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Is Your Platform Losing Out on Potential Traders

The advent of cryptocurrencies and decentralized finance (DeFi) has been a boon to financial inclusion. These new technologies provide financial service access to people who could not avail of the services of banks and other traditional financial service providers.

The popularity of crypto and DeFi has paved the way for the rise of crypto trading, which also gave rise to exchange and trading platforms. However, as much as decentralized finance is opening up opportunities for more people to get involved in trading and investing, some people still get left behind.

Differently-abled individuals who may have an interest in crypto trading are unable to access trading platforms through conventional ways. It could be due to their lack of or weak sense of sight, hearing impairment, or issues with their motor skills that prevent them from using sites and web apps with a mouse or through touchscreens. Also, some people with cognitive challenges may find it difficult to access exchange and trading platforms conventionally.

Around 15 percent of the world’s population has some form of disability according to the World Bank. This translates to around a billion people, many of whom are potential participants in the crypto and decentralized finance market—if only they are given the opportunity through more accessible websites and web apps.

“Disabilities” in the phrase “people with disabilities” refers to many things, all of which are important factors being addressed by web accessibility guidelines. Here’s a summary of what these disabilities are in the context of access to websites:

  • Visual impairment and blindness - According to global data on visual impairment from the World Health Organization (WHO), around 285 million people worldwide have visual difficulties, 39 million of whom are blind. It is also estimated that 82 percent of people 50 years or older are blind. To allow these people to use websites, it is important to make sure that sites are compatible with assistive tech tools such as screen readers.
  • Dyslexia and reading difficulties - A report from Dyslexia and Literacy International says at least 1 in every 10 people suffer or around 700 million people worldwide are dyslexic. To enable better web access for them, more readable fonts and font sizes should be used.
  • Color blindness - Nonprofit community interest group Colorblnind Awareness estimates that 8 percent of men and 0.5 percent of women are colorblind. To improve their access to websites, it is recommended to give the option to modify the color palette of a site.
  • Focus issues - People with cognitive and learning disabilities may find it difficult to maintain focus when seeing web pages. To improve web access for them, it helps to provide focus aids like rulers or filters overlaid on pages.
  • Deafness or hearing difficulties - Based on WHO numbers, more than 400 million people have disabling hearing loss or impairments. To allow them to access online content that includes audio, it is crucial to provide closed captions and supplementary texts whenever sounds are played.
  • Dexterity difficulties - Some people find it difficult or are unable to use their hands to navigate websites through a mouse or touchscreen. The solution: voice-based or keyboard-based navigation.
  • Photosensitive epilepsy - According to the Epilepsy Society, 1 percent of the global population suffers from epilepsy, and 3 percent of them are categorized as photosensitive. They suffer seizures when they see flashing lights or high-contrast color combinations and patterns. To be inclusive for these people, it is advisable to provide different versions of web pages that do not have flashing animations and seizure-inducing colors.

To emphasize, there are millions of people who don’t get to access crypto trading and decentralized finance simply because the websites of trading and DeFi platforms are not accessible.

The true cost of an inaccessible trading platform

Many of the world’s leading crypto trading platforms are not built with web accessibility in mind. Not only does this look bad, but it is putting you at risk of a potential lawsuit. Trading platform Interactive Brokers is facing a lawsuit for failure to design, maintain, and operate its website to be fully accessible to blind or visually-impaired persons.

Losing a site accessibility lawsuit can be extremely expensive. Add to this the legal costs needed to defend against a web accessibility lawsuit. An article on The Next Web estimates that, on average, an accessibility case can cost around $10,000. That is just for a single case. Imagine how that amount blows up when dealing with multiple lawsuits.

Transitioning to an accessible trading platform

With the various disabilities or difficulties listed above, web accessibility may seem like a rather tall order to fill. Think of the amount of work or the costs needed to edit all of the pages and content of a site to serve people with different disabilities.

Digital marketing specialist Jennifer Bailey did some research on the cost of making a site web-accessible, and the numbers she found were stunning. The costs are in the range of $3,000 to $50,000, depending on the size of a site. The more pages and content there are, the costlier it gets.

This cost is not a one-time affair. As websites change and update their content, this new content also needs to be accessible.

Fortunately, web accessibility does not have to be this costly and exhausting. With the help of artificial intelligence and automation, web accessibility can be achieved without overhauling entire websites or modifying them page after page. An automated solution,such as accessiBe, can make your entire website accessible within as little as 48 hours.

Once accessiBe is installed, a persistent web accessibility button appears on all pages of the website. This button makes it possible for site visitors to modify the appearance of the website to suit their needs. For example, users can stop animations and change color schemes in case they suffer from photosensitive seizures. Their technology scans for new and revised content to fix every 24 hours, so you don’t need to worry when publishing new content. Furthermore, with accessiBe you can be sure your trading platform will be compliant with the standards specified in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Expanding trading inclusion through web accessibility

Web accessibility is a responsibility that comes with benefits for businesses that build online platforms and services--and this includes trading platforms and decentralized technologies. The compelling reason is that by providing better access to persons with disabilities, you can better grow your customer base.

Crypto and decentralized finance are often championed as solutions for greater financial inclusion. Such inclusion needs to take into account those users who potentially have challenges. Fortunately, it does not have to be expensive and exhausting to implement accessibility changes--AI and automation make it fast, simple, inexpensive, and effective.

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Sheza Gary

Sheza Gary

Project Strategiest

Self Employed

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07 Dec 2018

Location

New York

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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Private Equity Investing in Financial Technology

A community for discussing investments made in financial technology providers by the venture capital and private equity community.


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