As technology continues to evolve, it’s more important than ever for credit unions to ensure that their digital properties, such as website and mobile apps, are accessible to all members, including those with disabilities. Beyond legal compliance such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a focus on digital accessibility can also enhance your credit union’s reputation and improve your bottom line. As you map out your credit union’s digital transformation journey and explore growth strategies, it’s worth considering the transformative impact of digital accessibility on your service offerings.
What is digital accessibility?
Digital accessibility refers to the practice of designing technology, software and digital content in a way that can be accessed and used by people with disabilities. This could include designing websites, apps, and other digital tools that are compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers, text-to-speech software, and alternative input devices. Digital accessibility aims to remove barriers to access for people with disabilities and promote inclusivity and equal access to digital resources and services. It is an essential component of creating an inclusive digital environment that benefits everyone.
Why is it important?
Accessibility is particularly important in banking software because credit union services are essential for members to manage their finances, access credit and make transactions. Without appropriate access to these services, individuals with disabilities may face significant barriers in managing their finances and participating in the economy. When you make technology accessible to everyone, you are able to expand your member base and increase your revenue. Not only will your business improve, but you’ll also demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and diversity. In showing your members you’re trying to create an inclusive experience, you built trust, which will lead to increased loyalty and help attract a more diverse member base. Additionally, accessible technology can improve productivity not only for users with disabilities, but for all users by providing a more efficient and intuitive interface. Not only is it the right thing to do from an ethical standpoint, it’s also a smart business decision.
Here are some key areas and strategies to consider:
- Website Accessibility: Ensure that your website follows Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Create a clean setup without flashing messages reduces discomfort, disorientation, focus difficulty, or even triggered neurological conditions sometimes caused by blinking content. Design a simple interface without “busy” appearance reduces visual clutter for users with sensory processing issues and provides better experience for users with visual impairments who may have difficulty distinguishing between different types of content.
- Mobile App Accessibility: Design your mobile app with features such as screen reader compatibility, adjustable font sizes, and alternative text for images. Be sure to label all your fields efficiently to provide a clean voiceover experience. Ensure compatibility with assistive technologies such as screen readers, speech recognition software, and alternative input devices.
- Accessible Documents: Provide documents in accessible formats such as tagged PDFs or HTML. Provide easy-to-fill-out forms to help reduce challenges posed by complex forms for those with visual or cognitive disabilities.
- Multimedia Accessibility: Be sure to add captions and alternative text to images found on your website and mobile app. Upload transcripts and audio descriptions for videos and audio content so that users with visual impairments can still interact with your content.
- Training and Testing: Train your member service representatives to be knowledgeable about accessibility and enable them to offer support through accessible channels. Incorporate accessibility best practices and guidelines into your staff training. Conduct usability testing with individuals with disabilities to identify and correct any barriers.
By adopting digital accessibility strategies, credit unions can significantly expand their business while showcasing their dedication to inclusivity and equal access to services. Embracing these standards can help your credit union reach a broader audience, enhance your reputation, and foster a more inclusive environment for all members.