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Recently, Margy Grant, FR Lead Counsel, spoke at the Florida Realtors Broker Summit and said that she has started receiving calls about something she had never dealt with before – ADA compliant website lawsuits. For a website, being ADA compliant basically means that the visually and hearing impaired can use it as easily as anyone else.
Ms. Grant also stated that about 30 Brokers across the state of FL are currently in litigation for not having ADA compliant websites. These lawsuits are brought by lawyer(s) who just happen to have a consulting business that can fix the website for you, for a price. While the intent behind these suits is indeed questionable, the fact of the matter is the issue will not be going away and we should all pitch in to the effort of becoming compliant.
In our research of the subject we have found these interesting tidbits of information:
- The Department of Justice (DOJ) has not yet issued a clear mandate of web accessibility.
- Changes can be implemented incrementally. In past settlement orders, the DOJ has generally allowed businesses up to 18 months to implement necessary accessibility changes to their sites.
- The ADA.gov website is not absolutely compliant with existing guidelines. In fact some PROSites we’ve tested so far have come up more compliant than the ADA’s site.
This does not mean we’re finished with the job. All the rules (Google rules, accessibility rules, coding and mobile-friendliness rules, etc.) are constantly evolving. PROTECH will continue to research and apply Industry Guidelines for our clients’ sites.
Industry Guidelines suggest:
• Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
• Provide captions and alternatives for audio and video content.
• Use sufficient contrast to make things easy to see and hear.
• Make all functionality keyboard accessible.
• Give users enough time to read and use content.
• Help users navigate and find content.
See more Guidelines here.
We want you all to know we are aware of the issues, and we are researching and developing a timeline and plan to bring all of our clients’ websites into compliance. In the meantime, please be sure than any information, pictures, or videos you add to your website have the necessary alternative descriptions. Please contact us if you need guidance with this.
To finish up, here are some helpful links to additional information on the subject:
Website Accessibility: Not Just About the Law – DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | THURSDAY, MAY 12, 2016
Is Your Website ADA Compliant? – By Meredith Caruso May 2, 2016
Realtor.Mag article Is Your Website ADA Compliant? By Lesley M. Walker, April 2016
Head Off Website Accessibility Issues – By Robert Freedman, July 2014
Are you trying to figure out the unusual landscape of virtual reality and how to use it in your real estate business? For most people, they haven’t had the opportunity to experience Virtual Reality, but they will get their chance soon as the technology goes mainstream.
Virtual home tours, as they have existed for many years, have mainly been panoramic images that are static photos and displayed in a web browser only. The next generation of virtual tours is 360 degree videos which can be viewed on both a web browser and through Virtual Reality headsets. In March of 2015, Youtube debuted their 360 Degree videos channel. This has opened up a huge opportunity for the real estate industry to feature properties in the best online presentation possible. Now anyone in the world can view a real estate property with a VR headset and view that home in 3D.
Watch the following 360 Degree video and click on the video and drag the video in any direction to change the view of the video (this works in Chrome and Firefox browsers, it currently doesn’t work in Internet Explorer):
Watch the following video for a review of the best 360 Cameras you can buy: