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Digital Accessibility Index: For Financial Services Sites, the Outlook on Accessibility Is Cloudy.

Posted September 11, 2023

AudioEye

Posted September 11, 2023

Orange and yellow illustration of a billboard that says "Finance: Get started at <link unknown>.com." In the top-left corner is the AudioEye logo and a label that reads "2023 Digital Accessibility Index."
Orange and yellow illustration of a billboard that says "Finance: Get started at <link unknown>.com." In the top-left corner is the AudioEye logo and a label that reads "2023 Digital Accessibility Index."

Breaking down key insights from AudioEye's 2023 Digital Accessibility Index.

Summary: We wanted to identify the biggest accessibility barriers that people with disabilities face when trying to manage their finances online, so we scanned thousands of financial services sites as part of our 2023 Digital Accessibility Index. Then we had our team of certified experts manually audit some of the world’s biggest banking and investment sites, focusing on key areas like customer portals. Here’s what we found.

In an increasingly digital world, everyone wants 24/7 access to their bank accounts, investment portfolios, and more. Unfortunately, digital accessibility barriers can make it difficult for people with disabilities to fully manage their finances online — forcing them to rely on friends and family, request customer support, or visit physical branches.

Our scan of nearly 40,000 enterprise websites found that financial services sites performed close to average in most of the areas tested — which is another way of saying that accessibility barriers were a constant roadblock across sites.

Here’s a breakdown of the most common accessibility issues on financial services sites today — plus insights from members of the disability community:

“A lot of times, there aren’t any steps to take to [maintain financial privacy]. You just have to accept that you’re about to give it up, because something you need to do isn’t optional.”

Chris Preiman | AudioEye A11iance Member

40% of financial services pages with a form had unlabeled form fields — plus more insights.

Our scan of nearly 75,000 pages on financial services sites revealed a number of accessibility issues that can make it difficult for disabled visitors to navigate between pages or update their account information:

  • 62% of pages had at least one link that did not clearly state where it would take users, which can make it difficult for screen reader users to navigate between pages confidently.
  • 40% of financial services pages with a form had at least one unlabeled field, which can make it difficult for screen reader users to know what information to enter into each field.
  • 37% of pages had at least one button that did not clearly state where it would take users.

Not only can these issues make it difficult for current customers to manage their accounts, but they can also have a dampening effect on new business.

According to a survey by the National Disability Institute, 37% of households with a disability used online or mobile as their primary method to access their account, compared with 62% of households with no disability.

Get more insights from AudioEye’s Digital Accessibility Index

Manual audits of the top financial services sites uncovered significant accessibility barriers.

Our expert review of the top financial services sites confirmed many of the same issues as our automated scan — plus a number of additional barriers that can make it hard for people with disabilities to manage their finances online.

For example: Our testers encountered pop-up windows on multiple sites that could not be closed with a keyboard alone — meaning that any visitor who cannot use a mouse (such as screen reader users and those who rely on sip and puff devices) could find themselves trapped inside the pop-up with no way to return to the main page content.

They also encountered a number of “accordion” elements (i.e., FAQ entries that can be expanded or collapsed by clicking a button) that did not respond to keyboard commands, which prevented them from accessing key information about plans and policies.

When we asked members of the disability community what it was like trying to manage their finances online, they acknowledged facing many of the same challenges — and noted that they’re often skeptical that online portals will actually be accessible.

“For banking, both personally and for work, the first step is always evaluating the accessibility of their online portals. And if a company is consistently unwilling to improve things, then it’s kind of like ‘Nope, this isn’t going to work.’”

TJ Olsen | AudioEye A11iance Member and QA Tester

Digital accessibility isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also good business.

Financial services sites play a crucial role in people’s lives. Ensuring that everyone can access and use these services isn’t just a legal requirement or moral imperative; it also makes financial sense.

In 2021, the median salary for people with a disability in the United States was $45,314. Comparatively, the median salary for people without a disability was roughly $51,633.

By embracing digital accessibility, financial services companies can broaden their customer base, enhance their brand reputation, and truly serve the diverse needs of all customers.

Want to learn more about the accessibility of the world’s leading brands? Check out the full Digital Accessibility Index. Or, get a free scan of any URL on your website to see how you compare to the leading financial services sites.

Methodology

AudioEye conducted an automated scan of over 2 million pages across 40,000 websites from companies with over $100M in annual revenue, starting at the homepage and following every link until it scanned up to 100 pages per site. More than 3 billion site-specific elements were tested against 25 of the 78 WCAG 2.1 criteria. Following the scan, accessibility experts— including members of the disability community — manually audited the top sites in each industry, revealing which issues are most disruptive to users.

Ready to test your website for accessibility?

Scan your website now.

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