As the legal and financial concerns of not meeting the website compatibility guidelines will likely become more frequent, financial executives should start planning now to audit their digital presence.
Peru, IL (PRWEB) December 21, 2016
A new regulatory concern has come into play, with a clear and present risk of litigation taking shape behind it. The focus is Website accessibility – specifically, making websites and other digital platforms accessible to individuals with disabilities. Nearly 20 percent of Americans live with a disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, but when the law was enacted in 1990, the Internet as we know it today did not exist.
LKCS is now helping businesses ensure their websites are fully accessible for disabled Americans. LKCS provides support for banks and credit unions, identifying all potential Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) issues, making changes to ensure accessibility, monitoring sites for ongoing issues, and providing reports demonstrating the efforts made in following WCAG guidelines.
In recent month’s financial institutions have received aggressive demand letters alleging that their websites do not meet the ADA’s online accessibility standards. The letters threaten legal action against financial institutions that do not modify their websites to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). The WCAG 2.0 establishes the new standards for providing website accessibility for people with visual and hearing disabilities.
Currently, visitors with disabilities accessing the websites of financial institutions must use “assistive technology” to access the Internet. Improperly designed and coded websites create unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities. Addressing the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) & ADA guidelines in 2017 will help financial institutions prepare for federal expectations, to ensure that sites are as accessible as possible to the widest range of users.
The four principles involved are that websites must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. There are three levels of conformance with WCAG 2.0: A, AA, and AAA. Level 2.0/AA has emerged as the preferred set of guidelines.
Level AA makes sites accessible to people with a wider range of disabilities, including the most common barriers to use. This level of accessibility will not impact the look and feel of the site as much as Level AAA, although it does include guidance on color contrast and error identification. Businesses should be aiming for Level AA conformity, as it currently reflects the level of accessibility that the DOJ expects.
Examples of common website elements that need to be accessible include embedding alternative text in photos, making headlines clear and concise, ensuring ease of navigation, including captions and video transcripts with multimedia content, and ensuring text is easy to understand. The All content functions should be operable through a keyboard interface, such as using arrow or tab keys, and web sites built for compatibility with screen readers.
LKCS developers meticulously follow WCAG guidelines for implementing these technical standards. For instance, all photos are checked to make sure they contain detailed ALT tags, which are short text descriptions that explain what an image displays. Computer devices, such as screen readers, read this simple code and speak the ALT description for visually impaired users. For websites with extensive navigation menus, specific anchor links are used for WCAG that allow users to skip around until they find the information they need.
LKCS can also provide clients who would prefer to have their in-house development team make the changes, with access to a web-based portal that shows each area of concern. The web portal provides detailed information on which pages have an issue, including direct links to the WCAG guidelines, so that web content not meeting the guidelines can be efficiently corrected by providing developers with the specific web page code in question.
As the legal and financial concerns of not meeting the website compatibility guidelines will likely become more frequent, financial executives should start planning now to audit their digital presence, and consider what principles may become mandatory, and how they will achieve compliance within those principles. The WCAG 2.0 Standards can be reviewed at http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref.
To learn more about LKCS’ ADA Implementation Accessibility and ADA Compliance Guidelines, please visit https://www.lk-cs.com/web/ada-compliance.
Based in Peru, Illinois, LKCS is the leader in providing end-to-end marketing, graphic design, commercial printing, direct mail, web development, and statement processing services to financial institutions. Combined with over 50 years of financial marketing expertise, LKCS leverages the latest technologies and techniques to improve marketing results and return on investment for our clients. We do that. Additional information about LKCS can be found at http://www.lk-cs.com.