Challenges for Job Seekers
The Partnership on Employment and Accessible Technology (PEAT) survey found that 46 percent of respondents rated their last experience applying for a job online as “difficult to impossible.” Of those, 9 percent were unable to complete the application and 24 percent required assistance from the employer. Of those applicants who required assistance, 58 percent were still unable to finish the application.
- The types of disabilities, as self-reported by the respondents, were as follows:
- Cognitive and/or intellectual disabilities—29 percent.
- Deaf or hard of hearing—26 percent.
- Physical and/or motor disabilities—21 percent.
- “Other” or declined to state their disability—14 percent.
- Blind or having a visual impairment—10 percent.
“The biggest challenges I encounter when dealing with online job applications are design and development-related problems,” said Sassy Outwater, a Boston-based advocate for small business digital accessibility, who is blind.
Problems include improperly labeled links and buttons, image-based parts of the application, untagged PDF files, and edit fields without accessible character-limit instructions, such as year fields that require two characters instead of four.
Some of the common difficulties job seekers with disabilities experience are:
- Complex navigation and timeout restrictions.
- Poor screen contrast.
- Applications that relied on color, graphics or text embedded with graphics to convey directions or important information.
- Images that conveyed information, but did not have alternative text for individuals using screen readers.
- Applications that could not be navigated with keystrokes and required using a mouse.
- Videos or audio instructions that were not closed captioned.
- CAPTCHA tests—used to determine whether or not the user is human—without an audio option.
- Lack of information on how to request an accommodation.