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Accessibility.Blog

Industry Highlight: Bank of America’s Comprehensive Accessibility Policy

February 8, 2018 8:25:55 AM EST

An accessibility policy is a policy that outlines how and why you plan to make your website accessible for those with disabilities. Not only will this policy provide your customers with information about your commitment to accessibility, but it also provides your employees and website developers with a guide to consult when creating new webpages and adding new content.

Bank of America, for example, took initiative years ago with accessibility for ATMs and a web accessibility agreement that dates back to 2000. Let’s further explore website accessibility policies, using Bank of America as a benchmark and example of what successful policies look like.

What’s in an Accessibility Policy?

The components of an accessibility policy vary from business to business. However, most policies will include some combination of the following components.

  • Summary statement of the policy – This is an overview of why, when, and how you will achieve accessibility for your website. For example, Bank of America’s website states, “We’re always working to enhance our site and increase accessibility and usability for all of our customers. Our accessibility efforts are based on the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).”
  • Scope of the policy – In order to define the boundaries of your policy, you need to consider how the different aspects of your website will be affected by the policy. For example, does the policy apply to all content under the institutional domain? Bank of America’s policy specifies that all web content is WCAG 2.0 compliant. The institution also offers the following services to supplement their accessible website:
    • Braille and large-print statements
    • PDF Mortgage Documents with Accessibility Tagging
    • Raised-line large-print checks
    • Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) and Text Teletype (TTY) phone numbers
    • Telecommunications relay service
    • Reader services
    • Interpreter services
  • A Technical Standard – To which accessibility criteria does your website subscribe? WCAG 2.0 is widely accepted as the most current and acceptable standard for website accessibility and ADA compliance. Bank of America references their compliance with WCAG 2.0 throughout their accessibility policy.
  • A System for Ongoing ReviewHow do you plan on keeping up with changes in accessibility guidelines and maintaining accessibility as you expand your website? Your website’s structure and content should be regularly reassessed based on the policy you’ve outlined in your accessibility policy. Although Bank of America does not explicitly mention a system for ongoing review, they do mention their intent to continue to follow WCAG guidelines as they might change. The bank also encourages customers to contact them if they have accessibility questions or are having trouble accessing a service.

In today’s digital age, online banking is anecessary and invaluable tool for many. If a bank’s website is accessible, customers of all abilities will be able to check their balances, transfer money, find pertinent financial information, and more. A banking institution that prioritizes web accessibility is one that expands its customer base and gains value as a proponent for digital inclusion for all users.

The Bureau of Internet Accessibility offers more information on accessibility policies on our blog. We also offer a free website scan to assess your website’s current accessibility and opportunities to improve.Contact us now to speak to an accessibility expert about our auditing and remediation services and to learn more about your accessibility needs.

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