Exploring Section 508 Guidelines in FinTech
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In the past few years, technology has brought profound transformation to the financial industry. The way individuals access and manage their finances has changed entirely. Even businesses operating within the financial ecosystem are leveraging technology.
The adoption of digital payment has accelerated, mobile banking app downloads are increasing, the emergence of blockchain technology has become popular across the finance industry, and even AI-driven investment strategies are gaining popularity. To put it simply, the term “FinTech” has become a buzzword.
With over 1.3 billion adults gaining access to financial services between 2011 and 2020, it can be said that technology has played a crucial role in increasing financial inclusion. Despite this monumental shift, it’s evident that the comprehensive integration of Section 508 compliance guidelines remains insufficient within the realm of FinTech applications.
Technology can be a minefield for the 20% disabled population which needs assistive technology. Hence, FinTech companies must ensure that their innovations align with the principles of inclusivity. It can be done by exploring the scope of Section 508 in FinTech applications. Let’s discuss the importance of accessibility in the FinTech landscape and find out the correct strategy for section 508 compliance testing.
Imagine someone with a visual impairment trying to use a banking app. Without accessibility, they might struggle to read the screen, make transfers, or manage their accounts. This is why accessibility holds a key role in the fin-tech landscape.
FinTech apps are changing how we manage our money. Nevertheless, Accessibility ensures that FinTech apps can be used by everyone, regardless of their abilities. Here are some examples showing the importance of adhering to Section 508 accessibility guidelines.
Legal and Ethical Responsibility:
Section 508 compliance is a legal requirement for federal agencies and institutions receiving federal funding. Failedcompliance could result in actions that go beyond financial implications. Legal actions taken due to non-compliance can tarnish a company’s reputation and may also affect its financial stability.
Thinking of accessibility right from the start of developing the FinTech application is beneficial. Consider simple language, clear labels, and compatibility with screen readers. This way you can develop a top-rated app without any hitches.
Smart Business Move:
The more people who can use your app, the more customers you gain. An app that’s easy for everyone means more success for your business. Companies can attract a larger customer base, including people with disabilities.
Section 508 compliance also safeguards FinTech apps against becoming outdated or obsolete. When an app is not developed by keeping the accessibility concept in consideration, it may become incompatible with emerging assistive technologies.
The Rehabilitation Act’s Section 508 requires that electronic and information technology is usable by people with disabilities. So, your financial services need to be available to everyone, including those with disabilities. Here are the crucial applications Section 508 guidelines for FinTech products:
Here is a strategic approach to address the accessibility challenges effectively for FinTech applications:
Understand Section 508 Requirements:
When displaying a graphical chart depicting financial data in an application, it’s vital to provide alternative text that succinctly describes the chart’s content and purpose. This allows easy comprehension of the available information. Similarly, if the app features clear navigation, logical structure and accurate captions then it enhances usability.
If you familiarize yourself with the specific accessibility requirements outlined in Section 508, the app gets on the right path to encompass accessibility obligations.
To understand Section 508 requirements, the key frameworks and principles are provided in WCAG 2.0 or 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), ADA guidelines (related to digital accessibility), Section 508 VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) and more. It is best to consult accessibility experts to gain in-depth insights about accessibility frameworks.
Train Development Teams:
Educate your development teams about accessibility best practices. Incorporate accessibility considerations into the development process from the beginning to prevent issues from arising later.
Involve Accessibility Experts:
A robust approach to Section 508 compliance in fin-tech applications involves collaboration with seasoned accessibility experts. It is an investment in inclusivity. These professionals possess specialized knowledge, hence hiring them can profoundly impact the accessibility journey.
Their invaluable insights span into devising effective remediation strategies tailored to your fin-tech applications. These strategies include suggestions for best practices and technologies that bridge accessibility gaps and enhance the user experience for everyone.
Conduct Accessibility Audits:
A recent report revealed that 71% of individuals with disabilities leave a website immediately if it’s not accessible, underscoring the economic ramifications of inaccessibility. Similarly, disabled users may face barriers in managing investments through dynamic data visualizations. Therefore, performing thorough accessibility audits of your FinTech platforms, applications, and websites is essential.
A rigorous evaluation of your offerings, not only fortifies your commitment but also helps in discovering potential accessibility hurdles. These audits integrate both automated tools and manual testing methodologies.
Although an automated 508 compliance checker features cutting-edge algorithms to expedite the identification of common issues, manual testing is equally essential. Human intervention to adhere to the accessibility requirements is potentially beneficial because audit specialists delve deep into user experience and efficiently identify areas for improvement.
Later comes the remediation phase, when audit experts collaborate with developers to implement fixes, aligning the application with accessibility benchmarks. The collective goal is to create an empowering environment where financial tools are seamlessly navigable, irrespective of users’ capabilities.
Regularly Update and Maintain:
Accessibility is an ongoing commitment. Due to ever evolving technology standards, you must regularly review and update your fin-tech platforms to ensure accessibility.
Regular reviews and updates ensure that your FinTech platforms align with the latest accessibility guidelines, such as the frequent updates to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Ignoring this aspect risks alienating a significant user base.
Integrating accessibility into the core of fin-tech applications extends equal access to all users, regardless of their abilities. However, the journey doesn’t end with integration; it continues with rigorous and regular testing. With thorough accessibility testing, encompassing automated tools and manual assessments, you ensure compliance with standards like Section 508.
To embark on this transformative journey, partner with Accessibility Experts at ADACP. Our proficiency in Section 508 testing will fortify your commitment to an accessible and equitable fin-tech landscape. Contact us today for detailed evaluation of Section 508 compliant websites and applications.