Why British Business Bank prioritised accessibility in 2020

A focus on people, process and technology allowed the government-owned bank to reduce accessibility issues by 96%.

British Business Bank is committed to creating a culture of inclusion and belonging, and making its content as accessible as possible to the widest possible audience was a key priority for the government-owned bank in 2020.

The digital and direct marketing team of 14 – who also worked on Covid-19 loan and recovery schemes – was faced with over 30,000 errors to fix across each site ahead of regulation requiring public sector bodies to make all existing websites accessible by September 2020.

Difficulties were compounded further by the demands of the financial crisis, which had increased demand for the bank’s services. British Business Bank needed to act fast to turn the digital shopfront of the business around to ensure an inclusive, barrier-free experience for all of its users, regardless of technology or ability.

To do this, the bank framed its execution around three key pillars: people, process and technology. The marketing team – who have all joined the business from a variety of backgrounds – began their journey with staff training, capability-building and awareness, incorporating accessibility into objectives and personal development plans as well.

The team next looked for technology that would allow them to identify the scale of the challenge and apply best practice to design principles in future. The process then progressed to sharing knowledge with the wider business about the importance of accessibility, which was included in job specifications while colleagues were upskilled to help fix the website errors.

By working to this framework, the bank achieved best-in-class accessibility with a 96% reduction in accessibility issues – 72% of which were addressed within a two-month period – and reduced the average number of issues per page from 6.24 to 0.22.

This culminated in the bank winning it the Diversity and Inclusion Champion award at 2021’s Marketing Week Masters.

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