ADA litigation targeting banking websites is a real concern for the banking industry, including small banks and community credit unions.
Did you know that if your bank or credit union website violates title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Department of Justice may obtain civil penalties of up to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for any subsequent violation? Don't be caught unprepared! Make sure your banking website meets reasonable levels of accessibility compliance. Not only will you reduce your risk and avoid costly litigation—but more importantly, there are many benefits for your customers with a range of disabilities. What can you do?
How can you know if your website passes the test? First, you can read more about the standards and guidelines here in our guide: ADA Compliance Guide for Banks and Credit Union Websites.
Next, you can follow these steps based on our own ADA compliance testing and monitoring process that we conduct for our clients.
Step 1: Test your website for accessibility.
ADA Compliance Testing for websites is not a complicated process, but it is a time-consuming one. If you have the time and resources to dedicate to routine testing and monitoring, then you can probably do it internally. If you don't have the time and resources, then you should contact us to see if ADA Compliance Services are right for you.
There are a few good, free tools out there to test your website. In our process we use more than one tool to cross reference and double check. Why? The guidelines are open to interpretation, the landscape of ADA compliance is always changing, and technology is changing. With this in mind, we find it best to use all the tools available so that you can demonstrate every reasonable effort to maintain compliance on your website.
Step 2: Dig through your report and do research as necessary.
Your testing tool should give you a comprehensive report of all violations and warnings that they found on your website. Here is a sample report from a recent test:
We look through the report and dive into the errors. Sometimes the errors are straightforward. For other errors, we have to do extra research to understand the specifics of a guideline or violation. The research is very important so that you not only correct the error, but also understand the guideline and why it is in place.
Step 3: Fix issues.
Go through each error and warning in the report and fix all issues. This usually involves tweaking behind the scenes HTML to include tags for screen readers. Other errors are more difficult to fix and may require help from a developer.
Here's an example from the report above, when we click into the link called Headings.
So what looked like 2 violations for Headings, is actally 2 categories of violations, with 87 pages effected by one of those. You can see how the fixing these issues can be a large undertaking. Over time, if your team is aware of these issues, or hires the right agency to develop and maintain an ADA compliant website for your bank or credit union, then compliance is more manageable.
Step 4. Rescan your website.
Once you've fixed all issues, rescan your website with at least two different tools to see if the infractions are resolved. Here are two of the tools we rely on:
WAVE web accessibility evaluation tool: https://wave.webaim.org/
Functional Accessibility Evaluator 2.0: https://fae.disability.illinois.edu/
Step 5. Rinse & repeat.
Repeat this process on at least a quarterly basis.
On a final note, whoever maintains your website, whether that's your marketing department or IT team, should be familiar with these guidelines. Do they know how to make sure daily website tasks (like adding new pages, posts and images) follow ADA compliance guidelines? This will ensure that updates to your site won't be adding infractions, which can have a snowball effect over time.
Don't be caught unprepared! Make sure your banking website meets reasonable levels of accessibility compliance. Not only will you reduce your risk and avoid costly litigation—but more importantly, there are many benefits for your customers with a range of disabilities.
Capital Point Marketing helps you meet ADA compliance standards for your bank or credit union website.
In our work with financial institution websites, we know your needs and concerns surrounding ADA compliance. Our services include ADA monitoring and fixing, building a fresh website that is based in accessibility best practices, and speaking at your organization about the topic of ADA compliance.
Not ready yet? Learn more at the link below.