The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Canada’s Human Rights Act, and the European Union’s Web Accessibility Directive outline accessibility requirements for all websites. Asset management firms are no different from any other business when it comes to meeting these requirements. In the US, businesses must comply with ADA legislation if they have more than 15 employees. In addition, some states have related laws. If you have a website, accessibility should be among the first things you think of when you design or build content.
What is web accessibility?
Web accessibility is the practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to websites by people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed.***
A frequent misconception is that website accessibility only applies to people who are deaf or blind. Accessibility standards make it possible for people with a variety of disabilities to navigate and comprehend your content. We believe that accessibility standards improve websites and content for everyone while delivering significant business benefits.
Stop for a moment and consider how your firm’s website would be perceived by someone who is color blind. Now imagine someone with dyslexia or someone that uses only a keyboard to navigate. What kind of impression would they have of your firm and services after visiting your website?
The benefits of accessibility:
Whether you are launching a hedge fund or have been around for decades, ensuring you are communicating effectively with the broadest possible audience is good business sense. But that’s just the beginning, website accessibility can help your firm:
- Enhance reputation: Offering an accessible website demonstrates your firm’s respect for your clients and community. It highlights your inclusivity and reinforces a commitment to outstanding client service.
- Increase conversions: Following accessibility guidelines makes your content easier to engage with. Better content means more conversions from your site to your digital channels or your sales team.
- Improve SEO results: Search engine ranking includes accessibility measurements. The more accessible your site is, the better your ranking will be.
- Avoid accessibility litigation: Failure to ensure your site is accessible opens your firm up to potential ADA accessibility litigation.
- Augment engagement: Content that is easier to consume gets read/viewed more by everyone. Take closed captioning as an example. Many people prefer to watch videos with captioning instead of or in addition to audio.
- Speed performance: Accessibility requires cleaner, more precise HTML code. Better code means faster load times giving visitors more time to learn about your firm.
Ensuring your website meets accessibility standards can feel daunting, particularly if your firm has a complex site. In a subsequent post, we will explore some practical tips to assess your content. To start, we recommend two things. First, speak with your marketing/design team or partner and ask what accessibility standards were considered in the creation of your site. Then, run one of the free accessibility checkers (we love this one from Accessibility Checker: https://www.accessibilitychecker.org/) to understand how your website rates.