How to ensure accessibility in Fin-Tech? Discussing Section 508 compliance

  • 25.09.2023

Contact Us About 508 Accessibility Compliance

    The far-reaching economic consequences of the ‘Great Recession’ of 2008 eroded trust in conventional financial institutions and banks. People started looking for alternative and transparent services. This is the reason, the early 2000s witnessed significant advancements in FinTech startups.

    With the digitization of financial services, it was expected that the market would be filled with innovative solutions. Sophisticated algorithms were advocating better risk assessment and fraud detection. However, it has become increasingly apparent that not everyone has benefited equally. FinTech agencies are struggling with lower retention rates. There are significant issues with user-friendliness and intuitive features.

    FinTech has all prospects of success, but it is a high-risk industry with lots of government regulations. Therefore, confirming 508 compliance requirements can be helpful for the 20% of users that relyon assistive technology.

    Though Section 508 directly applies to government entities, it sets a precedent for accessibility standards to theFinTech industry. Let’s discuss Section 508 website compliance standards and find out how to make financial experiences more accessible.

    Why do we need FinTech accessibility?

    Developing 508 compliant FinTech products is essential because it ensures that everyone, including individuals with disabilities, can access and use financial services and technology.

    • Accessibility expands your customer base
    • Businesses can avoid legal troubles and regulatory penalties
    • It boosts a company’s image
    • It cultivates customer loyalty
    • It offers a competitive advantage
    • It leads to improved experiences for all users
    • It indicates your social responsibility and ethical business conduct

    Financial accessibility benefits individuals by providing equal opportunities and benefits companies by expanding their reach, enhancing their reputation, and fostering innovation. It’s a win-win approach that promotes financial inclusivity and strengthens the broader financial ecosystem.

    Ensuring compliance in Fin-Tech

    There are various dimensions to financial accessibility. It includes considerations for users with physical and cognitive disabilities. Having a website with 508 compliance  can address the issues of financial ineligibility. It may also accommodate restrictions for a large segment of the population. Here is how you can ensure accessibility in the FinTech industry.

    Conduct Comprehensive Section 508 and ADAAccessibility Audits

    Large scale FinTech players like Wells Fargo regularly conduct accessibility testing with individuals who use screen readers to ensure their online services are inclusive. Besides, PayPal also engages with accessibility experts to refine their user experience.

    To ensure barrier free access, start by conducting thorough accessibility audits of your FinTech platforms, websites, and applications. Engage with individuals with disabilities to understand their needs and challenges.

    Keyboard Accessibility

    PayPal offers keyboard shortcuts for seamless navigation on its website. They accommodate such features to make it easier for users with mobility impairments.

    Ensure that all functions and features can be accessed and navigated using a keyboard alone. Avoid relying on mouse-specific actions.

    Use Semantic HTML and ARIA

    Utilize semantic HTML elements and ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) roles and attributes to provide meaningful structure and context to web content. For instance, Stripe uses ARIA roles to improve screen reader compatibility and enhance user understanding of their payment forms.

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      Description alt text for visually impaired users

      Robinhood app is helping millions to shape their financial future. To include a significant portion of visually impaired users they provide concise alt text for icons and graphics. This ensures a seamless user experience when using screen readers.

      Include descriptive alternative text for images and icons so that screen reader users can understand their meaning and relevance.

      Implement Voice Commands and Voice Output

      Integrate voice command capabilities to allow users to navigate and interact with your FinTech products using voice recognition technology. Capital One’s mobile app is a practical example of ensuring barrier free access to users with cognitive disability. They offer easy to use voice-enabled features for balance inquiries and transaction history.

      Ensure High Contrast and Scalable Text

      In order to design a 508 compliant website, you need to adhere to the accessibility guidelines of WCAG. It is like a roadmap to accessibility that suggests all interfaces should be designed with high-contrast colors and scalable text. Such accommodations enable users to adjust according to their preferences. For instance, Venmo’s app allows users to adjust text size and contrast settings for readability.

      Accessibility Features in Mobile Apps

      You might have used the Bank of America’s mobile app which has voice-assisted transactions for visually impaired users. Extending accessibility features to your mobile applications makes way for Section 508 compliance. It includes support for screen readers, voice commands, and gesture-based navigation.

      Achieving accessibility in FinTech creates inclusive financial technology solutions. It can empower all users to manage their finances with ease and independence. All you need is to educate your team about the compliance requirements and invest in regular audits to find areas for improvement.

      What is 508 compliance testing?

      Compliance testing is done to ensure barrier free access to all your digital content, websites, applications, and technology systems. During this audit, all your digital assets can be evaluated for adherence to specific accessibility standards and guidelines, most notably the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

      During testing, experts use a variety of tools and techniques to assess elements like website navigation, keyboard accessibility, screen reader compatibility, alt text for images, text-to-speech functionality, and more.

      • Websites can be evaluated for their easy operability by thoroughly auditing the screen reader compatibility.
      • Moreover, there are auditing techniques available for testing the touch gestures and voice commands of mobile apps.
      • Similarly, audit experts can check the menus and interfaces in software applications for hassle-free keyboard inputs.
      • Along with these, audit specialists ensure Section 508 by evaluating the online forms, shopping carts and transaction processes.

      While automated tools have their place in accessibility testing, manual audits are indispensable for providing a holistic, user-centric evaluation.Human auditors can adapt their testing methods to different scenarios and types of content. Hence manual audits are versatile and more accurate in evaluating various digital assets, from websites and applications to documents and multimedia.

      What is your approach to ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal access to financial services and technology?

      The hybrid approach of automated testing with manual audits is the key to building an inclusive feature.

      So take action and choose ADACP!

      We are accessibility experts with decade-long expertise in confirming Section 508 compliance for the FinTech industry. Connect with us to discuss the accessibility requirements for your FinTech products.