New Target recently launched a new website for the national nonprofit Organization for Autism Research (OAR) called Hire Autism, a job board that offers resources to employers and job seekers alike. The goal of Hire Autism is to expand opportunities for autistic individuals and match them with employers who are eager to hire.
The challenge for New Target was to create a job portal worthy of OAR’s mission to foster a world where autistic people are sought after as employees across all industries, experience levels, and job types.
To that end, we designed a job portal that provides valuable information, support, and resources for autistic job seekers, their support communities, and employers.
The job portal provides friction-free access to online resources for a variety of users as well as ways to access assistance beyond those found in the job portal thus providing an experience, both online and off, via the Hire Autism Navigator program.
Strategy for Hire Autism
Developing friction-free experiences for both the job seeker and the employer was paramount. We also needed a separate experience for community members supporting the higher mission of creating more opportunities for autistic people, a community often times connecting both employers and job seekers through their own independent efforts. Because there were three audiences to serve on this website, we provided intuitive ways for users to self-select their journey.
Keeping the job portal focused on serving these three primary audiences was the foundation of our high-level strategy from day one. We provided a guided tour on top of the job portal in the web browser for first-time visitors to receive detailed tips on how best to search for, or post jobs, within the portal. These features were the real-world application of a multi-audience design strategy developed during our discovery process with OAR’s Hire Autism team.
Our discovery process is based on the Framework for Innovation. The framework ensures that we are creating the right thing for clients before we start to create that thing right.
We maintained a constant collaboration with the client to present updates for them to review and provide feedback taking into account the best user experience for their main audience.
With our strategy in place, we set out to utilize navigation patterns well-established within the job portal design pattern tradition yet provide a distinctly branded, personal feel.
To guide users down the right path, the Hire Autism homepage presents options per audience type to get people to their information quickly.
Facets and filters are of great importance for both job and event posting website pages. That’s why we needed to ensure our design offered features to provide personalized segmentation for both job seekers and employers alike. Audiences, job types, keyword searches, and more ensure that users are curating a personalized experience.
Website design features such as list, month, and day views provide multiple ways to engage with the content and don’t force users into any one organization-preferred way but provide them with the choice architecture that suits them.
Informational pages use visual cues, colors, and clean design elements to pull readers down the page to learn about the Hire Autism job portal, the OAR’s broader work, or the staff supporting the program.
Understanding that people use digital tools in different ways is a key design principle at New Target and it always means in each project that we provide multiple ways to access and view content based on a user’s preferences so there is no additional stress or confusion caused by any design decisions.
The Hire Autism job portal is powered by WordPress. Given the complexity of the project, Scrum was adopted as an agile framework to help in the development process giving the Hire Autism team the transparency to review progress every two weeks and provide feedback as early as possible.
Geo search was implemented so the job seekers are able to find job postings near their preferred location.
Employer users are able to manage colleagues and all the information related to their company. It allows the employer users to log in with their own username and password.
We migrated the information from an outdated Codelgniter-powered system and implemented a mechanism to make the users’ password migration transparent, so the users are able to log in using the same credentials they had in the old system.
The new Gutenberg editing experience was implemented so content editors can use pre-built components in the new pages without technical knowledge.
Personalized user profiles and accounts were implemented based on role. Users are able to manage their personal information, job posts, job alerts, company details from their own profile and account pages.
An integration with the Neon CRM was implemented, so all the user information is pushed to Neon. A Mailchimp integration was implemented to subscribe users to surveys when they download resources.
Email notifications were implemented for each step of the hiring process, so job seekers and employers are kept informed about applications.
Managed Hosting & Website Maintenance
Providing a hosting environment tailored to the application it is serving is a unique integrated service New Target offers. Serious website developers need to have strong relationships with network and hosting engineers, and here we have them both on staff serving our clients in a truly integrated manner.
For Hire Autism’s job portal, we’re providing a hosting environment in the New Target cloud as well as ongoing website maintenance and support to ensure the full stack of software from application to server-level are up to date and performing optimally.