Three out of every four European banks fails in the accessibility of their websites
Europe, March 7 2014
Researchers from the University of Oviedo, Spain have analyzed the websites of nearly 50 banks from the EU to check whether any user, even if disabled, has equal access. The results show that this right is not fulfilled in 74% of cases, and therefore they demand greater interest from financial entities in this technological and social problem.
Web accessibility is the set of technological innovations that ensure equitable access to the web for all users, regardless of disability or the device used. However, these facilities are not present in most of the web pages of European banks, according to an analysis by computer scientists and economists from the University of Oviedo.
“The results show that only 26% of banks presents acceptable levels on their websites, and more than 36% of the cases analyzed serious accessibility barriers were found,” explained Ana Belén Martínez Sync, one of the researchers participating in the study.
Javier De Andres, another of the author, highlighted the consequences of the lack of accessibility: “Persons with disabilities find themselves with additional obstacles at the time of accessing electronic banking services, therefore often having to carry out certain steps in person, with the difficulties and discrimination that this implies.”
Researchers offered some solutions to solve the problem: “The websites of the banks should provide text alternatives for all visual and audio content, using units that facilitate understanding of style sheets, include input devices alternative to using the mouse, and clearly identify the language used on their website.”
In order to carry out the study, published by the journal Information Processing & Management, a database made up of 49 banks from the EU – 8 of them Spanish – was used, whose actions form part of the Dow Jones EURO STOXX 50 stock index.
The authors have identified three factors that implement web accessibility. The first is operational, because of its contribution to the efficiency of the bank operations. “Those financial entities that want to improve a poor performance can adopt these applications, within a range of corrective measures,” Martínez said.
The researchers concluded by indicating that neither web accessibility nor the advantages that it offers to the organizations are sufficiently known yet, and thus encourage the banks to improve in this sphere in order to guarantee fair access to all clients.