WOBURN, Mass., Sept. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Texthelp, a global leader in literacy and accessibility technology, released the results of its digital accessibility audit of top U.S. banks. Using its ReachDeck® product, Texthelp scanned 30 of the top 50 U.S. national and community banks' websites (bank list based on revenue). The results were less than satisfactory. None of the banks scanned met full Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 compliance.
Texthelp scanned each of the 30 bank sites for readability and accessibility, scanning more than 13,500 pages in total. Beyond technical accessibility, readability was also an issue, with the use of complicated language, jargon, and unfamiliar words.
Key results of the scans are as follows:
The review found the average reading age of both national and community bank websites is 19 years old, or at college level. Five national banks and seven community banks have a reading age of 20 on their personal checking pages. The average reading age in the U.S. is between 12 and 14 years old. The average visitor to these banking websites will likely find it difficult to understand the information presented.
The scan revealed that every national and community banking website uses jargon words throughout. In total, over 88,900 jargon words were found among the top 15 national banks. One website alone used more than 28,000 jargon words. For community banks, jargon words are also a major issue. The scan identified more than 64,400 jargon words used throughout the 15 community bank websites. One community bank website used 16,000 jargon words. The words include amendment, components, erroneous, furnished, notwithstanding, transmitted, and pursuant, among others.
The use of long sentences -- those over 21 words -- was another common issue for the banks. In total, there are more than 95,000 long sentences used throughout the websites of the 15 national banks. And more than 52,000 used by the 15 community banks. One national bank's website uses more than 40,000 long sentences, and one community bank uses more than 16,000. Long sentences can be confusing and difficult to digest for many readers, especially those with language or comprehension barriers. Similar to the elimination of jargon words, banks should simplify their content. Sentences should be less than 24 words, and ideally between 15-20 words.
"Digital accessibility is just as important as physical accessibility," said Martin McKay, CEO of Texthelp. "Every financial institution in the U.S. should prioritize accessibility and inclusion throughout every aspect of their business, including online. Digital accessibility improves the entire user experience. Improving accessibility for some usually improves the experience for all. I encourage financial institutions to improve their accessibility and readability to ensure all people have access to critical financial services. The Texthelp team wants to help them make this positive change. Together, we can make the digital world an accessible place for all."
As a result of the scan, Texthelp is laying down a challenge to all U.S. banks. With their support, they're encouraging financial services to improve website accessibility and readability for all their visitors.
During the month of October, Texthelp is encouraging U.S. banks to review their websites for accessibility barriers. To help, they're giving:
ReachDeck, free of charge for one month. ReachDeck will enable them to scan their website and discover accessibility and readability barriers. Make use of this offer by October 31, 2021.
A free consultation. Connect with Texthelp for a free evaluation with the team. Banks can receive a quick accessibility and readability overview of their website. The deadline for this is October 31, 2021.*
ReachDeck scans websites automatically, highlighting issues to be addressed. The tool can help banks quickly identify areas of concern and put them on the path to full WCAG compliance.
At a time when more consumers are online than ever before, it is critical that all websites meet the WGAC 2.1 guidelines, especially those in financial services. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it's also the law. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires U.S. businesses to provide equal access to all information and services on their websites.
Texthelp also recently released a new industry report as a call to action for financial services companies to improve digital accessibility. Texthelp CEO, Martin McKay, along with accessibility expert Debra Ruh, CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, authored the paper. The report highlights key benefits of WCAG compliance and the importance of accessibility as a driver of equity and inclusion.
You can find the full results of the bank WCAG 2.1 audit here.
About Texthelp Founded in 1996, the Texthelp Group is a global technology company. On a daily basis, it helps people all over the world to understand and to be understood. For the last three decades, it has led the way in creating innovative education and workplace technology. Texthelp believes in a world where difference, disability or language are no longer barriers. It is focused on helping all people learn, understand and communicate through the use of digital literacy and accessibility software. With over 40 million users worldwide, the Texthelp suite of products includes Read&Write, EquatiO®, WriQ®, Fluency Tutor®, ReachDeck®, and SpeechStream®. These tools work alongside existing platforms such as Microsoft Office and G-suite. This allows for its products to be quickly integrated into any classroom or workplace with ease. Texthelp is backed by Five Arrows, the private equity arm of Rothschild Group. Visit www.texthelp.com for more information.