Over 11 million people are living with a disability in the UK. However, our data shows that not all workplace pension provider websites, portals and extranets adhere to web content accessibility guidelines to make sure those with disabilities are adequately catered for.
In our latest insight we look at accessibility standards and what workplace pension providers are doing to make sure their content is disability friendly.
Disability is more likely to affect those over State Pension age, with nearly 80% of those over the age of 85 being classified as disabled. Therefore, you would have thought that with at least half an eye on retirement, workplace pension providers would be very au-fait with web content accessibility.
It is not just drawdown and in-retirement content that needs to be designed with accessibility in mind. There are over 4.4 million disabled people in work with total spending power of £274bn a year, according to charity Scope.
However, our data shows that some workplace pension providers are falling at even the most basic of web accessibility hurdles. Whilst most websites, portals and extranets from providers adhere to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 to either A or AA levels, those from Fidelity, Hargreaves Lansdown and True Potential sadly do not.
When it comes to testing the accessibility, our data shows that most provider will use third party tools. Those who do not use them are Fidelity and True Potential.
Hargreaves Lansdown has a testing team who use a number of tools to test the accessibility of its sites but did not share which tools those are.
Other than Fidelity and True Potential, all workplace pension providers also have their website, portal and/or extranet tested for accessibility by a professional with an accessibility specialty.
Aegon Master Trust, Aegon Workplace ARC, Hargreaves Lansdown, Legal & General, Legal & General Master Trust, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Scottish Widows GSIPP and Scottish Widows Master Trust use a third-party specialist. Other providers use their own in-house accessibility specialist.
Our data shows that over half (56%) of providers only test their website, portal or extranet for accessibility at development. Those who do test on an ongoing basis review quarterly (Aviva Designer, Aviva My Money, Aviva My Money Master Trust, Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust, Mercer Master Trust Aviva and Royal London) or annually (Legal & General and Legal & General Master trust).
User testing is broadly spread, with only Legal & General and Legal & General Master Trust not carrying out testing with users who may suffer with accessibility issues such as visual disabilities.
There are many different types of disabilities with which sufferers may benefit from additional web accessibility measures. Broadly disabilities fit into six categories: physical, visual, hearing, mental health, intellectual, and learning disabilities. People with different disabilities require different forms of assistance when it comes to online accessibility and there are many tools which can help.
One set of tools is assistive technology (ie JAWS, Windows Eyes, Supernova, NVDA). Our data shows that most workplace pension provider online services work with assistive technology. However, those from Aviva My Money Master Trust, Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust, Mercer Master Trust Aviva and True Potential do not.
Screen magnifiers (ie ZoomText and MAGic) can also be a very useful accessibility tool. Our data shows that other than those from Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust, Mercer Master Trust Aviva and Mercer Master Trust Scottish Widows, all workplace pension provider services work with screen magnifiers.
Speech recognition software such as Dragon Naturally Speaking can be a very useful tool for those with a range of disabilities. However, our data shows that only the services from Aegon Master Trust, Aegon Workplace ARC, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Standard Life, Standard Life DC Master Trust and True Potential work with speech recognition software.
One of the most common forms of disability is colour blindness, with around 4.5% of the entire population being colour blind. Our data shows that only eight workplace pension providers offer adjustments online for colour blind users: Aegon Master Trust, Aegon Workplace ARC, Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust, Hargreaves Lansdown, Scottish Widows, Scottish Widows GSIPP and Scottish Widows Master Trust.
Blindness is another common disability, with an estimated 2 million people in the UK being registered as blind or partially sighted. This is expected to double to 4 million by 2025.
Our data shows that it is the same eight providers who offer adjustments to their online content for customers with low/no vision.
Perhaps the most common disability in the UK is dyslexia. According to the British Dyslexia Association, the number of people with dyslexia in the UK is around 10% with around 4% at the severe end of the dyslexia scale.
However, according to our data, only six workplace pension providers currently offer adjustments to their online content for customers with dyslexia: Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust, Hargreaves Lansdown, Scottish Widows, Scottish Widows GSIPP and Scottish Widows Master Trust.
When it comes to development and ongoing management of online services, most workplace pension providers have teams which manage accessibility standards. Other than Aviva My Money Master Trust and Mercer Master Trust Aviva all workplace pension providers have a multidisciplinary team in place who design, build and operate their online service. All providers also use agile methods when building their website, portal or extranet.
Overall, our data shows that whilst some workplace pension providers are falling at even the most basic of web accessibility hurdles, others are offering a broad range of accessibility support. When looking at the broad picture, those providers offering the most in terms of accessibility are Aegon Master Trust, Aegon Workplace ARC, Hargreaves Lansdown, Scottish Widows, Scottish Widows GSIPP and Scottish Widows Master Trust.