3.2 Designing and developing inclusive online job application platforms: Improving accessibility and user experience

Accessibility is what gives applicants an equitable way of controlling and using technology through a user interface. Both accessibility and usability help improve the user experience and the effectiveness of technology: usability focuses on the user experience in broad terms, while accessibility addresses the specific needs of users with functional differences or limitations. The point of overlap between accessibility and usability during the consideration of online application features (such as a volume control feature that benefits everyone) is referred to as “universal design”, namely designing products so they can be used by the widest range of people possible. Many usability issues can become insurmountable barriers for users with disabilities.

The following elements must therefore be accessible to, and usable by, all candidates, including those with disabilities:

online job advertisements
job application platforms
screening tools
videoconferencing platforms used for interviews

Recommendations for improving the usability of online job application platforms:

Identify form fields clearly.
Indicate all required fields clearly.
Indicate data format preferences clearly.
Provide accessible feedback where users enter incorrect information.
Provide textual equivalents of inaccessible maps.
Ensure that all data fields make logical sense (for example, avoid requiring an end date for a job that participants have marked as their current job).

Source: Lazar, Jonathan, Abiodun Olalere, and Brian Wentz, “Investigating the accessibility and usability of job application web sites for blind users”, Journal of User Experience 7, No. 2.