As one of several technology products dominating the eRecruiting space, Oracle’s Taleo Talent Acquisition Cloud is a solution that many businesses worldwide use to source and manage talent. But Taleo is also a case study in accessibility, and those tuning in to our latest PEAT Talk had a front row seat for the story of Oracle’s ongoing journey to make this platform accessible to users with disabilities. PEAT was excited to welcome Peter Wallack, Senior Director of Oracle’s Accessibility Program; Ali Moosvi, Product Management Director of Taleo Development; and Priyanka Jampana, Accessibility Test Engineer.

Peter began by introducing the company’s development model, which makes Oracle its own customer by design—thereby ensuring that they experience the multifaceted value of making accessible products firsthand because they use their own products internally. “By making our products accessible,” Peter explained, “we’re increasing our ability to sell, the ability of our customers to sell and interact with people with disabilities, and our own ability to employ the best and brightest, regardless of whether they have a disability or not.”

Peter went on to frame Oracle’s five-step development process, which makes accessibility standards such as WCAG and the recent Section 508 refresh a top priority. He outlined the five steps they follow to make a product accessible:

  1. Design it properly
  2. Develop it properly
  3. Do the proper documentation
  4. Test it
  5. Write a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

While Oracle applies this process to products it develops from the ground up, Taleo came to Oracle through an acquisition in 2012. The company has since worked to build accessibility into the existing platform, a more complicated task that underlines the need to prioritize accessibility in the beginning of any development process.

Although Oracle knew of certain accessibility issues before a session with PEAT in 2015, Peter credits PEAT for publicizing the extent of problems plaguing online job application systems. In particular, PEAT’s finding that 46% of people with disabilities had rated their last experience applying for a job online as “difficult to impossible” served as a wake-up call.

One of the biggest issues Oracle uncovered is that many accessibility problems arise post-purchase, when customers customize the product to match company branding and add their own content. To assist clients in maintaining the accessibility of Taleo, Oracle provides accessibility documentation and encourages them to reach out for support from the Taleo accessibility team when configuring and deploying the system. However, Peter stressed that HR staff training is also a critical piece of the puzzle, as online job application accessibility requires use of features such as HTML heading structures and proper color contrast.

In the second half of the presentation, Ali provided an overview of Oracle’s accessibility successes to date, as well as their next priorities. The Talent Acquisition Cloud includes three core modules that form a funnel of interaction:

  • Sourcing, where job candidates learn about and apply for positions;
  • Applications, where recruiters use the platform to screen candidates, schedule interviews, and extend job offers; and
  • Onboarding, where new hires receive access to what they need to prepare for their first day on the job.

Currently, the Taleo team’s top priority is to ensure full accessibility at the sourcing level, where the most people interact with the system. Through a continuously alternating process of coding followed by a series of six rigorous accessibility tests, the team has succeeded in bringing about a significantly more accessible product. Ali mentioned several noteworthy accessibility accomplishments, including such features as alt text on images, meaningful headings, skip links, and screenreader-accessible error alerts. The company is also aware that Taleo is not yet fully accessible, and it works to be transparent about existing accessibility issues within its VPATs.

Priyanka wrapped up the webinar by leading attendees through a live demonstration of how Taleo works with a screenreader, including a demo of how users receive system alerts about errors in accessible formats. The team concluded by emphasizing that eRecruiting technology does not exist in a vacuum, so “it’s important to recognize that while we are focusing on building out an accessible candidate experience, we sit inside a broader ecosystem that also needs to become aware of these needs and also build with those requirements in mind.”

And that’s a call-to-action for all technology developers to heed.

To learn more about Taleo and Oracle’s overall focus on accessibility, check out the archived PEAT Talk. And please be sure to share your thoughts and comments below on how your business is making the most of accessible eRecruiting technology to connect with qualified job candidates from a diverse pool of talent.