Are the tools your organization offers accessible to your entire membership base?
By that, we don’t simply mean are those tools easy to access via computer, but rather are they accessible to everyone—including those agents and brokers who have visual impairments or speak a language other than English? Inclusively designed technology means that more of your membership base can benefit from the tools you provide.
Companies can enhance their platforms with bilingual reporting options and updates that meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design, as examples. Here, we’ll take a closer look at these types of updates and how they are helping organizations better serve their members and their community at large.
ADA-compliant design changes are subtle and include deepening and adjusting color contrast, adding alt-text to images, and improving navigational elements with improved labels, headings, and more.
To real estate professionals with visual impairments, however, these changes make all the difference. Just ask Daniel Jones.
“Pursuit of ADA compliance makes me smile,” says Jones, CEO of North Carolina Regional MLS (NCRMLS). “I have personal experience within my family with blindness and deafness. Not just one person, but several—it’s a genetic thing. I know the personal challenges, and the amount of energy one has to go through in order to communicate and listen.”
ADA compliance is unusual from a functionality standpoint. There’s no ADA button that you press. ADA-compliant design blends in so that people don’t even realize that that functionality is there.
“There are not a lot of companies that will say, ‘We’re taking on ADA compliance!’ and be accountable like that,” says Jones.
Did you know that the U.S. has the second-largest population of Spanish speakers in the world? Only Mexico has more. And Spanish speakers aren’t just concentrated in places like Florida, California and the Southwest—Spanish is the second most widely spoken language in every U.S. state, and Spanish speakers account for 13% of the nation’s overall population.
That’s a major reason why it’s so important for property technology companies to consider adding Spanish-language reporting options. Now not only can Spanish-speaking agents create reports in their own language, they can also share those reports with their Spanish-speaking clients.
Translating the information in an accurate way can be a tricky process, so look for a product that really gets this right.
“We made bilingual changes based both on user feedback and our own research,” says Jess Bobrek of CRS Data. “We saw market trends and our own demographic data and knew it could be extremely beneficial.”
Bobrek did the base Spanish translation herself with the help of Zoraida “Zoe” Ballew, a REALTOR® who originally hails from Ecuador and now practices real estate in the greater Knoxville area.
“I helped to translate the information in an accurate way because translation can be tricky sometimes,” says Ballew. “When you are in front of a product that is not translating correctly, you are lost.”
For more insight on how ADA/bilingual enhancements can be integrated into digital products, watch the video below or click here to watch.