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How to Make Your Bank Website ADA Compliant

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If you manage a bank or credit union, you likely understand the importance of being compliant. After all, failing to be compliant in numerous areas can result in fines, bad press, and can make your business inefficient. Even large firms like Bank of America and Charles Schwab have been hit with fines/lawsuits for not having or following a bank ADA compliance checklist.

You should have a process in place for fixing ADA compliance issues. This guide will go into detail regarding ADA compliance tips and bank website compliance best practices.

What Is ADA Compliance?

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The American Disability Act or ADA was created to ensure that the disabled had equal access to all resources, including websites. It was intended to make day to day living easier for disabled persons.

ADA compliance mainly applies to private companies that have at least 15 employees, government agencies, and nonprofits. Even if you don’t fall into these categories, consider ensuring that your site follows ADA compliance help guidelines. If you follow these, then you’ll be able to serve more customers and strengthen your reputation.

ADA Compliance Help For Banks And Credit Unions

Per ADA’s Title III, banks and credit unions must give equal treatment to all customers, including those with disabilities. Section 508 of this legislation also covers both physical locations and digital tools. These digital tools can include websites, apps, and paperless transaction tools.

The Right Bank ADA Compliance Checklist Can Help Your Firm:

  1. Broaden its client base.
  2. Avoid penalties, fines, and tarnished reputations.
  3. Improve its SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to gain more search engine traffic.
  4. Reduce your client support representatives’ workload. If more clients can solve their problems online, then your support representatives can take fewer service calls.

3 Straightforward Tools To Audit Your Site for ADA Compliance

1.    WAVE

You can use WAVE to evaluate your site’s alt text, page text, colors and more. It also has Google Chrome and Firefox extensions. These extensions also help you test pages that are password protected. It has APIs that let you test multiple pages at once.

2.    Lighthouse

Lighthouse is another free resource that can help your business with fixing ADA compliance issues. Google offers this tool and it gives scores from 0-100 on various areas like Performance, SEO, and Accessibility.

The Accessibility tab is the most important one to use when conducting an ADA audit. You can learn exactly how you can improve your page’s score. For example, this page’s photos didn’t have alt text, which is crucial for ADA compliance and SEO.

A screenshot to show an example of the "accessibility" tab for a site's page.

3.    WordPress Plugins

If you use WordPress to run your site; there are several plugins like Accessibility Suite or WP Accessibility Helper that you can use in conjunction with your bank’s ADA compliance checklist.

Accessibility Suite is especially useful since it helps banks, credit unions, and other government agencies stay compliant with Section 508. You can use this plugin to create an automatic scan schedule for your entire site, drill down into each error, and archive past scans.

How To Fix The Top 3 Common ADA Compliance Mistakes

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It might seem overwhelming when first tailoring your bank or credit union’s resources for ADA compliance rules. However, knowing the following common ADA compliance issues will get you started on the right path.

Not Having Alt Text

Alt text can be words or pieces of HTML code that are used to describe images. These make it easier for those with disabilities to understand those graphics. Be sure to take a few extra minutes to ensure that each image on your site includes these.

Alt text is also good for SEO since search engines use it to understand photos. You can optimize this text with your target keywords, which can help your rankings as well.

If you use transcripts for videos or podcasts, consider including your keywords in these pieces of content. Yoast SEO is an SEO plugin that can show you which photos lack alt text and how to SEO optimize your written content.

Having Too Many Plugins

You might be confused seeing this as a reason for most ADA compliance issues. Many plugins like the ones mentioned in this guide can provide ADA compliance help and  improve SEO. Yet, having too many plugins can slow your site’s speed and you don’t fully control the source code for each one.

Most plugins aren’t ADA compliant and the best way to approach this is to have a “quality over quantity” mentality. Only use plugins that are ADA compliant and have the most impact on your business.

Having Confusing/Minimal Site Navigation

Be sure that your site has different sized headings (H1, H2, H3 tags) to make each page easier to read. H1 tags should be used for the main section of the page, while H2’s will go under each H1. Don’t have a H2 tag where there should be a H1 as this can confuse your readers.

Besides headings, ensure that your site has breadcrumbs that guide people to various pages. Breadcrumbs will be at the top of each page and can help readers trace the path back to the original page.

Sample Breadcrumbs From Walmart: Electronics -> TV & Videos -> All TVs

A screeenshot of Walmart's site to provide an example of what site breadcrumbs look like. This example show the breadcrumbs of Electronics > TV & Videos > All TVs.

 

Best Practices For Fixing ADA Compliance Issues

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Include Clear Calls To Action (CTAs)

The right CTAs like “subscribe today” or “buy now” are extremely important for your bank ADA compliance checklist. These CTAs should have different colored buttons and clear text which tell the reader exactly what will happen next. Your CTAs should be more than just a hyperlink on the page.

Defined CTAs will also improve your site’s conversion rates. One of the easiest bank website compliance best practices to implement is to have clear, easy to understand, benefit driven CTAs on each page.

Proper Color Enhancement

Some readers might be color blind or have a hard time distinguishing between certain colors. Having a good contrast between colors, especially when it comes to charts and bar graphs, will help your site stay ADA compliant and guide color impaired readers. You can use WebAIM’s free contrast tool to ensure optimal color enhancement.

Streamlined Forms

Most sites have forms like those on contact us pages. These forms make it easier for readers to submit their information to learn more about specific topics. Be sure to make your forms easy to understand by having clear directions like showing which sections are mandatory (name, email phone number, etc.)

Another way to ensure ease of use is to have validation and error messages. If a user doesn’t input a certain field, an error message will appear in the middle of the form showing him or her what’s missing.

 

Compliance’s Impact On SEO

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Where Accessibility and SEO Overlap

Many ADA compliance help tips also apply to SEO. A few that were mentioned earlier were alt text for images and breadcrumbs for site navigation. Both of these bank website compliance best practices will guide your viewers and search engines.

Multimedia Content

Using multimedia content (text, audio, and video) will help you with fixing ADA compliance issues. Visually impaired visitors can listen to your content while those that are deaf can read it.

This is also key for SEO since embedding videos can improve your rankings. Google owns Youtube and looks favorably on sites that have embedded relevant Youtube videos. Your video description can also appear as a snippet on the first page of Google.

Clear Page Structure

Clear page structures can guide your viewers to relevant content. These also accurately tie your pages together, making it easier for search engines to properly crawl and index them. Some other site structure tools to use are sitemaps and table of contents for longer posts.

Using clear page structures and concise copy can also help your rankings with voice search. Voice search is on the rise and Google gives preference to sites that have short sentences and paragraphs.

 

Monitoring ADA Compliance And Monitoring Tools

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Process

It’s a good rule of thumb to have an ADA audit every 6 months for your site. More dynamic sites could do this quarterly and online retailers should have audits each month due to the larger amounts of traffic.

The three main stages of this process are automatic, manual and functional. Automatic testing does a high level scan on the entire site to ensure that the main areas like structure are compliant.

Manual refers to a teammate needing to drill down and fix an error like several images missing alt text. Functional testing is carried out by testers that have disabilities, which can consist of only using the keyboard to navigate the site. These testers flag and document any difficulties that they find.

AudioEye

AudioEye is a paid software that goes above and beyond most ADA compliance help tools including WordPress plugins. While there are many website accessibility monitoring tools on the market, AudioEye will both monitor and fix ADA compliance issues. It uses AI to find and fix the most common ADA compliance errors. Their expert team also reviews your site to manually catch other errors that weren’t detected by the AI.

Besides this, AudioEye provides a usability toolbar, which lets each user customize the contrast, visual focus and other factors. This software starts at $39/month and offers enterprise solutions for larger firms (but if you’re interested in AudioEye make sure to speak with us first about how to get their best pricing).

Other ADA Compliance Software To Consider:

ADA Compliance Monitor

Adally

ADA Web Guard

Equal Web

Bottom Line

Now more than ever, it’s crucial that your bank or credit union must have sound ADA compliance rules. Fixing ADA compliance issues might seem trivial, but it can make a difference long term. Using ADA compliance help tips like the ones above can prevent fines, tarnished reputations, and other negative consequences.

It’s especially crucial to follow a bank ADA compliance checklist, since virtual banking is on the rise. More disabled people need virtual banking services, which also makes it even more important to follow bank website compliance best practices.

If you have a defined SEO strategy or are just looking to get started, BankBound exists to grow your community bank or credit union. Reach out to a Digital Marketing Strategist today for help with ADA compliance, SEO, and other credit union and bank marketing services.