In July, last year, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® sent an advisory out that brokers were receiving demand letters regarding the inaccessibility of their websites. A group called Access4All, Inc notified Massachusetts and Florida Realtor® associations that having property information sites that were not accessible violated Fair Housing Laws, since blind, vision impaired, and other disabled people did not have access to MLS and other property information sites.
This legal notice had a silver lining for our company. The call to action inspired by this issue led me to find a quality system for 4BuyersRE.com.
How the 4 Buyers website serves vision impaired buyers
Since we are exclusive buyer’s agents, we don’t run a property information feed from our website to highlight our listings for sale. (We don’t have listings for sale!) So, our clients get private MLS feeds from us; many of you web-around other property sites, too. Our website helps you in your house hunting in other ways.
We have been doing the basics to assist vision impaired website visitors to navigate our website for a long time. When we set up the website, I sought out a mortgage calculator that works for vision impaired users. But, we hadn’t audited this for some time. Technologies change. I took this as a wake-up call. I sought some guidance on this.
An advisor found a subscription that will keep the site up to standard, as technologies change. AccessiBe was our choice.
I was looking to make our site better for vision impaired users, but this one does much more. Not only does AccessiBe serve visually impaired website users through enlarged print and compatibility with voice readers, it has features I’ve never seen before.
I spent some time using some of these, just to see how they worked. You can do that, too (except the ones that need special software to voice read and run a keyboard). If you go to 4Buyersre.com, look for the blue circle with the person icon. It is in the bottom right corner. You can test out:
- Seizure safe profile
- Cognitive disability profile
- ADHD friendly profile
- Keyboard navigation (motor) profile
We are proud to serve all our clients better!
After I published this, a reader sent me this guide, which has some additional explanations about how to make our site even better.
On a discouraging note, by August, the National Association of Realtors® fought efforts to require that real estate sites be accessible.