Digital tools need to be accessible to be successful. But seasoned business leaders know accessibility is more than a box to check. Ensuring your website, app, and other digital assets are accessible has various business benefits—from expanding market reach to driving innovation and dramatically reducing legal risk.
Think Company recently partnered with Crownpeak, an organization performing automated accessibility reports of public websites. Together, we looked at the top 18 insurance companies in the U.S. and evaluated their sites against accessibility and usability best practices. We gathered data about how well these sites performed against the insurance industry’s specific challenges. You can read the full report here.
As an insurance leader, you must be able to anticipate and meet the needs of complex audiences at crucial moments—while keeping in mind that your users span a range of abilities. The best way to meet audience needs is to ensure every user can access a usable, well-designed website.
4 Digital accessibility strategies to grow your audience
We learned a lot from our research with Crownpeak about how insurance leaders can improve products and increase their customer base. We also found repeatedly that, while tempting because of their convenience, accessibility overlays and plugins do not deliver adequate results and should not be used as a solution. The best approach is to use good tools that check for accessibility at the code level paired with a manual evaluation to produce a long-term strategy that’s realistic for your team to maintain.
Here are four best practices we found for improving accessibility and usability on insurance sites. Read the full report to see more best practices and understand how we got to this information.
1. Add accessibility considerations into your already-wide audience personas
You already know that people who use insurance websites for services span different ages, circumstances, and needs—and they typically can’t be categorized into simple groups. The same can be said for your audience’s abilities. When planning digital content, products, and market strategies, it’s essential to build products for those with various abilities—both permanent and temporary. In manual testing, navigate the site from the perspective of a specific user with a particular disability. And take multiple disabilities into account: blindness, visual impairment, movement limitation, deafness, etc. Over time, your site will provide value to a much broader audience.
2. Build accessibility checks into your regular content and feature updates
As a service provider in a regulated industry, you’re already working hard to produce helpful content and update your website throughout the year while staying compliant. Digital accessibility is another standard your team can include at those same touchpoints—starting at the design phase and continuing through to production. It is cheaper and easier to fix accessibility issues early in the process. Also, you should vet digital tools provided by third-party vendors for their accessibility efforts, like mortgage and insurance calculators, forms, and email newsletters.
3. As your organization becomes more complex, stay on top of the basics
Your company is large with a complex IT infrastructure. As you grow, the complexity will increase—leaving opportunities for you to lose sight of the accessibility essentials. You’ll need a straightforward process to keep your digital assets accessible as a standard. Check your content regularly; some WYSIWYG editors insert empty paragraphs or headers, or allow for images without descriptions. Stay on top of contrast and text size, which affects low-vision users. In addition to HTML pages, check other content elements for accessibility: videos, audio files, PDFs, documents, and presentations. Regular effort will help you avoid creating accessibility debt.
4. Hold your website to high SEO standards
In our research, we saw clearly in the data that insurers’ SEO scores are strongly correlated to their digital accessibility scores. Take SEO seriously if you’re looking to attract more customers and capture market share from competitors. When you implement SEO best practices, those efforts will translate directly into the accessibility of your site. Similarly, accessibility improvements can drive up search engine rankings. Accessibility is good for SEO—and vice versa.
Greater accessibility, greater reach
Digital tools need to be accessible to be successful. While companies in the insurance industry face unique challenges, our research showed that it is possible for organizations to create accessible, usable websites and digital tools that quickly and elegantly meet users’ needs—putting you on a path to capturing more market share and beating out the competition in the process.
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