ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The business of real estate has become increasingly digital, and agents and consumers rely on websites to share and find real estate information, market homes and conduct property searches. In fact, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors ®, 95 percent of all recent buyers used the internet at some point during the home search process.
For that reason, it's important that all consumers, including those with disabilities, have equal access to real estate agent and company websites. That's according to panelists at a session yesterday about website accessibility best practices during the 2016 REALTORS® Conference & Expo. Alisa Carr, partner at Leech Tishman in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a litigator and a real estate transaction lawyer and said that while the Americans with Disabilities Act predates widespread use of the internet and courts have been split on the issue, recent court cases have found that a business's accessibility obligations do extend to its website and mobile applications. Carr recommended companies familiarize themselves with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 AA posted at www.w3.org, which is a technical standard created by the World Wide Web Consortium to help make sites more accessible. "It's a very user-friendly website and a great resource to educate you on how to start to make your sites compliant," she said. "Make sure your vendors are using these standards and understand that your site needs to be accessible, and not just navigable and pretty. Also, hold your designer to these standards to ensure that the site continues to remain in compliance as content evolves."