Inclusivity and diversity are two of the most powerful words to ever trend in the past decade. Aside from the global community being more welcome, what is also worthy of celebration is that access to almost everything has been made possible through developments in structures, both in the physical and virtual worlds. Just as buildings have installed more ramps and elevators, the differently-abled now have more means to enjoy technology through brilliant user experience designs.
Let’s zero in on the staffing world. This wave of inclusivity is also a positive change. Everyone has a fair chance to hand in applications to their dream jobs, as being differently-abled is no longer about limitations but possibilities. The goal of the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design is also similar to this. But this act wishes to improve access to all electronic information and technology instead of only improving access to jobs.
Does your staffing agency’s website need to be ADA-compliant? Before we dignify that question with a response, let’s delve right in on these guidelines for the differently-abled and whether your staffing company should be infusing changes on your website to be up to par with set rules on being inclusive, giving way to this growing awareness of diversity.
What is ADA Compliance?
Way back in 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was created. This civil rights law afforded the same protection from discrimination to the differently abled, the way the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protected people from prejudice based on race, religion, gender, and so on. This was an excellent first step in bringing awareness to the needs of the differently-abled towards a more conscientious nation.
True enough, developments came in the forms of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act of 2008, or ADAAA. This amendment gave a more precise definition of “disability,” as applied to various situations such as employment and spaces for public accommodations.
And speaking of improving spaces for the differently-abled, this soon included digital spaces. The 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act for Standards for Accessible Design was published in the Federal Register in September of that year, which requires that entities, such as businesses and public establishments, make all technology and electronic info accessible to anyone. And yes, this includes websites.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG, provide quick references on creating web content that is fully and easily accessible to the differently-abled, as recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium. The considerations for creating a website that celebrates what the ADA stood for can be summarized into four concepts:
- Perceivable: Website visitors must be able to know what the content is, and said website must have all possible means to communicate this content using a variety of media. If someone cannot see the content, options for audio delivery must be available. If the content is audio based, closed captioning must be possible.
- Operable: Aside from content being perceivable, users must be able to navigate the website with ease. Links must be working, buttons must be functional, and the overall user experience exploring the website must be smooth-flowing.
- Understandable: Knowing the content is one, but understanding the content is another. There should be enough provisions to make your website content understandable. Are there enough instructions included? Were there efforts to create succinct content?
- Robust: The website experience must be the same for all users. For example, whoever is filling out employment details on your staffing agency’s website must be able to do so. Additionally, the website must be functional across various browsers, now and in the coming years.
Your staffing agency’s website isn’t ADA-compliant yet. Does it have to be?
In most cases, websites that do not comply with standards set by the US Department of Justice are mostly unintentional. However, this doesn’t prevent your staffing agency from facing lawsuits and legal fees. Lawsuits involving website accessibility are a thing. Plaintiffs mostly mention Title III of the ADA, which states that websites are public accommodation spaces.
But more than just avoiding problems with the law, your staffing agency has more to gain than lose if you start to give it a reputation of being accessible to the differently abled:
- Improve overall user experience: Automatic door openers may be made for the differently-abled, but everyone enjoys them. Why not lend the same accessibility to your website? Users may appreciate bigger text and better color combinations, even if they don’t need it. Remember that the goal of ADA compliance is to improve accessibility to everyone.
- Advocacy alignment: Likely, the clients your staffing agency serves are also all for inclusivity and diversity. The global market for disability is at an estimated $7 trillion, which means spending to make spaces more inclusivity has increased. Improving your services through ADA compliance is a viable next step.
- Improve recruiter brand: Employing differently-abled professionals should not be the end-all and be-all for you and your clients. Assisting them in every way to give them the best recruitment experience bodes well for how clients and candidates will speak about your staffing agency. Your website is only one way to make them feel valued.
Why should your staffing agency’s website be ADA-compliant?
Will your staffing agency be in trouble if you aren’t ADA-compliant? In most cases, websites that do not comply with standards set by the US Department of Justice are mostly unintentional. However, this doesn’t prevent your staffing agency from facing lawsuits and legal fees. But more than just avoiding problems with the law and being sued, your staffing agency has more to gain than lose if you start to give it a reputation of being accessible to the differently-abled:
What are the best practices for websites to be ADA-compliant?
With the four concepts of ADA compliance in mind, there are various means to improve the user experience of the differently-abled. Talking to your web developers is the best first move, and you can show them these suggestions for making tweaks to your staffing agency’s website:
- Alternative texts for images: Some of your website visitors might be using screen readers or software that will allow individuals with low visual functionality. Alternatively, include text that labels the included images so the user can know what is on the website. This contributes to the functionality and appreciation of your website’s content.
- Keyboard navigation: Allowing users with mobility issues to navigate the website without a mouse can improve user experience. Many websites nowadays can be navigated by choice keys on the keyboard, like the Tab key to move across links and the spacebar to draw a page down quickly.
- Adjust colors: Color blindness is a common visual impairment. The red-green color deficiency is probably the most recognizable, with 1 out of 12 men and 1 out of 100 women having it. Contrast checkers can aid in evaluating if your website is accessible to colorblind and other visually-impaired website users. Some of these contract checkers may also recommend the best colors to use to improve accessibility.
- Audits and testing: It’s only imperative that before allowing your staffing agency’s website for public use, give it a thorough inspection and gather differently-abled volunteers to give your website a go. You can tally the firsthand comments to make the final touches to ensure your website is ADA-compliant.
Allied Insight can help your staffing agency be ADA-compliant… and more.
We are on board this advocacy in improving the recruitment experience for your agency’s clients and possible hires, and your website is only the start. Talk to us about brand recognition, marketing delivery, and attracting business opportunities for your staffing agency. We aim to celebrate differences as a means to stand out, and your agency’s uniqueness can be your value proposition. Contact Allied Insight now.