According to law firm Seyfarth Shaw, website accessibility litigation may be plateauing. The final tally for 2019 shows a total of 2,256 web accessibility lawsuits, a .09% decrease from 2018. During the first quarter of 2020, a mere 528 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaints were filed, down more than 16.6% from the same time last year.
Despite the slowing trend for ADA litigation, unscrupulous lawyers are still targeting banks and credit unions for non-compliant websites. If you receive a demand letter, or you want to be proactive so you don’t receive one, the easiest way to achieve ADA compliance is to review your bank website for accessibility issues and begin remediation.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) offers a comprehensive checklist to guarantee your bank website is accessible. In this article, we simplify those recommendations by organizing them into high-, medium-, and low-priority fixes.
- High Priority: Your Website Is Impossible to Use.
- Medium Priority: Your Website Is Difficult to Use.
- Low Priority: Your Website Is Frustrating to Use.
- Final Words
The problems you need to address first are the ones that prevent a disabled customer from performing simple functions on your website, such as comprehending the information on the page or navigating from page to page. You’ll want to focus on the features and pages customers use the most, such as your home, contact, and online banking pages.
You can start with rewriting hyperlink text to be meaningful and descriptive so that the user can comprehend the link’s purpose. Create accessible online forms by labeling fields and ensuring users can navigate the form using the keyboard. Provide alt text or text alternatives for images and videos and audio options for important visuals.
After repairing the functionality of your bank website for accessibility, the next step is improving the usability of the site. While high-priority problems make your website impossible to use by disabled customers, medium-priority issues cause your website to be challenging to use, which can be improved by better design.
You’ll want to check that the color of images and text against the background is high contrast for readability. Also, instead of using color to emphasize important text, use bold or italics. However, avoid underlining text, which can be confused with hyperlinks.
Rather than manually changing the size and style, use header elements to display text hierarchy. You can easily and quickly do this with cascading stylesheets. If you have large blocks of text, break them down into smaller paragraphs, or use visual elements so the content is easier to read. Finally, avoid using tables for layout purposes. You should only utilize tables to present information.
The last ADA-compliant repairs involve those that encumber your users’ experience. This is also the time to look at lesser-used pages and implement any high- or medium-priority repairs you may have delayed making.
Low-priority accessibility issues include applying a logical tab order of the content and keyboard shortcuts to links. When you use abbreviations or acronyms, you’ll want to define them where the first occurrence of them. Furthermore, you can offer users a visual or auditory alternative to text to enhance their comprehension of information. Lastly, review your bank website for style consistency from page to page.
ADA compliance is critical for bank and credit union websites. Not only does web accessibility protect you from litigation, but it also satisfies the needs of all your users — not just those with disabilities. If you’ve received a demand letter or to avoid receiving one, BankSITE® Services suggests testing your site for accessibility. With our ADA Accessibility Module, we can help you fix any issues you might find and certify your site to be ADA-compliant.