A paper by Martin McKay, CEO & Founder of Texthelp, and Debra Ruh, Global Disability Inclusion Strategist. 

Together they explore accessibility in financial services. Hear their thoughts and discover results from Texthelp’s research into the website accessibility of financial services in the US.

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In the US, 1 in 4 adults have a disability. When financial websites and applications fail to meet the needs of these users, it’s a problem. After all, everyone deserves to have equal choice in how they manage their finances. Financial services should be able to be accessed and used independently online by people with disabilities.

“For me accessibility is about making the user experience easy for as many people as possible. That includes making sure content is easy to read and understand. Take cognitive accessibility for example. Your website could be considered technically accessible. But if you've used difficult words and long sentences, that impacts on people who struggle with reading and cognitive load.  In finance, most of the information we get is text, and some of that is legally binding. Financial service providers need to make sure everyone can understand their content.” - Martin McKay

Discover what digital accessibility in finance means. Find out how financial services are doing in today’s digital-first economy.

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In this report:

  • Gain insights from Martin and Debra into what digital accessibility is and why it matters for financial services 
  • Discover results from our research into the accessibility of 30 of the top National and Community bank websites in America
  • Uncover 6 key ways to making sure your digital services can be accessed and used independently by people with disabilities

This paper was written by Martin McKay and Debra Ruh, with research conducted by Texthelp.

About the authors

Martin Mckay, CEO & Founder, Texthelp

Martin founded Texthelp in 1996 to help people with communication difficulties. What started as a company focused on people with profound Speech and Dexterity Disabilities has become a world leading Assistive Technology company. His goal is to make sure that by 2030 Texthelp will have advanced the literacy and understanding of one billion people. In 2017, Martin received the Presidential Award in recognition of lifetime contribution to dyslexia and literacy from the International Dyslexia Association. Today, Martin serves in an advisory capacity on the Universal Design for Learning council. 

Debra Ruh, CEO, Ruh Global IMPACT and Chairman, Billion Strong 

Debra Ruh is a Global Disability Inclusion Strategist, internationally recognized keynote speaker, published author, and branding expert. Debra travels the world inspiring and advocating for governments and corporations to include people with disabilities. She is an active public figure, and consults with Multi-National and National Corporations and the United Nations. Debra is proud to serve on the board of directors and board officer for World Institute on Disabilities (WID) – 2018 to Present.  Board of Advisors for AI in Women and Ethics.  

Research insights

Texthelp reviewed the website accessibility of 30 of the top National and Community banks across the US. Their websites were scanned for WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) compliance errors. The scan also analyzed the average reading age of web content, and use of jargon words and long sentences. The ReachDeck Auditor was used to carry out the scans.

A quick overview of findings

National banks

Results of our scan found that on average, each national bank had:

  • 12 WCAG AA errors per page
  • A reading age of 19 across all website content
  • Over 11 jargon words per page
  • 12 long sentences per page

Community banks

Results of our scan found that on average, each community bank had:

  • 13 WCAG AA errors per page
  • A reading age of 19 across all website content
  • Over 11 jargon words per page
  • 9 long sentences per page

Arguably, the results show there’s room for improvement. As best practice, organizations should aim to comply with the WCAG Level AA at minimum. Considering that 54% of US adults are reading below 6th grade level, content with a reading age of 19 means excluding a large number of Americans. 

As we look to the future of inclusive digital banking, let’s work together to improve.

“Accessibility can be compared to privacy and security. Privacy and security is not a nice-to-have. Accessibility is not a nice-to-have. It has to be blended into every single process you have, and become part of your DNA. To do that, you must understand how it affects every aspect of your business. When accessibility is done right, everyone will benefit too. Not just people with disabilities and people aging into disability, but all your customers.” - Debrah Ruh

In this report explore the impact of inaccessibility for financial services. Discover how both accessibility and readability play a role in inclusive digital banking. Uncover 6 key ways your organization can improve.