Reach is proud to announce that our candidate portal software has been awarded AAA accreditation in WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) by the Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC).
We have achieved the highest level of accreditation available, creating the best possible experience for all users accessing our portal. The Government expect all public sector websites to achieve AA to collaborate with them, but at Reach, we know that our clients expect us to deliver the best experience and so, we worked hard to obtain AAA. Reaching AAA is a rare achievement for any company, especially when you learn that many companies’ websites do not even adhere to the A standard set by the WCAG 2.1
WCAG have outlined three levels of compliance for their latest 2.1 standard – A, AA, and AAA which means
- A level – Your website has minimal compliance, but it is still exceedingly difficult for people with disabilities to use
- AA level – This is the Government recommended compliance level, which means your website is usable and understandable for people with and without disabilities
- AAA level – Your website has optimal compliance and is accessible to the maximum number of users, while making the experience easy.
As a company that believes in inclusivity and equality, we want to ensure that candidates with disabilities or cognitive/learning difficulties are able to use their candidate portal to apply and manage their applications in the same way as those without a disability. With over 14 million disabled people within the UK, we wanted to create a fair and equal opportunity when it comes to applying for a vacancy.
We commissioned the Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC) to undertake a thorough audit of our candidate portal software and conduct the application journey as a candidate. The audit consisted of a manual technical audit and meticulous and detailed user testing. The user testing required an experienced team of users, all of whom have real-life disabilities, to undertake over 70 hours of rigorous testing. They scrutinised the software by using a wide variety of assistive technologies to assess accessibility. These assistive technologies included screen readers, voice activation software, keyboard-only and pointing devices and many more.
Our technical development team undertook a complete review of our candidate portal code and style to bring it in line with the WCAG 2.1 AA standard – the Government recommended compliance level – but we aimed higher and set our sights on the AAA standard. We are thrilled to achieve the AAA standard by adapting our technology to comply with the stringent and demanding guidelines set by the WCAG to allow screen recorders and other accessible technologies to interpret the code whilst maintaining the journey and usability.
We’ve also introduced an accessibility mode that can be easily set by the candidate and will remain every time they log in. This enforces the stricter rules and styles required to meet the AAA standard without impacting those who do not wish to use it.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the accessibility options that we have introduced into the candidate portal that helped us achieve the AAA accreditation.
Many users with mobility disabilities will rely on a keyboard or mouth stick to navigate a website or portal instead of a mouse or trackpad. Therefore, not only did our development team ensure that the portal is correctly tagged, but that the keyboard navigation order was in a logical and intuitive format that followed the visual flow of the page.
Screen reading software uses a text-to-speech program to translate the text on the screen into clear and concise audio – providing your website is correctly tagged. Screen readers allow candidates who have limited, or no vision to interact and understand what is on screen. By implementing screen reading technology into Reach, we have opened our candidate portal to allow those who are registered blind or have low visibility to independently submit an application.
Individuals who have been diagnosed with low colour contrast sensitivity struggle to detect the differences between light and dark areas, for example, white text on a black background but increasing the contrast or changing the colour scheme can help make the text or image more visible.
By achieving the DAC AAA accreditation, we have made the Reach candidate portal accessible to all and removed a barrier that has prevented many from previously entering the workforce. We are proud to be leading the way when it comes to inclusivity and equality within recruitment while creating an equal and positive candidate experience for everyone.
The accessibility tools within the candidate portal software are optional for our clients, but for those who are within the public sector, it is a requirement of your website.
If you are looking for recruitment technology that is accessible to all and as the relevant accreditations to go alongside your software then chat to our team, who will be more than happy to show you how the system works and how you can be an inclusive employer. Call 01527 574408 to find out more.