CI/CD Needs to be About Accessibility Also

  • Ryan Graham, CTO at Texthelp

  • 18.08.2021 10:45 am
  • #innovation #financialservices

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) is fast becoming the standard for technological innovation in financial services. Instead of updates rolled out periodically, banks are instead opting for smaller, more regular improvements to their services. It makes good business sense as well – with smaller updates less likely to cause glitches or errors that large scale integrations can risk creating.

Addressing accessibility in a similar way is also a logical approach. Financial services are complex, and for older users especially, there is a real challenge in how this information is presented and understood. With the rise of challenger brands breaking down the barriers of poor communication, incumbents will need to step up or risk losing this valued demographic. The financial sector already faces concern by users, who are wary of being mis-sold products or services they don’t fully understand. As a result, banks need to work harder to communicate with their customer base and CI/CD practices should form a fundamental part of this process. 

The demand is there 

Improving the online experience for older customers is not just a nice addition to operations – there is a genuine need in the market. During lockdown, the use of online banking with over 50s increased dramatically, with 85% using these services to manage their personal finances and a third transferring money through online banking. Even as lockdown has eased, 64% of users over 50 plan to use online banking.

Despite this positive trend, there are significant barriers for users when navigating through online banking. Over 31% of users had trouble knowing what to do or what to click on and 63% of users who experienced issues found the visual layout and design of sites overly complicated. With these barriers, it’s not just the source code and back-end tech that needs regular review – but the way banks communicate as well.

Going beyond technical accessibility

Making websites easy to use and understand should be addressed as part of any ongoing brand strategy. For many, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is the only resource for improving user experience. But this approach is more focused on technical accessibility. Financial institutions must also address the readability of communications. Using clear, understandable language may seem like an easy task, however, as the average reading age in the UK is nine years old, the content on most websites is simply too complicated.

It is for this reason that accessibility needs to be considered as part of the foundation of any tech strategy. Adhering to WCAG guidelines and addressing readability is easy to do if factored into the ongoing growth and development of a website. But if an organisation tries to retrofit these suggestions into an existing and potentially inaccessible website, the job can be much harder.

CI/CD for accessibility

Addressing the accessibility and readability of digital content as part of the CI/CD strategy will make sure that inclusion is considered from the early stages when it’s easier to make adjustments.Reviewing the website in line with WCAG requirements, as well as the average reading age will not only remove the jargon and complexity normally associated with financial services but also improve the way that the bank communicates with its customers. Particularly those with disabilities and older users.

Older customers are eager to take advantage of the improved services that online banking provides, but it needs to be easy to engage with and understand. Flashy technology that is regularly updated is a vital part of the process, but so is the need to communicate in an understandable and engaging way. 


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