Did you know that your website should be accessible to people with disabilities? The Department of Justice has been involved in lawsuits against companies like H&R Block and Target to prove they are serious about the issue. Because of this litigation NAR is urging brokers to take action now.
How does accessibility impact my website? For brick and mortar businesses, accessibility translates into enlarged doorways, hallways, parking spots near the building, etc. For online businesses, it means items like the ability to enlarge fonts for those with poor vision and including captions on videos for the deaf.
What steps do I need to take to avoid litigation? The official DOJ regulations are not expected until 2018, but there are task your website developer can do immediately. Here is an outline of the steps to take:
- Contact your website developer about the need for your site to be accessible and provide this URL, which is a paraphrased summary of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0: https://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/glance/.
- Ask your developer to evaluate the changes that need to be made to your site, based on the guidelines above.
- Create a plan of action and a timeline to incrementally make those changes.
- Be sure to discuss a plan that ensures new features added in the future will be accessible as well.
What can I do to protect myself now? While the evaluation is being conducted, it is suggested you add contact information to your site for anyone who has accessibility problems. This shows you are aware of the issue and are working on it. It will also give you the opportunity to address the specific need of the individual and perhaps avoid litigation. For example, this statement appears at the bottom of the ColoProperty.com® Home page:
NAR will continue to keep tabs on this important upcoming legislation. You can learn more by reviewing their video Window to the Law: Accessible Websites and the ADA: http://www.realtor.org/videos/window-to-the-law-accessible-websites-and-the-ada. CAR has also produced a video on the topic which can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tDH3Ri5YyQ#t=28