We understand that some agents may be concerned about the accessibility of their property websites. This article explains why websites should be accessible, how we are helping to ensure our websites meet the recommended guidelines, and what you can do on your end to help ensure compliance and create the best user experience for visitors to your site.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
The Americans with Disabilities Act was created in 1990 in an effort to end discrimination based on differing abilities. Accessibility on the internet was a distant concept, considering only 1 in 5 Americans even owned a computer at the time the act was created.
Since the act was directed toward public spaces and services, the ADA did not have explicit laws surrounding accessibility online. In the years since, a general set of guidelines has been created. Attorneys who specialize in the ADA recommend following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA.
It is important to note that these are not a fixed, definitive set of rules, but rather, they are suggested guidelines which are continually changing.
Why is website accessibility important?
Following suggested guidelines helps make content more accessible to those with disabilities. This includes people who have vision impairment, blindness, deafness, hearing loss, photosensitivity, and other conditions which affect that person’s ability to access or consume online content. Following the guidelines can also benefit the overall user experience of a site, regardless of the presence of a disability.
What are we doing to ensure your property websites meet current guidelines?
While accessibility adherence is a moving target, we are doing our best to follow suggested guidelines in order to make your property site as accessible as possible. Our websites commonly score a 99/100 in accessibility by Chrome Lighthouse.
Take a look at the recommended guidelines below and see what we’ve done to help ensure our sites are accessible:
All media files and maps should have an “alt” tag.
We provide an automatic ALT tag that includes the image number and agent name.
What you can do to help: You can add more context to images by using the Open Homes Media Manager “website caption” feature. Accurately describing the image (for example, “living room with Golden Gate Bridge views”) makes the images accessible to those with visual impairments.
All online forms should have descriptive html tags.
All hyperlinks should have a descriptive anchor text.
All pages on the site have “skip navigation” links.
Yes, our website templates have what meets the definition of a skip link . For example, the gallery link at the top takes you to the gallery section.
All the text content should be structured using proper heading tags
All PDF files should be accessible.
What you can do to help: If you add PDFs to your property website, make sure they are accessible. You can read more about what makes a PDF accessible here.
All videos should have subtitles, transcripts and audio description.
Our standard video products don’t have spoken words, so they don’t need transcripts.
What you can do to help: If you use our premium products which include an Agent Interview or a narration/voiceover, you can provide a transcript that we will add to the video player in order to support closed captioning (CC).
The color contrast of web pages should be sufficient according to WCAG.
Yes, all templates are accessible. Furthermore, at the very bottom of all major templates, there’s a high contrast button that forces all text to be max possible contrast.
What you can do to help: By default, our websites come with accessible color selections. However, we also offer numerous color options in case an agent wants to select their own. If agents decide to use this feature, they should be careful to select website colors and font colors that are easy for everyone to read.
All fonts should be accessible.
All HTML tables should be populated with column headers, row identifiers and cell information.
What you can do to help: If you create your own table on the Features page, be sure to label the columns, rows, and cells.
All call to action buttons website should have an accessible name and an ARIA label.
All your website should be accessible with keyboard navigation.
Yes. By default, our sites are compliant.
What you can do to help: Although our websites are compliant, agents should be cognizant of content they add to the site which may make it less compliant. Agents should be sure to verify and maintain proper ADA compliance when adding content.
Have a website accessibility policy page.
Have easily locatable contact information to allow users to request accessibility information.
What you can do to help: Keep your contact info up to date so that if anyone is having trouble interacting with your site or understanding the information, they can reach out to you.
All audio files should have a written caption.