disability. This number includes six specific disability types named and measured by the CDC: Mobility, Cognition, Hearing, Vision, Independent Living, and Self-Care. 

Is your software, web or mobile business easily accessible to them? 

During the pandemic, we quickly learned the importance of making digital banking services readily available. But when one in four people has a disability, it’s harder for them to engage with your business in the digital space, adding another layer of need.

The more people who can use your digital product or service, the better.

What does digital accessibility really mean?

The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990. It prohibits discrimination against anyone based on disability and requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities. It also places accessibility requirements on public accommodations.

In 1990, the internet was a fledgling idea in Tim Berners-Lee’s mind. Today, we are a fully connected society. We rely on the internet for everything from entertainment and information to adjusting our thermostats and paying bills. But many websites and applications aren’t designed so that people with disabilities can easily use them.

When we talk about digital accessibility, we’re referring not only to legal compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but with the practice of creating a digital environment that is fully usable by all people.

What does it take to ensure my product is digitally accessible and meets our users’ needs?

It’s one thing to ensure physical accommodations like ramps are available. But technology is always evolving, and adapting legacy software can get complicated. Core10 Engineer Carter Edge offers a few helpful insights as you evaluate your business’s accessibility:

  1. Use checklists like the one provided by A11Y Project or the WAI. These resources supply standards for web accessibility and offer supportive material for implementation.

  2. Ensure your software runs on a variety of mobile and browser versions. Statistics show a majority of Americans with disabilities use the internet on a daily basis, and some browsers are ranked higher than others in digital accessibility.

  3. Reduce rework time and budget by choosing a UI library that includes digitally accessible components.

  4. When companies are smart about digital accessibility up front, they may save money in the long run. A lot of things that apply to accessibility also apply to search engine optimization (SEO). Screen readers and search engine bots use the same types of algorithms, so if you make your website more digitally accessible, it may also boost SEO performance.

How do I prioritize accessibility efforts?

Edge says that if you are a public-facing company, or if you employ more than 15 people, you may need to increase the degree of accessibility sooner rather than later. Take it on a case-by-case basis and do as much as you can reasonably. Meet as many standards as you can.

What’s next?

Digital accessibility can have myriad benefits. Reducing legal risk aside, making your brand accessible to everyone improves overall customer experience.

Over the next five years, Edge predicts accessibility will be a big priority for public-facing businesses. Those with a head start will likely have an advantage.

If your developers are already backlogged, accessibility evaluation and prioritization may seem like a pie-in-the-sky initiative. But it doesn’t have to be.

Core10 can help you assess your current situation. Together we’ll look at what meets standards, what doesn’t, and strategize a cost-effective approach to enhancing your accessibility. Reach out today and start building a digitally inclusive experience.

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