Skandiabanken is a Norwegian online bank founded in 2000. The bank’s ambition is to be the leader in UX, something that is demonstrated by the fact that they for many years have scored very high in customer satisfaction measured by Norsk Kundebarometer, a Norwegian customer satisfaction barometer. When the bank decided to develop a new website they chose to cooperate with Funka to make sure that it was accessible for all.

We have interviewed Snorre Kim, Developer at Skandiabanken, about their work with Funka. Snorre was also a speaker at Funka Accessibility Days earlier this year and told the audience about how Skandiabanken’s efforts for increased accessibility have created a better UX for all of their customers

Skandiabanken has assigned Funka for support during your development, tell us more!

- Funka’s Torbjørn Helland Solhaug has been helpful in gradually helping us increase our own knowledge base. Starting with accessibility was a daunting task (especially after taking our first look at the massive amount of WCAG 2.0 documentation we were supposed to follow) and Torbjørn helped navigate the seemingly complex set of rules.

- Gradually, as our in-house knowledge has increased, we have been getting into the more complex parts of accessibility. Things like complex javascript plugins and usage of WAI-ARIA.

- Torbjørn has also been a great advocate for doing more than just being compliant with legislation. The simple fact is that you can follow all the rules, yet still create a less than mediocre solution. For once, the subset of rules we need to follow are rather limited when it comes to touch devices, and many rules are rather vague on exactly what it means to be compliant. With Torbjørn's help, we have been focusing on being good at accessibility, not simply on following the rules.

Why is accessibility in IT important to Skandiabanken?

- Skandiabanken has as business goals to be the best at digital user experience and accessibility, and self-service solutions and effective processes. Accessibility is a very concrete part of reaching those goals. We cannot really argue that we have the best user experience if some of our customers have to activate their own high contrast stylesheets to read it, or if users that zoom in cannot see that there is an error in their form. We want to make sure we are the best when it comes to online banking solutions, and today, with the new legislation, accessibility is part of that.

- Accessibility has also proven to be a positive force behind creating generally good UX, regardless of a user’s abilities. Better colour contrasts, consistent use of icons, and more understandable text give obvious advantages, as does having good keyboard navigation. It also helps cement the need for semantically correct HTML, which is a general best practice we were already intended on following.

What kind of response have your efforts received from your clients?

- Honestly? Very little. Only a very small part of the responses we get from customers has anything to do with accessibility.

- And the responses we do get are complaints about things that don't work. Which is generally the case with most responses. People don't tell you when something works, they tell you when it's broken.

- Personally, I love the feedback, and I wish there was more of it, even if they're all complaints. Of course, I would love it if people were calling us telling us how great our new sites are. But I'm not blind, or color blind. I do not have poor vision. And the truth is, no matter how much I learn about accessibility, nothing beats actual user experience by users with actual disabilities. There has already been several issues that we had either not found, or simply didn’t have the proper ability to notice, that has been pointed out to us.

- I'd like to make clear that we're not “finished” with accessibility. Accessibility is not something we are going to one day wrap up and say "There! Now it's accessible!" and then stop. It's a part of the development process, for all our sites, future and current. And because I know that we are constantly working on it, every complaint is just another thing I know we can make better.

Skandiabanken (in Norwegian), opens in new window