Accessible Format Documents Give Visually Impaired Clients Freedom and Security

Imagine giving a friend or family member access to personal financial information, such as your stock portfolio or mutual fund, mortgage statement, checking/saving account balances or credit card bills. Or imagine them knowing your retirement options or spending habits.

If financial information is not provided in an accessible format, people with visual impairments often must sacrifice their independence, privacy and dignity and rely on others to read their most sensitive information.

While trusted, those people are not always knowledgeable and may not comprehend what they are reading. This can result in the visually impaired person misinterpreting and misunderstanding what is being read to them.

Also when others have access to visually impaired clients’ financial records, they may judge their spending habits and wrongly assume their account balances indicate they have money to burn or they should tighten their belts. They may also interject into their affairs, leaving them feeling vulnerable.

As a financial advisor, you have the opportunity to stand out from the competition by ensuring all your clients -- including those who are visually impaired -- can easily and privately access their financial records and work directly with you by providing documents in an alternative format.

Offer The Right Tools for Each Client

Each visually impaired client is unique and may require different accessibility tools than others. Low vision users might want their documents in large print. But those who are totally blind may prefer an electronic version to access using a screen reader.

It’s best to communicate to prospective clients and current clients regarding what tools you have available and what they prefer for best results. Also, review documents with your client to ensure they fully understand the information presented, no matter which tools they use. This will help build a trusting relationship and demonstrate your sensitivity.

The Benefits of Expediency

There are times when financial opportunities need to be moved on quickly, such as stock trading, selecting a new investment, or to identify one that has run its course and should be sold.

Sighted people can typically make those transactions right away, but a visually impaired person might have to wait for assistance, costing them what could be a valuable opportunity. 

But if financial resources, documents and tools are readily accessible to them, they can be on equal footing with sighted clients and take full advantage of those investment options.

An Extra Measure of Security

A visually impaired client may also want to access their documents independently to avoid identity theft and fraud, which can occur when friends, family or others steal their information.

When a person can read and sign their own documents, they have more control and won’t be easily misled by others. Alternative formats give them the security and freedom to read the information and fill out forms electronically without the need for sighted assistance.

So, having an accessible website is a shrewd business move and helps meet your customers’ needs.

Conducting financial business online is faster, easier and more convenient. Ensuring your website and all of your online documents follow Section 508 accessibility standards – a guide to designing accessible websites – will  make all the difference to your current and potential visually impaired clients.

Composed of professionals with vision loss, Outlook Business Solutions provides accessibility testing for organizations and companies. Skilled technicians – people with disabilities – test various aspects of your online/digital platforms and provide suggestions you can implement to ensure your content meets with ADA and WCAG guidelines. We can help you make sure your website can be used by the disabled, giving you an opportunity to expand your client base. Visit our accessibility services page to learn more.