Skipton Building Society: Accessible Digital Communications

A picture of Bev, a member of the RiDC panel, using her laptop
Skipton Building Society
20 Jan 2021

Skipton's company logoLike many building societies, with over a million members, Skipton’s customer base includes a large number of older people.

Aware that the likelihood of disability rises with age, Skipton approached us to find out how they could improve the accessibility of their communications and ensure the information they sent would be received and understood by all.  

Skipton has a track record of conducting consumer testing but had not previously looked specifically at accessibility focused consumer testing. With our panel of over 1,700 disabled people, RiDC was commissioned as specialists in accessibility research and asked to work on three key projects. 

Increasing email response and customer feedback panel 

Skipton were recruiting members for a new customer feedback panel and wanted to ensure that their invitation email was accessible for all. They gave us two proposed emails which we evaluated with 30 members of our panel - splitting them into two groups who received one of the emails to their own device at home. We compared the emails using an ‘A, B’ comparative testing method, and panel members also made recommendations on how accessibility could be improved and what they found engaging or off-putting. 

An accessible customer journey to renewal 

Skipton wanted to make sure that renewing a savings account would be easy for everyone, and to ensure that they provided effective support with accessible communications to make the process simpler. To assess this, we looked at the whole online savings maturity customer journey and evaluated it for accessibility. This included an accessibility and usability workshop at Skipton’s HQ in 2019, where RiDC consumer panel members reviewed the emails sent to customers.

Ensuring their mobile app can be used by all 

Skipton had recently developed a mobile app for its customers and wanted to ensure it could be used by all its customers. They were particularly interested in getting feedback on how it was for users with a visual impairment as this can often increase as people get older. Here, we devised and ran an app-testing workshop in London with our panel members. 

For all the projects, RiDC’s research team designed and ran workshops in close consultation with Skipton’s colleagues. Participants were required to follow a series of tasks working online using their own laptops, phones or tablets and were observed and filmed doing so. They also reported on their experience through a questionnaire, which allowed for personal experiences, feelings and suggestions to be recorded.  

“The results have been really positive. Customer interaction with our emails has gone up over 200%. It's exceeded all expectations.” 

 - Hannah Hall, Customer Empathy Manager

A deep insight into the customer experience 

Our detailed reporting to Skipton identified key accessibility findings around design layout, content, calls to action, font and colour contrast. Skipton colleagues also attended the workshops and could see for themselves how disabled and older consumers reacted to the tasks. This gave them first-hand experience of the customer journey from a disabled or older consumer’s perspective.

The research has had a major impact. A number of operational emails have been redesigned to have a clearer call to action, clearer links and more accessible fonts and colour contrast.

Re-development of the Skipton app is a major project for the society. The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a big increase in digital customers. The RiDC findings are being used by the development team when making key decisions on this element, and it is hoped that further testing can take place in 2021. 

“I would absolutely love everything that we release to be accessibility tested, that would be the end goal.”  

- Hannah Hall, Customer Empathy Manager

In 2019 Hannah presented this work to the RiDC Research Exchange. 

See her presentation 'Creating a society where no-one is left out' here