Half of the earth’s population suffers from some form of a diagnosed disability, yet 97% of the worldwide web lacks digital accessibility. That’s a remarkable amount of exclusion for a society that has been so vocal and active in its rightful support of inclusivity. In fact, with 70% of our population contending with visual disabilities, why aren’t more companies making digital accessibility a strategic priority?
ADA-compliant websites have become legally troublesome for many industries, especially in the red-hot real estate market where a heavyweight like Zillow even finds itself on the defensive end of a lawsuit claiming the company failed to design a website that complies with the screen reader software that blind people use to browse the web.
In the U.S., there are over 56 million Americans with a disability, half of whom are living in a household with internet access. Frankly, real estate companies that fail to offer ADA-compliant websites continue to willfully neglect a growing portion of the population with dollars to spend, and it’s going to become even more costly as the number of people living with disabilities grows considerably over the coming decades.
The number of U.S. lawsuits alleging that websites were inaccessible to people with disabilities rose 64% in the first half of 2021 from a year earlier.
These lawsuits are driving home a very valid point. Providing real estate services to people with disabilities online is equally as important as it is with physical structures. In the same way that wheelchair ramps are installed to make a building structure more accessible for people confined to walkers or wheelchairs, digital accessibility makes online content available to all users, including those with disabilities.
This is one of the main reasons that the real estate industry is finding itself in the crosshairs – it is an essential service. Everyone needs housing, whether it’s leasing an apartment or searching for a house, therefore inclusion and equality are essential components when building a website not only for real estate but for any consumer-facing industry.
ADA-compliance for real estate websites can be achieved by evaluating resources on the Internet, LevelField.ai being one of the most effective and reputable resources available. The company offers expertise in technologies that will run an exhaustive analysis of a website and find the vulnerabilities that need attention. LevelField.ai has a successful history of working with clients to resolve these vulnerabilities after they are identified, and their pricing structure is surprisingly affordable. Instead of charging thousands for a “consultation,” LevelField.ai applies their technological know-how to get into the “nuts and bolts” of an existing website and works with you to implement the required improvements to make all web pages digitally accessible.
One of the real estate agents I discussed this issue with shared an interesting story of her own with me. She’s seemed very much to be an “up and comer” in her profession as a realtor, and it didn’t take long to understand why she had received employment offers from four different real estate agencies that wanted to hire her. She told me that one of the steps she took as part of her research was to visit all four of their websites and evaluate them for ADA compliance.
Of the four websites she reviewed, there was only one real estate company that had invested the time and resources to have an ADA-compliant website – powered by LevelField.ai. This is how I came to know about LevelField.ai. Unsurprisingly, that was the company she decided to join.
“Even though I, as a real estate agent, may not be visually impaired or need these accommodations myself, it feels good to know that the company I am working for shares my respect for inclusivity and equality.”
So, if you are a real estate broker or agent, my suggestion will be to get your website ADA-compliant soon. It’s not only good for business, it is good business.