As part of Madgex’s dedication to continuously improving user experience for our clients and jobseekers, we recently conducted an in-depth accessibility audit for our Job Board and CV Search & Match platforms. Headed by our new Lead UX Consultant Tracy Godding and Front End Developer Katrina Alves de Sousa, the aim of the audit was to gauge the current level of accessibility but also to highlight areas for immediate and future improvement.
Why is accessibility important?
Much like a building needs specific facilities catering for people with disabilities, a website also needs to be viewed in the same manner. Information on any website should be available for everyone regardless of ability, technology and environment. To put this into context and fully appreciate just how important this issue is we only need to look at the statistics for UK below:
- There are approximately 10 million disabled people in Great Britain covered by the Equality Act, which represents around 18% of the population. 1
- Over 6.7 million disabled people are of working age which represents 18% of the working population. 2
- 2 million people have a sight problem and every day another 100 people start to lose their sight. 3
- The estimated annual purchasing power of people with disabilities is £80 billion. 4
- An accessible website can increase a company's UK market audience by more than 17%, and boosts traffic because it will be indexed more efficiently by search engines. 5
The four groups of people affected are those with visual, auditory, cognitive and physical issues. Websites designed and built with little regard for accessibility will result in problems viewing images, forms, links, navigation and multi-media. This leads to a frustrating user experience restricting engagement on a fundamental level and can negatively impact a brand.
What we did
As part of the audit we looked closely at our platform and conducted expert reviews of key pages, utilised various testing tools for browsers, used screen readers and stringently applied WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Despite making a concerted effort to comply fully with the current guidelines historically, we wanted to ensure our platform has the functionality needed for the best possible user experience. We also know that with changes in browser technologies and the increased use of HTML 5 that we could identify areas for future improvement.
Overall the Madgex Job Board and CV Search & Match platforms produced extremely positive results. By closely adhering to Web Standards we have ensured we conform to good levels of usability and accessibility but there is still room for improvement. With just a few tweaks we can achieve compliance with the WCAG Accessibility Guidelines to the AA standard (There are 3 levels – A, AA and AAA).
The main issues identified were relating to:
- Colour contrast between text and background that may create readability issues which could cause problems for colour blind and low sighted users.
- Form messaging and consistency of labeling and error system which could make form completion difficult for users with screen readers.
- Some functionality produces an illogical reading order which would be a problem for screen readers and users navigating with a keyboard.
We believe firmly believe in championing accessibility to help our clients reap the rewards gained from compliance with WCAG 2.0 guidelines. Following our findings our product team has already started looking at implementing the recommendations from the audit for inclusion in future platform releases. The changes will benefit both clients and jobseekers by enabling pages to load faster, improve search engine visibility and create better usability.
As part of the audit process we are preparing a white paper which will available to all Madgex clients which will outline our findings in more detail. We will be in touch with more information shortly.
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1. Family Resources Survey, Disability prevalence estimates 2008
2. Labour Force Survey, May 2009
3. RNIB website
4. Family Resource Survey 2002/2003
5. Nomensa humanising technology report, January 2011