Survey: Most Financial Services’ Digital Offerings Are Not Accessible to Persons with Disabilities
With Market Gaps, Brand Reputation and Legal Threats Looming, Companies Must Take a More Decisive Approach
HERNDON, VA – January 23, 2019 – Deque Systems, a leading software company specializing in digital accessibility, today announced the results of a survey showing that most financial services firms are not adequately ensuring that their websites, mobile sites and apps are accessible to people with disabilities.
The survey of financial services organizations, conducted by QA Vector® Research, suggests that these firms are not adequately prioritizing and implementing accessibility, which increases their legal risks while also hurting their ability to compete in a digital world.
“Across industries, digital accessibility is shifting from a choice to a business imperative, and this is especially true in the financial services industry, given the high level of connectivity consumers demand to their personal finances,” says Preety Kumar, CEO, Deque Systems. “A lack of accessibility in financial services can be particularly damaging and costly from multiple perspectives including competitive market share, brand goodwill and legal risk.”
The survey found the following:
- Only 35 percent of software leaders across various types of financial services firms (banks, insurers, asset managers and fintechs) say accessibility is among their top strategic concerns. Firms are either buying into the need for accessibility, or deprioritizing it.
- Only 25 percent are embedding accessibility testing into software development processes. Attention to accessibility is often event-driven (sales, litigation, employee), but many firms struggle with knowing where to begin.
- More than 70 percent of financial services firms indicate no clear ownership of digital accessibility within corporate governance. Broad familiarity with inclusivity is high, but accessibility is often orphaned or
- Fewer than 30 percent of financial services firms have reliable or meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs) for accessibility. Though mature firms are moving accessibility from an intermittent “diet” to a fuller “lifestyle” change with effective supporting tracking measures.
Failure to pay attention to accessibility can have several negative ramifications. First, there’s the sheer market size to consider –approximately one in five people in the United States, or 64 million, have some form of disability.
There is also potential brand damage to consider, with consumers’ decisions on with whom they choose to conduct business increasingly influenced by social justice causes. Inaccessible digital properties may translate to legal risks, with ADA data showing that accessibility-related lawsuits exploded by 181 percent from 2017 to 2018.
“Most financial services firms would never think to take away accommodations for persons with disabilities in their physical operations. But that’s exactly what they’re doing when their digital properties aren’t accessible; it’s the equivalent of hanging a sign outside your door saying ‘closed for business’ to millions of people,” continues Kumar. “Many firms erroneously believe achieving digital accessibility is too costly and time-consuming, when in fact, it is much less expensive and laborious to embed inclusivity at the outset of the development effort.”
“While compliance may be an underlying reason for starting an accessibility journey, that likely won’t internally motivate someone and may not lead to lasting change,” says Bryan Osterkamp, Technical Architect Principal at USAA. “You want to change the culture of the organization and how they think of accessibility. Giving examples of how a blind user is now able to use your mobile app – and not an inaccessible competitor’s app – is a good example.”
For a complete copy of the report visit: https://accessibility.deque.com/qa-research-finance
About This Survey
This survey was conducted by the QA Vector® Research arm of QA Financial, an independent information, resource and events company focused on helping financial services firms improve software quality. Analysts for QA Vector® spoke to 26 software leaders during August and September 2019 at banks, insurers, fintech firms and asset managers in the USA, UK, Netherlands, Singapore and India. Based on these conversations QA Financial identified key insights that will enable software leaders at financial firms to prioritize and pursue pragmatic software delivery process reinvention.
Deque (pronounced dee-cue) is a web accessibility software and services company, and our mission is Digital Equality. We believe everyone, regardless of their ability, should have equal access to the information, services, applications, and everything else on the web.
We work with enterprise-level businesses and organizations to ensure that their sites and mobile apps are accessible. Installed in over 250,000 browsers and with over 1,000 audit projects completed, Deque is the industry standard.