Public Sector banks in India and accessibility

For persons with disabilities, one thing I commonly stress when I speak on various platforms is about the financial independence. Though a person with disability earns independently unless the banks websites, internet banking facilities, mobile apps, ATMS etc are not accessible the financial independence is far to reach.

As part of series of accessibility audits I am doing for various sectors that impact the lives of people in general and persons with disabilities in particular, this month I have taken the home pages of top 10 public sector banks and ran web accessibility test on them. I have used accessibility add-onaXe,External Website the most reliable and free web accessibility checking Firefox add-on by Deque Systems. I have found basic problems such as missing alternate text for images and missing labels for form elements on almost all the home pages. For one of the banks I have audited, audio is played as soon as the home page is loaded. This is a major barrier as the screen reader users can never use the website as long as the audio is stopped. Read more about audio controls.

I am more worried about the people with disabilities those who are working in these public sector banks. When the public facing home pages are not accessible, how about the internal applications and their accessibility? How can the employees contribute to their fullest potential if the internal applications and intra net is not accessible?

I really appreciate few banks who made a significant effort for making their websites accessible. It might be because of continuous updating and maintenance of websites, lack of accessibility knowledge for the testers and developers who made efforts to make the websites accessible or might be any other reasons I have observed accessibility problems in the websites those have accessibility features too.

Below are the list of banks and the accessibility violations I found while running Axe tool on 24th, April 2016.

Top 10 public sector Banks in India and their accessibility

Name of the website Home page URL Number of issues
State Bank Of India https://www.onlinesbi.com/External Website 41
Bank Of Baroda http://www.bankofbaroda.co.in/External Website 33
Punjab National Bank https://www.pnbindia.in/External Website 21
IDBI Bank http://www.idbi.comExternal Website 21
Central Bank Of India https://www.centralbankofindia.co.in/External Website 169
Canara Bank http://www.canarabank.com/External Website 198
Union Bank of India https://www.unionbankonline.co.in/External Website 22
Bank Of India http://www.bankofindia.co.in/english/home.aspxExternal Website 12
Syndicate Bank https://www.syndicatebank.in/english/home.aspxExternal Website 28
Indian Bank https://www.indianbank.netExternal Website 5

I have few suggestions for those who are putting efforts to make websites accessible,

  • Accessibility is not only for blind/ visually challenged or just for persons with disabilities. Just by keeping the option for increasing and decreasing the font size will not make the website accessible.
  • Take incorporating accessibility as the first stage of project life-cycle and continue through all the levels until launching it online than taking it during the QA.
  • Get the website audited by an experienced accessibility consultant to identify real problems.
  • Get the website tested by different kinds of users to check if the website is usable after making the website accessible.

Feel free to drop an email to rakesh@maxability.co.in or provide your comment below should you have any questions.

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