A new study of 25 major European bank websites shows that, despite increasing public scrutiny and growing demand for accessible online services, these banks continue to flout the universal Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) and are failing to serve the estimated 20% of the population that has a disability that makes navigating the internet difficult.
The study, conducted by DigitalFWD partner Siteimprove, analysed over 26,000 consumer banking web pages across 25 English language websites and sub-sites.
Each website on average had no less than 39 accessibility issues, while the worst performing bank had 51 accessibility issues.
Issues included weak colour contrast, cluttered navigation schemes, poor link text and images without alternative text, meaning blind visitors who rely on these to get a spoken description of the image are unable to do so.
A number of vital images that also act as links had no text alternative, making it near impossible for those with vision impairments to navigate the site. For many disabled users this is like asking a sighted person to find their way around a city relying only on blank signposts.
The study also assessed the quality of the websites in terms of misspellings, broken links, and search engine optimisation.