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WCAG 2.0 (AA) Website ADA Accessibility for Banks and Credit Unions


By Jason Sherrill on Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Do you already know what WCAG is and just need to hire experts to bring your website into compliance?

Get in touch with us to talk about WCAG ADA accessibility compatibility. If you're just wrapping your arms around WCAG compliance, then read on and we'll bring you up to speed.

What is WCAG 2.0 (AA) and how does it apply to accessibility on bank websites?

WCAG 2.0 (AA) is a set of standards that dictates methods for how a website is programmed, designed, and even how hyperlinks and other text must be written on a website to make the website easier to use for people with visual impairments.

Why are banks being sued for not being compliant with ADA accessibility standards?

We're not able to provide legal guidance, but the root of the lawsuits stems from the U.S. Department of Justice's enforcement of ADA compliance standards that it started notifying the banking industry about as early as 2011. Many banks have reported within the past several months that they've received demand and settlement letters from one particular law firm in Pennsylvania that has brought hundreds of lawsuits against companies in a variety of industry sectors for failure to meet ADA compliance on their websites. As of this writing, the DOJ has not specifically issued any regulations directed at banks regarding ADA compliance and it is not expected to issue any formal regulations until at least 2018; however, legal experts are recommending that businesses begin taking steps to meet ADA compliance and it has specifically referred to WCAG 2.0 (AA) as the standard it will likely require.

Who defines the WCAG 2.0 (AA) standards?

The World Wide Web Consortium (often referred to as W3C) is the organization that has defined the standards. They developed the standards to provide a means for website developers and assistive technology creators to have a common set of guidelines by which to develop websites and tools that provide an optimal website browsing, reading, and interactive experience for blind and visually impaired users. Read more about the WCAG standard.

Can WCAG compatibility be easily "turned on" for bank websites?

It is NOT a setting that is enabled or "turned on" within the website, on the web server, or within a content management system (CMS). Making a website WCAG compliant requires programming, design, and copywriting changes in most cases.

What is involved in making websites compliant with WCAG 2.0 (AA) standards?

Bringing a website into compliance typically involves updating the programming code, assessing a web page's design, analyzing the content on the web page, and then processing the page through a WCAG validator to verify that the page meets all or most WCAG 2.0 (AA) standards. This process must be completed on each page of the website and can range anywhere from minutes per page to hours, depending on the level of work required. It is not uncommon for a web development team to spend 50 to 100 hours on a typical bank website to bring it into substantial compliance with WCAG 2.0 (AA) standards.

Is WCAG 2.0 (AA) compatibility a one-time effort or does it require on-going work?

In most cases, modern bank websites change on a daily basis. In most medium to large banks, multiple people are involved in the daily management of the website, including copywriters, designers, programmers, SEO technicians, and marketers. Every change that occurs on a website could take the website out of compliance. It is important that everyone who works on the website be familiar with the WCAG 2.0 (AA) standards or that the bank contracts with a company (like InetSolution, for example) to work with them to perform periodic reviews and remediation to ensure that the website stays in compliance. More advanced content management systems like the ones that we work with here at InetSolution also have built-in review workflow processes that can allow content administrators to test pages for compliance before publishing them and also allow a WCAG expert to perform a final review before pages are published live.

How much does it cost to make a bank website WCAG 2.0 (AA) compliant?

One-time Costs: The cost to make a bank website WCAG 2.0 (AA) compliant will vary greatly depending on the size of the website, the current state of the design and programming code, the content management system the site is built on, and the degree to which the bank desires to compatible. Achieving 100% compatibility can be very difficult and costly; however, achieving 80% to 90% compatibility may be adequate and can be achieved at much lower costs. Costs for websites that we've brought into compliance have ranged from $3,000 to over $30,000, with most falling somewhere in the middle.

Recurring Costs: Once your website achieves initial compliance, all content that you add or change on your website must also be checked for compliance. We provide a monthly validation service for $250.00 per month that will check every page in your website for WCAG 2.0 compliance. We will provide a report detailing any issues found, which pages the issues exist on, and even which line of code. In addition, can also proactively remediate compliance issues discovered during the scan.

Ready to make your website WCAG 2.0 (AA) compliant?

The best first step is to get in touch with someone who understands the standard and understands website programming to help you analyze your current website and provide reasonable guidance taking steps toward becoming compliant. Get in touch with us to talk about WCAG compatibility.

Need some legal guidance from a lawyer with expertise in this area of the law?

Get in touch with us and we can connect you with an attorney who is an expert in this field that is currently working with other financial institutions to help them safely navigate these waters.


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