The term "businesses or services that employ technology to deliver financial services" is known as "fintech" and covers many entities. Transferring funds, paying off debts, buying and selling stocks, and monitoring the performance of assets are all examples of financial activity.
After the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a significant investment in the fintech sector, expected to reach $134 billion in 2021. This revealed an increase of 177% from the previous year. By 2024, Statista projects that the industry will have grown to a value of €188 billion.
Identifying strategies to assist with adaptation and creating accessible digital products is becoming increasingly vital. New digital fintech products may only be deemed effective if they are open to all users, with 20% of the population needing assistive technology. How can we make fintech solutions more accessible to more consumers while guaranteeing that the improvements aren't worse than the flaws?
Here in this article, we will learn all these answers.
Table of Contents
What is application accessibility?
Apps that are accessible to people with disabilities include tools that improve their capacity to use a particular technology. Application software is a program created for end users to carry out certain duties in an environment. The ease to use these programs and software to carry financial activities is called Accessibility in Fintech.
The Importance of Accessibility in Fintech Apps
The idea that accessibility is an optional component of mobile app development is a widespread misunderstanding. Android and iOS platforms provide developers with accessibility tools to help them design an interface that is user-friendly for all users, including those who are disabled or have other physical or mental limitations.
Moreover, voice assistants like Siri and Alexa are becoming more common, and Google's Material Design standards include haptic feedback (such as vibrations). This means everyone benefits from good accessibility, not just persons with disabilities. Some individuals might use an app while driving or doing laundry without having to touch their mobile devices.
Accessibility is the term used to describe how things are created so that people with disabilities or other impairments may utilize them in their entirety. These limitations and impairments can take on a variety of shapes. Therefore we will focus on those that are most pertinent to mobile apps.
The biggest difficulty utilizing a mobile application that is not customized to them is experienced by users coping with visual impairment. Three significant disabilities are color blindness, vision loss, and even total blindness. In an accessibility environment, the sound is frequently employed to compensate for visual information's absence. This generally takes the form of a screen reader.
There is always a way to embrace a positive user experience, regardless of whether a user is deaf, has a mild hearing impairment, or has trouble hearing sounds within a given range. Transcripts and captions are optional, although they can improve videos and audio snippets.
Navigating a mobile application might be difficult for people with physical motor disabilities, so a user is not restricted to a certain gesture, tapping, or other motion that must be adjusted. Moreover, a gesture should never be required since the physical limits of the motor system should not constrain an app's navigational behavior. Users may set up shortcuts for commonly used words or phrases and the intervals between screen touches on Android and iOS. It is also possible to customize the size of buttons and other touchable triggers in apps.
Ease of access for persons with a learning disability, such as (functional) illiteracy, (functional) innumeracy, and digital illiteracy, is a sometimes underappreciated facet of accessibility. And it's not only an issue in the developing world; according to the Dutch government, 1 in 9 persons between the ages of 18 and 65 struggle with the ability to read and write. In a study conducted in 2003, the US National Center for Educational Statistics discovered that 1 in 7 persons had prose literacy skills below the basic level, and 1 in 5 had numeric literacy skills below the basic level.
Banking and digital accessibility
The essential ideas of any bank center on doing the right thing. It is crucial to consistently put people first and consider how to best serve your clients. This must apply to older clients and those who struggle with dyslexia, cognitive problems, reading comprehension difficulty, and vision loss. All users must be able to view and comprehend the content.
There has been a significant trend toward digital banking during the past year. The sector needs to ensure that each financial website complies with the regulations established by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as part of this effort (WCAG). Nations worldwide have embraced these recommendations as a common benchmark for accessibility laws. The needs of persons with physical, mental, cognitive, and auditory impairments can be better served by banks if they adhere to these rules.
We must ensure that no one is left behind as we transition to a digital age. For information on how to make information more accessible, there is a wide range of digital tools, books, podcasts, and news sources.
The Challenges of Creating Accessible Fintech Apps: Why are fintech apps so hard to design?
There are several reasons why designing an amazing financial app is difficult. We've compiled a list of the nine most typical issues to be aware of during the design process.
Reason # 1: UX complexity
The assumption that what is intuitive for them would also be intuitive for the user is one of app designers' major misconceptions. This could not always be the case, particularly if you're developing an app for customers with varying technological proficiency. What may be simple for tech-savvy users may be discouraging for people who require more time to absorb the details of the technology they utilize.
Designers work in a world that values specifics. Thus, confusing features and glitches have no place in financial software design that deals with customers' money. You should strive for simplicity and polish in the answers you provide.
Reason # 2: User data management
Just request as much input as you need at the time, according to the principles of effective mobile app design. Making too many demands at once frequently frustrates users. Yet, what if you're asking for too much (in comparison to other, less demanding apps)? Legal restrictions may sometimes leave you with no choice, and let's face it. You don't want to violate the law.
In these situations, fintech app developers use a variety of strategies. You may include justifications for why specific information is necessary for the app to function or divide the forms into a few phases. Regardless of the approach you use, it presents a new obstacle of its own: coming up with simple, understandable directions.
Reason # 3: Security
Let's suppose that one of the design challenges for financial apps is to make these "obstacles" as subtle as possible. Resolving delicate issues when failure is not an option, such as unauthorized access to user data and, as a result, fraudulent conduct, is a critical component of developing financial apps. Security specialists will choose the most suitable security methods for a given degree of data sensitivity from the available options, such as magic links, SMS, or biometric authentication.
Reason # 4: Accessibility
Users with impairments likely use your fintech app in a way you haven't considered. It's time to throw up outdated justifications and include accessibility in the equation of superior design in the era where assistive technology is being widely used. Why wouldn't accessibility-first become a universal strategy for all apps, including online and mobile, since mobile-first has become a norm in web design?
Reason # 5: Optimize the onboarding process
You may think this is silly, but pretend your app is you. You are providing a service to a prospective client. To onboard someone effectively, you need to say a lot of things. What strategy would you employ in this discussion? What strategy would you employ to hold the user's attention as you speak?
Beginning with the first impressions, you may establish trust and a good rapport with users. You must first recognize that asking for someone's sensitive info is not a good way to start a discussion. It also doesn't provide a secure environment for future interactions. A far more soothing environment will be created, and attention will be diverted from the unpleasant aspect if the app's advantages are demonstrated and the user is encouraged to participate.
Reason # 6: Money and emotions
"Money doesn't buy you happiness, but lack of money certainly buys you misery." - Daniel Kahneman aptly captured how people feel about money. The crucial word here is feeling.
Our brains are wired so that, in the absence of emotions, the amount of information we are exposed to daily would leave us chronically overwhelmed. Understanding the user while creating a mobile app requires not just taking into account their rational behavior but also their feelings.
Reason # 7: Presenting data
Not everyone is at ease working with numbers. Some individuals avoid interacting with them as much as possible because they detest them. Your task will be to design an engaging interface in this scenario regardless of the user's level of digit orientation. To do this, you must respond to the following inquiries:
- How can you create a visually appealing structure out of numbers?
- What information does the viewer of the chart need to know?
- Is it possible to modify the app view or provide users with the option?
Substantial responsibility accompanies positions of power. It goes beyond just reflecting data differently when creating charts and tables for mobile apps. The text size, color scheme, amount of white space used, and other visual design elements will all significantly impact how consumers feel about the app and about spending their money.
Reason # 8: Money talks
How frequently should you study the language of the organization where you'll work? To comprehend the vocabulary and jargon and to become familiar with the objectives of the app, it is essential to do so. However, the app's users could have varying degrees of expertise in this area.
Resuming our previous discussion of inspiration and problem-solving in product design, let's move on. Maintain the proper balance between explaining the app's important features and doing so in straightforward language. If the app's purpose is to simplify the user's life, increasing the language's level of difficulty may make it more difficult for the user to use all the advantages your app offers.
Reason # 9: All the numbers in the world
Text parameter settings for your app have previously been discussed, but additional considerations exist.
Particular care must be used when formatting financial data:
- Mode for displaying numbers and fractions: If your user's account balance is displayed with the incorrect punctuation mark, such as 2,000 instead of 2.000, you don't want to make them worried.
- 9/2/2018 will imply different things to Americans and Italians, depending on the format used for the date and time.
- Amount of digits and exchange rates: You'll see what I mean by looking at the value of the hryvnia in Ukraine.
- Symbols for money: You should see all of them in the font you select.
In order to cover all these aspects, you need to view numbers from a unique, global viewpoint.
Best Practices for Designing Accessible Fintech Apps - Key Essential Features
So what changes can you implement to start this process of change?
Talking to a wide range of impaired people is the best thing you can do, above all else, to make your app more accessible. Get them to try out your app so they can provide you with first-hand feedback on what makes it challenging for them to use and what would be most beneficial. Also, they may be able to offer helpful insight into the strategies used by rival businesses to improve the efficiency of their client journeys.
Here are a few actions you may do to get started and go through the fundamentals until you can collect that information. Getting the foundations right will put you miles ahead of your rivals.
Support responsive font sizing
Users who already have their settings customized to their needs should find your app simple to use. Support Dynamic Type on iOS and a range of pixel densities on Android to guarantee that the text in your app will resize or enlarge appropriately.
You should also consider how elements like content boxes and buttons scale with the text. Scaling both the text and the button area is an alternative to what we saw in the example before, a static button with an ellipse when resized. Scrolling should be possible within content containers.
Remember to avoid providing important information in the language that goes with photos when using text-based accessibility options since it won't scale.
Consider screen readers
How a user uses your app will be different from how other users use it if they use a screen reader. To comprehend users' touchscreen motions, familiarize yourself with how VoiceOver and TalkBack operate on iOS and Android, respectively.
Consider including a static button when your navigation system uses the swipe feature, for instance. Users will want an alternate forward or backward button because swiping is the main method of interaction with the screen reader overlay.
A complete alt description should be included for each picture and field.
Provide customization settings
Disability exists on a continuum, as was previously indicated. There won't be a one-size-fits-all approach to accessibility features. Allowing each consumer to take control is the simplest method to satisfy them all. You may provide users the ability to modify the following settings:
- Text size
- Font: If your software utilizes a serif font, provide those with dyslexia the option of a sans-serif font. Or even better, a typeface like OpenDyslexic is particularly made for people with dyslexia!
- Invert as well as contrast
- Grayscale and color, as well as filters
Several fintech applications need an immediate sign-in or survey upon startup (i.e., financial health status, investment, product interest, etc.). Before launching into anything else, allow your consumers to alter their settings as necessary. Depending on your existing user path, you could also have to postpone your onboarding trigger.
Pay attention to color
Both users who are color blind and those who have dyslexia are impacted by color. Your color contrast shouldn't be excessively muted (i.e., 100% white background with 100% black text) nor too strong. Contrast should be at least 4.5:1 for smaller text. It should be 3.0:1 for greater text.
Pure red, green, or blue should be avoided since color-blind people cannot see them entirely. Use the numerous tools that are readily available online to see how your app appears to various consumers.
Add voice-assist commands
Consider which tasks Siri or Google Assistant may make easier for your users. For instance, voice commands may enable visually impaired people to find out the worth of their stocks, the performance of their investments, the savings in their pension, check their bank balance, or top up a product. For instance, Barclays enables its banking clients in the U.K. to make payments using Siri.
Putting accessibility adjustments into practice will, of course, improve the user experience. It will also improve your financial situation. Reduced churn, higher engagement, and improved brand loyalty result from improved user experiences.
Let the statistics speak for themselves rather than simply take our word for it. When a new accessibility feature is added, observe how your KPIs progress. The Datascape feature of Adjust puts information at your fingertips.
Accessibility Testing and Compliance for Fintech Apps
Fintech apps should be rigorously evaluated for security, dependability, compliance, and accessibility and ensure they fulfill their essential duties. As an example:
The goal of security testing is to find any potential flaws in the security of your software by analyzing your application. Penetration testing is a type of security testing that carefully examines your app and backend system to ensure that any important received and stored data is secured from cyberattacks. It uses techniques like "fuzzing" to evaluate how your system reacts to random input and prepares for an attack.
There is no "one and done" concept when it involves testing financial technology apps. To maintain your fintech application's security, dependability, compliance, and accessibility, you must regularly test it. But you don't have to do it manually each time: Automate the fundamental user routines and situations for your software and any repetitive actions to find any stray issues.
Every institution—both those that operate online and those that do not—must abide by the rules specific to the financial sector. Government entities like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission define and uphold these rules in the United States. Also, laws will change and innovate as well as fintech. As vital as testing for functionality is testing to verify compliance, which is essential to the success of your app. To make sure your software complies with the most recent prerequisite requirements set forth by the relevant federal body, compliance testing examines it.
The importance of accessibility testing makes it worthwhile to bring it up again, even if we have already discussed it (and often left out many testing strategies). Developers must consider persons with disabilities, whether physical, aural, visual, or cognitive, and then include alternate access for those users if they want to create accessible and successful software. The flaws in your software that might make it difficult for those with impairments are highlighted through accessibility testing.
Improving your app is a good idea; anything that improves the user experience is a good adjustment. Regrettably, most changes have drawbacks, particularly in the area of technology. Regression testing ensures that your software is still accurate, safe, and compliant after any upgrades, no matter how little or significant.
There are various advantages, challenges, and solutions in the fintech sector. We might mention some major problems, including a lack of technical know-how and challenging regulatory compliance. However, the use of contemporary technology and a reliable software development partner make it simple to overcome these obstacles.
One of the most important factors in success is using cutting-edge technology. While the conventional banking system gradually embraces contemporary techniques, the process takes a long time. By utilizing blockchain, AI, ML, big data, and Web 3.0 to their advantage, startups can capture most of the market and provide better accessibility to its consumers.