A leading financial institution asked us:
How can we make our website more accessible for people with hearing and mobility impairments?
285 million people worldwide have some form of visual degradation ranging from low vision to blindness. And as you hone in on the elderly population, the percentage only grows. 65% of people who are visually impaired and 82% of all blind are 50 years and older. The same is true for mobility impairments. 7% of Americans have an ambulatory disability, including 22.5% of adults over 65. To ensure we’re not neglecting this significant segment of the population, especially one that has tremendous buying power, services need to be accessible for these groups.
A client asked us how they can make their online financial management experience more accessible for people with visual and mobile impairments. They wanted to understand what assistive tools and technology options were available with the ultimate goal of improving their online experience for this segment of their users.
AnswerLab identified a mix of participants with visual or mobile impairments to varying degrees. We conducted a remote diary study to capture their typical daily interactions with digital financial tasks.
Participants documented their experiences, both good and bad, following our prompts and questions to explore various parts of the digital experience. This self-reporting helped us capture insights about their daily struggles with accessibility.
After getting an understanding of participants’ needs, we conducted follow-up in-home interviews. This included building in frequent breaks and letting participants show how they use any assistive tools in-depth. This in-person observation was critical for understanding the context of how customers use these online financial tools and their comfort with certain processes and sites. For more information on making research sessions accessible, read our article on building inclusivity into your research operations practice.
The client’s website and app met the basic needs of those who use assistive tools better than many financial institutions, but there were still opportunities to improve.
Being able to manage their finances online was especially important to all participants due to the comparative ease of completing tasks from their homes rather than having to leave the house. Our research helped us understand how they used these tools, and their needs and preferences to improve the experience moving forward.
AnswerLab developed a framework of recommendations for accessible website & app design best practices, outlining common pain points we discovered and potential solutions.
Our recommendations included how to improve the process for depositing checks, ways to solve difficulties filling forms, creating better processes to review and sign off on documents, and how to better inform users about errors. However, participants stressed that creating an accessible website and app is only one part of creating an accessible experience overall. In-person visits are sometimes required for more complex transactions, therefore, the entire experience from ATMs to individual branches must be accessible as well. To create an experience that is truly accessible for users, you have to consider their needs at every step of the process throughout your customer experience.