The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) began as an initiative to create accessibility in physical spaces for individuals who have a limiting disability. We’ve seen public places transform with additions of ramps, the use of braille, even structuring kiosks to be usable at a lower height for those in wheelchairs. These basic requirements have evolved through the years and more recently have grown to include the areas where most of Americans spend the majority of their time, on computer and mobile screens.
The push for website accessibility gained a lot of momentum between 2006 and 2017 with a number of cases bringing to light the Department of Justice’s stance that a website is considered a “public place of accommodation.” The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were created as a list of standards and criteria that all websites should meet. These standards cover everything from the color contrast on a website, to how specific an error message should be for a user. A number of companies have popped up that will automatically scan the code of your website and output any accessibility errors. What these companies lack are live users that actually experience your site and the ease of use, or lack thereof it provides. It’s crucial to evaluate your online banking website and platform to ensure that your provider is meeting these standards and has a good grasp on accessibility design.
At a quickly growing rate consumers are ditching their desktops and laptops and opting for smaller portable screens, through tablets and phones. The average American spends close to 3 hours on their phone a day and the average user, between the ages of 18 and 24, spends more than 4 hours of the day looking at their phone. Industries have picked up on these habits and are beginning to invest in it. You can do just about anything from a mobile device, with new features and apps added daily.
So where does accessibility come into play for mobile devices? Right now there doesn’t seem to be any set standards, but from what we’ve seen with websites, mobile guidelines can’t be far behind. Individuals with disabilities are opting for the use of mobile devices as a cost savings. In the past they needed to purchase separate pieces of equipment to accomplish different things such as a screen reader or a money identifier, these purchases can run upwards of $2500. Now a disabled user has the option of purchasing a phone with built in settings and apps that can cover all of their needs. Let’s take a look at one of the newer features to Apple’s iOS. In the settings there is now a dedicated section to accessibility. Users have a host of options controlled by tapping, swiping, and other gestures. They can bold text or make it larger, have text read aloud, even set the lock button to turn on voice control. However, do these built in accessibility features impact your mobile banking app?
In short, only if your provider codes it correctly. A disabled user will interact with your bank in two main ways from their device, through your website and through your mobile banking app. As long as your website is accessible from a computer, it should be accessible from a mobile browser. However, your app is completely separate from your website. Has your provider done their due diligence to give all of your customers the same ease of access to their accounts, if not do they have a plan in place to give them the accessibility they need? You can easily find out by taking a look at your app. The simplest accessibility feature on the iPhone is the ability to make the text larger. If your app isn’t coded correctly, changing the setting on your phone will have no impact on your or your customer’s experience.
Take a day to play around with the accessibility settings and your banking app. If you find that not much, if anything, is changing in the experience bring it up immediately to your provider. Stay ahead of the accessibility curve instead of playing catch-up. Not only will you be able to reach your entire customer base, and make meaningful contact with each user, you’ll also be taking the necessary steps to make sure you are not caught off guard when mobile accessibility standards are officially recognized.
About Automated Systems, Inc.
Since 1981, Automated Systems, Inc. has been a leader in providing innovative core banking, digital banking, and data processing solutions to community banks nationwide. An array of integrated applications provide partnered banks with tailored, cost-effective, competitive choices. ASI delivers industry-leading technology backed by unparalleled in-house conversion, training and support teams; paving the way for progressive, top-notch customer service. ASI corporate headquarters are located at 1201 Libra Drive, Lincoln, NE 68512, 1.800.279.7312. For more information about banking solutions from ASI, visit www.asiweb.com .
About Insite Data Services
IDS data application hosting services combines secure and cost-effective core banking applications, enterprise-class servers and storage, and proven virtualization technology. IDS hosts all of the bank’s servers in secure data centers that use state of the art security systems including identity verification and biometric scanning. Insite Data Services also offers IDS On-Time, a full-service solution dedicated to back-office bank processing. These operations experts allow partnered banks to focus on their most important asset, their customers. For more information visit www.insitedataservices.com.