Everyone knows it. The Internet has forever changed the way we live. Today, we use websites to help us shop, bank and even date more easily. But what many people may not know is that the way we experience those sites with bright colors, flashy photos, helpful links and comparison charts and interactive videos is not the same for everyone.
It’s especially different for those with disabilities.
Individuals with visual, hearing, motor impairments and other disabilities have very unique needs when it comes to navigating websites. Many rely on assistive technologies, such as screen readers and adaptive devices. Unfortunately these devices are not able to pick up on some aspects of website design and content, such as photos and text treatments. For those who need to locate and use accurate information to make financial decisions or purchase products or services online, this puts them at a distinct disadvantage; the equivalent of an individual in a wheelchair attempting to access a store without handicap access.
New legislation to help those with disabilities.
As part of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Justice Department created a set of Web Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to ensure content be more accessible to those with disabilities. All websites must be in compliance with these standards by April in 2018 or run the risk of a lawsuit. These standards affect the readability of sites, including the positioning of text, photos, videos and more.
An avid commitment to making a better online experience for all.
Avidia Bank fully supports the need for change and has dedicated significant resources to improve the accessibility and readability of our website, Avidiabank.com. As part of our efforts, we recruited individuals with a range of disabilities to participate in focus groups to share their opinions about their online challenges and how banks can provide a more inclusive online experience. We also conducted one-on-one usability interviews that allowed us to observe how individuals navigate our website and gather their feedback. The results were quite informative and included:
- Making the search bar easier to access.
- Using bigger fonts.
- Having a site that requires less motion and navigating through pages.
- Using HTML format versus PDFs, which are not easily discerned on readers.
- Using white text on orange backgrounds versus other color options.
As a result of this invaluable input, we made some important changes that include:
- Using descriptive links, such as “Click here to view CD rates,” versus simply “Click here.”
- Positioning clear and large copy headings in the same order on each page.
- Refraining from using jpegs that contain imbedded text.
- Providing alternative text with images so that screen readers can describe an image to person with vision impairment.
- Ensuring all forms are labeled properly.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to work on improving our website and online communications to ensure we accomplish what we set out to do – to provide the best banking experience to all.