The Possibility Pool
Building a Platform That Helps People With Disabilities Build Their Career
For people with disabilities, employment is lifeblood to independence, confidence, and financial security. But these individuals have a more difficult time finding employment, particularly meaningful employment, than any other population. Take for instance the fact that over half of disabled Denverites are without a job, at a time of record low unemployment rates across the broader population. With support from the City and County of Denver, we partnered with The Possibility Pool to attack the problem head-on, creating a platform that pairs job seekers and employers based on an elegant set of matching algorithms.
The Possibility Pool is a connection point between employers and job seekers who are affected by a disability. The organization brings together job seekers, employers, and service agencies to expand the options for sustainable, meaningful employment for adults with disabilities. The nonprofit is involved in every part of a prospect’s job search, including ensuring a good match, preparing for the interview, and helping maintain a fruitful working relationship after placement.
Creating an Accessible Experience
To create the digital platform for job seekers, we conducted qualitative research to understand how people who experience disabilities interact with computers. Our expert design team set out to implement an accessible design for people experiencing visual, physical, cognitive, and neurological impairment. Each group has very different requirements and challenges when accessible web design is considered. It was our goal was to make the digital experience simple and intuitive for everyone.
When it comes to placing disabled candidates with an employer, a good match is key. We designed and developed a “matching profile” functionality that uses an algorithm to pair job seekers with employers. Our UX team paired down a starter list of 40 questions to 20 with just 11 required. Best practice shows, for each removed question a user is more likely to complete a form. Fewer steps reduce the cognitive load on the user, something that is particularly important to accessible design.
Testing and Iterating
In order to validate our design hypotheses, we built a high-fidelity platform prototype and conducted usability testing with a range of users with varying capabilities. We observed three key trends during testing. First, the structure of the form was an important feature of the design. It was much easier for the user to focus on answering one question at a time. The final design follows a Turbo-Tax like interface that shows just one question on the screen. The next change involved the legibility of text. We discovered that if the required user action was prominently displayed in the imperative form, users had an easier time taking the next step. The final finding concerned the tone of copy. We had to balance a fun and motivational without patronizing the user.
At this stage, we’ve produced an MVP to enable The Possibility Pool to run a pilot program. The initial phase supports a small group of people though the job search and the first six months of employment, with a goal of raising funds to continue the work.
Spire is incredibly proud to be partnered with The Possibility Pool. Our community continues to support the organization. We’ve signed up to be an inclusive employer and look forward to welcoming our first placement. Our VP of Strategy, Dave, even had a cameo in The Possibility Pool’s promo video.
Our project is a complicated one, with several partners and constant curve-balls. The team at Spire rolls with us, and never loses focus on what counts. Each member of their team has shown the highest level of attention to detail and support during the process. Spire has been so heartfelt about getting to know our mission and our clients, not just our project. They are simply the best I have come across.
Director, The Possibility Pool