When we at Seccl say that we want to bring financial advice to everyone, we mean everyone.
Our culture of continuous improvement means that we’re always looking to make our products better and easier to use. And as part of that mission, we’re on a journey to ensuring that access needs are properly considered when we design and develop new features.
I thought I’d give a little update as to where we’ve come from – and where we want to get to…
How things were
It’s no excuse, but the diversity of difference between us all can sometimes make the world of accessibility feel overwhelming. Designing solutions that meet all requirements takes a lot of empathy, knowledge and different forms of testing. Our small team knew they could be doing better, but needed time to determine just what better looked like.
Of course, where possible we used existing solutions that carried accessibility friendly solutions – like React Tables with built-in ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) labels to better cater for people with access needs.
However, it became clear that we hadn’t put enough time and focus on making our product work for all.
It isn’t just us
The so-called ‘Click-Away Pound’ was valued at a pretty hefty £17.1 billion in 2019. This metric illustrates how much money users with access needs don’t spend with particular organisations, because they either aren’t able to in the first place, or are deterred from doing so by the frustration of poor usability. There’s clearly a long way to go to ensure digital products are meeting the requirements of all.
With high street banks closing branches, many of us are reliant on the online tools our financial services institutions provide. And they often miss the mark. First Monday’s 2017 report on the state of accessibility in the finance world demonstrated that over 63% faced issues and blockers when accessing digital banking.
It’s clear to see that those of us with access needs aren’t starting on an equal footing when it comes to managing our finances.
What we’re doing about it
We’ve reviewed all of our user interfaces and considered how we work
We now have our base level from which to improve. By reviewing and being open about our current shortfalls, we can go on to create much better experiences.
We understand the skills our amazing teams have
We’ve been honest about our level of knowledge and also shared how best we learn. By understanding how we each take on new knowledge, we can then make sure that everyone has the opportunity to investigate, study and learn about how to make our products more accessible in a manner that suits them.
We’ve played host to amazing external speakers
Like Ashley Firth from our sister company, Octopus Energy. Ashley ran us through the key areas to consider when it comes to accessibility. He also wrote a book on it, which we highly recommend.![Practical Web Inclusion & Accessibility by Ashley Firth](/assets/images/content/amy-accessibility-book.jpg)
We’ve created our own hub of information, tools and learning
Our accessibility hub is filled with a growing number of resources to help us in our day jobs – including our accessibility personas, which were created from research with real people, YouTubers who vlog about their experiences and some fantastic insights from websites of charities.
We’re releasing accessible content
All new features released by us will now aim to meet WCAG (Web content accessibility Guidelines) level AA. Not just that, but our designers and developers talk about how to get the content to the users in the most logical way, depending on their access needs.
What the future looks like
We’re not joking around when it comes to making sure the world of finance is open to everyone – both from an affordability and an accessibility point of view.
We’re packing our idea generation space full of useful shortcuts to make tasks easier. Our product designers and managers are ensuring access requirements are baked in. Our fantastic in-house engineering team make it all happen. And our Quality Assurance team test to make sure our vision has turned out as intended.
Over time we’ll aim to make our entire suite of tools available to all, too; after all, it’s in everybody’s interests if companies work together to share their knowledge and raise the collective standards of accessibility throughout the digital landscape.