Training Your Financial Services IT Team for an Accessibility-Friendly Digital Transformation

Training Your Financial Services IT Team for an Accessibility-Friendly Digital Transformation
Photo credit: Blitlab

It’s surprisingly easy to forget that not everyone perceives the world in the same way. I remember buying a space-themed board game as a gift for a colorblind friend once, only to find out later that she struggled to play it because several brown and green planets on the board looked the same to her.

This was an easy enough problem to fix: I replaced her gift with an updated version of the game, which added symbols to the board to help differentiate the planets. But this small sort of mistake—this lack of understanding or planning for others’ abilities—can become a huge problem for companies, particularly in the finance sector. A fundamental lack of knowledge in the area has led more than one IT team to accidentally neglect customers with disabilities by failing to design with full digital accessibility in mind. Often, these companies aren’t aware of the problem until customer complaints and expensive lawsuits force the issue into the limelight.

Digital transformation and customer experience are becoming increasingly vital to business success, particularly in the finance industry. The Harvard Business Review (opens in new window)reports that finance is a top five field for digital investments. When optimizing your customers’ online experience, digital accessibility needs to be front and center. This means putting your team in your customers’ shoes to imagine how different types of customers will interact with the sites and tools your team develops.

Designing an Effective Customer Experience

Every company needs to develop an engaging customer experience that aligns with their business goals. By understanding your customers and how they interact with your business, you can develop intuitive, engaging experiences that align with business priorities and keep customers coming back for more. Accessibility is key to both welcoming new customers into the fold and fostering long-term loyalty. The more accessible your company’s digital presence is, the more inclusive and positive your customers’ overall user experience becomes. This means developing desktop and mobile applications, portals, websites, forms, and digital content that are accessible to users of all abilities.

A Challenging Environment

Do you know what it is like to experience your business from your customer’s point of view? Does your organization serve a number of community members with hearing or visual impairments? Accessibility typically falls outside the scope of your team’s day-to-day projects and responsibilities. Competing interests, changing business priorities, and a shortage of the right skills makes it difficult to add yet another requirement to your already overloaded IT department. Financial services companies usually have multiple online touchpoints with their customers, with new business requirements coming in every day. Even if you understand what accessibility is, it can be difficult to figure out where to start on the road to compliance.

The Right Partner for the Job

Accessibility and experience design will continue to play a large role in the design and deployment of products and services in the years ahead. State, local and federal laws are likely to become more specific on accessibility requirements over time. The right consulting partner can help you think strategically about your long-term plans by showing you how to get started.

Start with an accessibility assessment to understand the level of compliance of your digital offering. Understanding accessibility best practices helps your team lay a foundation for tomorrow’s compliance requirements today. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you reach more potential customers and bring in more revenue by making your website accessible and at the same time, providing a more elegant and engaging customer experience for all of your customers.

Kevin Moos, January 2017