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Making Real Estate Listings Accessible To Blind Or Visually-Impaired Individuals

When I am not working as a Real Estate Agent, I am in class working towards my Master’s Degree in Communication at UH Manoa. Because Real Estate is my primary passion, I am honing my education to supplement the skills that I can bring to my Real Estate practice.

This semester, I am in a class that is focused on developing innovative forms of communication. One of these forms involves increasing accessibility of public spaces for blind or visually-impaired individuals. As a Real Estate Agent, it has been illuminated to me how inaccessible the current marketing stratagems in the Real Estate Industry are towards blind or visually-impaired individuals.

As a result, I ran a prototype of an audio-description that I created describing LeAnn and I’s listing at 1422 Laamia Street. I tested this description with a blind individual who was willing to provide feedback in regards to the functionality and benefit of the audio description. My goal is to find a way to make searching for a home more accessible to blind or visually-impaired individuals.

Video of 1422 Laamia

While this video is certainly captivating, imagine how useless it would be to a blind buyer! Current listing descriptions do not provide the detail that is gained through the listing images that a sighted buyer is privy too. Sighted buyers are provided the opportunity to remotely search for a home while blind or visually impaired buyers must physically visit each listing to feel and learn more about the property. This audio description has the potential to significantly increase the accessibility of the home-buying process for blind or visually impaired individuals.

Link to Audio Description of 1422 Laamia Street 

Feedback from Blind Individual Testing the Audio Description

My first draft included all of the details that I would normally provide during a showing of the home however, I didn’t take into account how a buyer looking for a home remotely doesn’t necessarily need these details. They just want to get an idea of the home for themselves:

On occasion, some of the description sounds a bit more like a description used for a sale, and I would tend to shy away from that – i.e the use of the word “beautiful” and the detail about the lanai off the master bedroom being the perfect spot for a cup of coffee in the morning while looking at the view.

Moving Forward

After creating this audio description, I realized that the details I added to the description for a blind or visually-impaired individual also benefits sighted individuals who are searching for a home remotely. Descriptive details of a listing adds background information that cannot be gained through simply looking at photos of a listing online. The details that I added are typically only revealed during a showing with the listing agent. I hope that this audio description can be helpful to sighted and blind or visually impaired individuals alike!

 

If you benefited from this description or you are a blind or visually-impaired buyer searching for a home in Hawaii, reach out to me and let me know what you liked!

 

 

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