Each Wednesday, we will be bringing you an article of interest as it
pertains to the topic of accessibility and we hope you can use
it to become more familiar with this particular area.
This has become a rapidly growing and very important area and why?
Because the number of consumers in this market is growing and will continue
to do so for the forseeable future.
Governments, corporations, and individuals are paying more attention.
Please read on.
The Sterling Creations team
Follow us on Twitter @accessibleworld.
Contributed by Dan Thompson
Managing your Finances from your iOS Device
a Snapshot of how I Believe Things are now, and what
I hope they Could Become
Submitted by Mike Taylor
Member of the AppleVis Blog Team
Member of the AppleVis Blog Team
Until 3 or 4 years ago, I did most of my financial dealings over the phone
or using my bank’s website. Although more recently I have used the app for
99 percent of my
dealings involving finances (in fact, I prefer the app more than the
website), the app has some problems. Due to the world population going more
mobile than ever
before, financial institutions as well as other industries are forced to
embrace the digital age or get left behind. But what is the result for blind
iOS users, and how can
things change for the better?
These are my own views as a totally blind iOS user, although I am interested
to find out how other users find money management through their iOS device.
free to comment and confirm or squash my suspicions. I also apologise in
advance, because the politics surrounding the arena of accessibility go
further than the title of
this post, I haven’t edited these out though as I believe them to be just as
important so hope you can appreciate and comment on these points if you
would like to.
How taxing is your banking app?
It’s just my view, but it feels like the answer to the above question is
“slightly taxing,” although it is getting better. I am based in the UK and
use the NatWest app,
which for the most part is accessible—apart from a few instances of button
labelling being unclear, as well as a lack of alternative text for other
items to indicate their
function, and some items that are ambiguous and a user has to guess what
function will be performed when activating an item. It’s fine now because I
layout of the app, but at the risk of sounding over-confident I would say
that it also has something to do with my confidence with technology and in
and getting it right. I am fully aware though that this approach doesn’t
work for everyone and it can cost time, battery life, data and sanity to try
and keep on top of
your money if you have a really inaccessible app, or just don’t want to play
the guessing game and get it wrong.
Looking after the pennies
At the time of writing, the NatWest app gives me access to all the usual
functions you would expect. I am able to view statement information,
although I struggle to
view more than a month’s worth of transactions due to the lack of response
to touch events; meaning that when I tap and flick to view a statement from
more than a
month ago, the app does nothing. I can, however, transfer money; pay my
contacts; view payees; and get happy or depressed depending on the figures
when I view my
available amount Smile.
So what’s the problem really apart from the brief accessibility short-falls
listed above? It’s the little things… Actually it’s more than that, it’s not
having the ability to do
in the app what I could do at my PC on the full desktop website. Recently I
had to modify the date of a regular payment but I couldn’t do it from the
app, and had to log
in via my PC instead. In the grand scheme of things it isn’t really an
issue, but like many people reading this it is easier to do things while I
am on the go, and frankly I
don’t want to have to be on hold waiting for an agent to answer my call, or
have to sit at my computer if it is possible to use my iPhone. This
particular frustration I
admit was due to a lack of functionality rather than an accessibility
problem, although it would be nice to be able to have this function in the
app but do you think I
have been able to speak to someone about it yet?
Again unless I have time to sit on hold (which I don’t,) we have a problem.
I can’t tell the developers, so they don’t know, and the last time I tried I
was on hold for
half [an [hour. (No, it wasn’t a free phone number, and I had no Skype
credit at the time, oh and no they didn’t have a contact email for the
the current landscape, politics and education
I wrote this post over 3 months, which gave me a chance to persist and call
the customer service team again. Thankfully I got the message through,
telling the agent
what I was trying to do, what I couldn’t do and what I would love to happen
in future updates for the app. Having received an apology and no visible
change in the odd
labelling or additional functionality to the app yet, it could be said that
I wasted my time. I disagree for the following reasons:
I have the option of calling again, and I already took the name of the
person who answered my call initially, I can also politely explain again the
issues and ask for a
call back, or provide my email address as a follow up contact. This gives
the bank in this case the chance to at least listen and respond. Worst case
scenario being that
not much happens but I tried, and they have it on file. At best a fix is
implemented, but it is also worthwhile to remember that such things can take
We all know that accessibility for some is not at the top of the list of
priorities for many reasons, and security and stability are just a couple of
other items which I
would class as equally important to a developer. So here we have our nugget
of politics, how do we respond?
Keep doing what we are doing. Not necessarily threatening legal action
(unless of course all other diplomatic roads have been taken.) It’s worth
that most organisations will at least respond better to constructive
criticism and suggestions rather than a letter from a solicitor. This would
be our education, in
educating the people who need to know we are dealing with the politics of
Moving towards a usable and accessible future?
This is our current landscape of educating, and if you find yourself
reporting problems to an organisation, suggest an alternative if you can. If
on the other hand you just
feel that it doesn’t work and it should but don’t know where to start, let
who ever listens know your concerns. It’s always worth offering to act as
someone who might be
willing to answer any questions that a developer might have about
accessibility. This helps both them, and you.
I hope that as assistive technology becomes more mainstream, the process of
informing the people responsible for web and app design about accessibility
easier. Many companies have someone who either works in the accessibility
industry, or who hopefully will have an outside organisation who can be
contacted to help.
Ideally, multiple ways of contacting the developers will also become more
mainstream—making it less frustrating to pass on useful and important
there will always be some who simply don’t care. They are the ones who will
eventually learn through education; loss of sales; and at worse, legal
action, that as we all
rely on our mobile and assistive technology more than ever, more can be
done—and should be done—to improve money management, as well as anything
else you use
on your device.
This post has slightly gone from focusing on one aspect and taken in other
factors, but I hope you will understand why I have allowed this to happen.
One last thing:
Use PayPal, it’s great. Clearly-labelled tabs, clearly-labelled buttons and
input fields…but of course I would check the bank before you spend smile.