WGAN-TV How and Why to Create ADA Compliant Matterport and Other Virtual Tours

Hi All,

Below is the transcript for the WGAN-TV Live at 5 show (above):

WGAN-TV How and Why to Create ADA Compliant Matterport and Other Virtual Tours

Thank you to Atlanta-based Barnes Creative Studios Founder Steve Barnes (@BarnesCreative) for being a guest on WGAN-TV Live at 5 on Thursday (19 March 2020).

In this WGAN-TV Live at 5 show (above), we Steve discussed the following (and more):


1. What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
2. How does ADA apply to Matterport 3D Tours?
3. What is the Web Content Accessibilities Guidelines (WCAG)?
4. How does the Website Content Accessibilities Guidelines apply to Matterport 3D Tours?
5. Why should I care about making Matterport 3D Tours ADA compliant? Enterprise clients and prospects?
6. Can you speak about this from a disabled person's perspective?
7. Can you speak about this from a lawsuit perspective?
8. How and why did you decide to build an ADA compliant virtual tour player
9. Please demo your ADA compliant, custom-built embedded virtual tour player
10. Please demo the Video Guided Tour Button
11. Please demo the Audio Description Button (Screen Reader)
12. Please demo the Read Transcription Button
13. Please demo how to return to the standard virtual tour Button
14. What does "level double A" compliant mean? Other levels?
15. Does ADA compliant virtual tours super-charge SEO? How so?
16. How does the Barnes Creative Studios ADA compliant player address issues about disabilities related to visual and audio?
17. [I explained the exclusive free offer for WGAN Forum Members and how to receive.]
18. Barnes Creative Studios Pricing for ADA client Matterport Digital Twins
19. I understand that you are no longer a Matterport Service Provider. Why does that matter?
20. Your website to reach out to you? (www.BarnesCareativeStudios.com)
21. FAQs
22. MSP Pricing




Transcript (WGAN-TV Live at 5 video above)

- Hello, I'm Dan Smigrod, founder of the We Get Around Network Forum, today is Thursday, March 19th, 2020, and you're watching WGAN-TV Live at 5. Our topic today, how and why to create ADA-compliant Matterport virtual tours, and we have a special guest for you, Steve Barnes, founder, Barnes Creative Services, also based in Atlanta, hey Steve, good to see you.

- Thanks, it's Barnes Creative Studios.

- Oh, forgive me, Barnes Creative Studios.

- It's all good.

- I'm so excited to be on the show with you, I got the name of the company wrong. Barnes Creative Studios.

- Thanks for having me.

- You bet. So, I guess the context for today's show is if you're an enterprise client or if you're a Matterport Service Provider and you have an enterprise client or a prospect, it's likely that you're going to be asked about are Matterport digital twins, are Matterport virtual tours ADA compliant?

- It's not a matter of if, it's pretty much a matter of when. It's a lot of information we're going to go through, but I think most people will find it really helpful to understand just kind of globally everything about ADA compliance.

- Terrific. Why don't we start really at the basics, what is the Americans with Disabilities Act, often known as the ADA?

- Basically, in a nutshell, because it's much more than a nutshell, it prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation. That's a very easy way to summarize it, so think about hotels, think about now Airbnb and places like that.

Anywhere where there's a gathering of people. There are three levels that the ADA, that they look at and they categorize them, very complex, like level one. Title I, they call it, is around employment. Title II is around state and local governments, and Title III is public accommodations and commercial facilities, so think universities, anywhere where there's a gathering of people and they have an online presence.

Now this is beyond the physical ADA, things that a builder would deal with or somebody working on the physical site? If they have a website, they've got a whole other set of rules to become compliant with the ADA for people with disabilities to be able to have the same access that somebody without a disability would have.

- So I'm a Matterport Service Provider, that sounds interesting, but how does that relate to me?

- What's funny is, if you haven't had it yet, it probably doesn't relate to you yet, being the key word. I can rewind, I was an MSP for several years, I was one of the first with a camera. Unlike, I mean, like you. And fast-forward a couple of years and I got my first red flag, this is probably two-and-a-half years ago, asking for ADA-compliant tours.

And at that point I kind of stopped and I was like, what? You know, what do you mean? Surely Matterport has this under control. And I started reaching out to Matterport, and they were like, no, they're not compliant. And at that point I really didn't understand what that even meant. In my head, there was a switch that Matterport could just flip and boom, it's compliant.

But it's not that easy and fast-forward all these years, I found out that it's not that easy, so it's really not something Matterport can address because every tour is different.

So if you get a Fortune 1000 company that comes to you or a university, that, I got a call yesterday from an MSP about a university who, they're asking for ADA-compliant tours, and they didn't ask for it when he did his first order, which was a five-story building, and he did five full floors and then they asked about it. So that's the kind of situation where I could help you.

That's the good news. The bad news is there's no one set pricing element that you can say, oh, it's $99, because it's going to vary based on the complexity and the size of the tour.

- Okay, well we'll talk money in a moment. So--

- Sure.

- So, if I'm a Matterport Service Provider, and I say well, I'm only, you know, I don't have any prospects that are enterprise, large, big brands, or even any prospects like that, I shoot restaurants.

- Sure, well that's a place of public gathering.

They may not have been sued or sent a demand letter yet, and there are a lot, and before we went on the air, I looked up and got some information on real estate that I wanted to share with you because I know that's the crux of a lot of people's information. So excuse me, I've got to read it because I didn't memorize its pages.

But there's a web design company called atlasaccessibility.com that did some research on how this applies to real estate.

And they have some interesting points, they're talking about, in most ADA compliance lawsuits, they have seen that websites that are tied to specific features, like purchasing a product or signing up for a service or accessing information, they're not being approached. Places like you and me, because we're not a gathering place.

Anything with a link to physical space is more likely to come under legal trouble. And they've had some real estate examples where the National Association of Realtors, NAR, actually supports the push for real estate agents and brokers to make their websites compliant in order to avoid litigation.

So they're teaming up with the Department of Justice.

They sent a letter to the DOJ directly expressing support for clear website accessibility under WCAG 2.0, which is what we're going to talk about. So it's now approaching the real estate market because if somebody goes to the website of enter your favorite REALTOR here, and they're advertising a house, they've got to now have that access with a virtual tour.

It's not law yet, but they're saying you could face litigation. All it's going to take is for one to go after Keller Williams, one to go after, you know, whoever. And then, all of a sudden, all those tours are going to have to be compliant. And that's what's happened in other industries.

Cruise lines, I had a major client with a cruise line that had done a very large order with me, never mentioning ADA compliance, as this was over two years ago. And then they came back and said, "Oh, we need this to be ADA compliant." And I just kind of was, okay, let me make some calls.

And then they canceled $240,000 worth of business.

- Of new business.

- New business that was based on that pilot program that we had done.

- And may I ask how much that initial pilot project was?

- $40,000.

- So this was a significant client for you, invested $40,000--

- It would have been.

- In a pilot program.

- Right.

- And then, because Matterport tours were not ADA compliant, they didn't continue on with a project that they had expected to spend $240,000 in additional money with you.

- It was bye-bye. They had to have compliant tours. Because of the legal action that's happening around these larger brands, and hotels, they're the other one.

- So that was the point that you went back to Matterport and asked to say, hey, I need help.

- Yeah, there was some back and forth, which I wasn't getting anywhere and I couldn't really understand why? Now I do, because they really couldn't have helped me.

Because every single tour, we'll get into it when we demo the player, every single tour is going to have different context that you have to convey to a viewer.

- You meant--

- It's not just, go ahead.

- I'm sorry, go on.

- No, I was just going to say it's not a one-size-fits-all solution, like for example, Matterport's, one of the, they offer the paper, when you get your tour processed, the floor plan.

That is kind of an add-on? It's not that simple, where the floor plan is what, $69 or whatever it is and you tick a box. This, I'd have to actually evaluate your tour, because if you're the guy with the five-story college or university, it's not going to be the same as a one-bedroom condo. Because there's a whole lot of other media that you have to make.

- So in the Matterport floor plans, which are about $14.99 last I looked--

- Oh, $14.99, okay.

- $14.99, last I looked, and maybe depending on what account you have, you may get a discount. So that's something that could be cookie-cuttered, and I think your point is, is we do a deeper dive on ADA-compliant examples of Matterport tours that have been done by Barnes Creative Studios.

- We don't offer Matterport anymore, I'm no longer an MSP, my business has kind of pivoted to other areas. We do still offer virtual tours on a much higher level as far as, much more, let's say bigger tours than just the 4k resolution, one-size-fits-all tour.

My clients were demanding a bigger resolution option, so we started making them from scratch. Delivering 8k tours and also now with ADA compliancy, so nothing against Matterport, I still know people at Matterport, it was just a business thing for me, I couldn't keep up.

We don't do residential. So we don't have that demand for Matterport like other MSPs who are doing houses, often.

- Yeah, so the good news is, since you, like I started in, gee, July of 2014 and I think that's right about when maybe you--

- Somewhere around there, yeah, September, I think.

- So, you're intimate with understanding Matterport tours, you can speak to Matterport tours' ADA compliant, but you're no longer a Matterport Service Provider.

- So I'm not a competition with some of the people who are reaching out to me, because that has been a concern.

- Ah, great, thanks for clarifying that. So if I'm a Matterport Service Provider and I want to tell you about my client or my prospect, I shouldn't feel that, oh, here's somebody who might actually start calling on that client?

- Nope, I will not.

- Thank you. So you mentioned something about Website Content Accessibility Guidelines, I think you called it WCAG 2.0 --

- 2.0, right.

- Well that sounds like a lot of gobbledygook, what is that and--

- Pages. It's pages and pages of guidelines that you have to follow for certain types of media, and they kind of list on three levels.

There's A, AA, and AAA levels of offering compliancy. For instance, a level A, which is not adequate, in most cases might be a website where you highlight the words and it reads it back to you. Maybe that's, and that's just addressing one disability.

You're not addressing, like, the whole solution? Level two is something like we do, we have mixtures of level two and level three. Level two is standard of what you're going to find in most places. Level three might include an inset of somebody in our video doing sign language. Like, that's an extreme level.

- So is this the law?

- No, there is no law. That's the big catch-22, is there is no--

- I'm confused, I thought the ADA, which I see--

- They're a government agency.

- Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990, I guess became a law in January of 2009.

- There are no specific governing laws over specific media, it's very confusing, but there are lawsuits because brands or organizations are not following the guidelines that ADA.gov have set forth.

- So is, and this may be too much detail for me, but it's making my eyes a little bit confused here--

- You'll glaze quickly.

- A glaze quickly is, is the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines from the government?

- ADA.gov, yeah.

- ADA--

- Department of Justice.

- ADA.gov, who has put forth guidelines.

- Right.

- And essentially what your company, Barnes Creative Studios is doing, is interpreting the guidelines as it relates to a Matterport digital twin.

- That's right, to help you get compliance. But also remember, it's not just the virtual tour, you have to start with your website being compliant in the first place.

So a lot of my clients, a lot of large hospitality groups, have already started and have done conversions to their entire websites, we're talking thousands and thousands of dollars, to make them compliant, and there are online tools where you can stick a web link literally in, hit enter, it'll come back and say, this is an error, this is an error, this is an error.

So now what we've done is, you could never get away with Matterport or any virtual tour, embedding that into the website, that's going to be one of the things that pops up that says not compliant.

And so what we've done is worked with an agency over months to develop this player that encompasses all of these elements, including the Matterport tour, inline in this player, so one sleek solution that is ADA compliant at a AA or higher level.

- Okay, we're going to take a look at this tour, have you demo, walk through, but before we do, I still need to ask this question, I want to ask it again, say, hey, I'm a Matterport Service Provider, I don't have any big brand enterprise clients, I don't anticipate any prospects like that, I shoot houses, I do restaurants, I do wedding venues--

- All the things you've mentioned are all up for litigation. All of them, wedding venue is a big one. Anything where gatherings of people and you're open to the public and you advertise that space--

- I shoot art galleries.

- That's another one.

- So do I need to worry that my company's going to get sued?

- You don't need to worry, you need to worry about your client and the fact that they're going to come calling and asking you for compliance, because they're the people that have the establishment that's open to the public.

- But they're a small company.

- But they can choose, say if they came to you, MSP, and said, "Hey, we need compliant tours." And you said, "Well, I can't give you compliant tours."

They could go to, maybe they get sued or a demand letter, they could say, "Oh, well we use a third party for these "and they're not compliant."

And they would say, "Well, you chose to put them on your website anyway." Or option B could be where they say, "Oh, you don't like what happened to me, "you don't provide these? "We're not going to be able to put them on our website."

And I've heard that prior to having the solution as well, so just think of it this way, any customer of yours that advertises to people to come to a physical location, if they advertise this location on their website, that is a candidate for a lawsuit.

And there are tons, you could just do, search your vertical, real estate, and ADA compliancy. You'll get pages of active lawsuits, you can go to ADA.gov.

They have lawsuits going back years that they've chronicled and what happened in the lawsuit, we're talking millions of dollars. And a lot of them are just litigious groups, you know, attacking brands.

Which, you know, is obviously horrible. But on the other hand, when you think about ADA compliancy, and we'll get into this, I'm sure, you have to think about, you're opening up your product to 20% more of an audience. One in five people in the United States has some sort of disability.

- That's a big number.

- It's a big number. It's a big audience that's being ignored in many cases.

- Well then maybe we could talk about it from a positive standpoint--

- Look at it like an opportunity!

- Yeah, so, I don't know, imagine I'm visually impaired?

- And?

- And?

- And your question is how would this help you?

- Yeah, well, I'll tell you what, let's hold that question, let's take a look at it in actual example, have you walk us through it, and then we'll maybe talk some more about that.

- And I know this is confusing, and people's heads are probably already spinning. I know because I've been the spinner, I've been in the seat.

Just digest it all and reach out to us if you have questions about a client, and I've already gotten a lot of people asking information. And it's not a quick conversation.

- Okay, so, well, we'll see if we can do a lot of what, frequently asked questions is part of our show, and help people do the research here. Let me go and see if I can share our screen with you so we can do a demo here. I'm actually on your website, so I'm at BarnesCreativeStudios.com. BarnesCreativeStudios.com. BarnesCreativeStudios.com.

I'm going to go over here to ADA-compliant virtual tours. So this is your micro-site, everything that you want to know about ADA meets Matterport or ADA meets virtual tours. I think we were going to start with the demo of this tour right here.

- That is a Matterport virtual tour, so before you click play, let's talk about the guts of what this player is, because a lot of people aren't seeing the things that are happening because they're not looking at it like a person with a disability would with what's called a screen reader.

And so one of the stipulations that the ADA.gov or the Department of Justice has set forth, is that screen readers have to be able to read and access every bit of information that you've programmed in there, which is what makes this a difficult thing to do, and it's not just like an over-the-counter thing. So in this case, this is the player, look at it like an A/B switch.

Side A is your Matterport tour, untouched, the way that you have created it. Side B will be all the assets that are needed to make your tour ADA compliant according to the guidelines.

So on this front page, there are two things that a screen reader can do when someone scrolls up upon this virtual tour.

One, they can start play by hitting the space bar with their screen reader, or B, they can toggle up to the top-left corner and you see the icon, and click that, which will flip it to the B side, which is the compliant side. Now, if they've already started the tour, like you're about to do, go ahead and start it.

And thanks, Oak Creek Homes, for letting us show one of their tours.

Now the icon is still there in the top-left corner, so if the person with the disability wanted to continue on with this side, if they have the ability to grab the screen and do this, a lot of people don't, they would shift over to the ADA compliant, which is alternative media. In this case, because a virtual tour is driven by the user.

So every person's going to go different, like look at you navigating that Matterport like a pro.

And we did not create this Matterport, this is a conversion done for Oak Creek Homes. So everyone's going to look at this tour differently and they're going to go, one person might go left, one might go right, one might just stand in one position. All of that changes when you go to the B side, if you want to switch over to the B side now.

Before you hit play I'd like to explain what these things are, because you're going to start hearing a voice-over start talking and it'll be hard to hear. So there are four elements in play here, all that can be read by a screen reader. The first one is the video which you're about to see which has a narration of the context in the entire tour.

The second one on the far left is an audio description button, which, in this case, because it's a virtual tour with no people in it talking, this will be the same audio that you're going to hear in the video, but note, if you were blind and you weren't looking for the video, your screen reader would be looking for the audio description. So that's why it's redundant.

And then you've got Read Transcript, which is going to bring up a high-contrast full webpage of everything being said, describing the context of the tour. And then View Standard Version button on the far right, that button just takes you back, basically takes you home to start over. You want to go ahead and play it?

- [Dan] Yeah. Why don't we listen to maybe 30 or 45 seconds of it.

- [Narrator] Welcome to a virtual tour of the Gold Spur 5616 by Oak Creek Homes. The tour starts in the living area which has two almost floor-to-ceiling shaded windows on the back wall.

The living area is furnished with a black couch, side table, coffee table, and book shelves filled with assorted books, plants, and small shelf decorations. Looking to the right we see a hallway leading to other rooms. Moving to the left is the dining area and kitchen.

The dining area has a table with four chairs, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass door, and a wall of wooden cabinets with a countertop that has a coffee maker, coffee cups, and a plant. The table is set for two people and also has a plant in the center.

From the dining area to the left is the kitchen that has more wooden cabinets, two more countertops with fruit and kitchen accessories on top. There are three black kitchen appliances. There is a black oven with four burners, a black--

- So that, I think it's important to note that that is not you guiding the tour. That's actually a video that we had to create and narrate the context, and it has to be complete and thorough for what a regular, non-disabled user might see. It's got to be a representation of that.

- And then this was the transcript.

- Which is black and white, they demand high contrast, and that's everything that you were hearing. So if you were hard of hearing or deaf, you would be able to read that, or there's also closed captions, which you could turn on as well, inside the player. If you start the video in the middle there, and then go down to the settings, yep.

- [Narrator] 5616 by Oak Creek Homes. The tour starts in the living area which has two almost floor-to-ceiling--

- So there's a lot going on, as you can see, how, when you get to a bigger place, it gets very complex.

- So let's talk about how this helps different people. So I made some notes here. So if I'm visually impaired or blind...

- Then you're listening to it. And you would be looking, with your screen reader, for that audio description.

- If I can't hear...

- You would read it by clicking the read transcript, but you could also watch it and read it with the closed captions. Is that what you said, you couldn't hear?

- Yeah, if I could not hear.

- Right.

- And then I made some other notes in terms of speech, cognitive, languages, learning, neurological, do those apply?

- I can't, I'm not an expert on speaking about the different disabilities. I know that we've covered all the bases demanded for this type of media.

- Okay, and so this is considered level AA?

- AA, and some of the elements are actually AAA. The category that it falls under, you've got to have an alternative pre-recorded video, guided virtual tour, a viewable transcript, pre-recorded audio description, and live captions.

And this is where, at the beginning when I started hearing about this, I thought, wow, this is really easy, sure. Anybody could just do this.

The problem is, there's no player that delivers all these elements in one, and when you're dealing with these large brands, they don't want to embed the Matterport tour and then put little links under it, because you're already not compliant because the Matterport embed, by itself, is not compliant, so you're already at a dead end.

- So what are the deliverables, what is it that, okay, I say, okay, I want to get this, what is it that I provide you, and then what are the different things that you do, or I should say Barnes Creative Studios does, and what are the deliverables?

- The deliverables from you, it's simply a link. It's a link, the regular link, not an embed code, but a link to your virtual tour.

- Okay, so--

- And with the Matterport--

- It would be a Matterport, you or--

- Or any, or any, right. And, except Google. We can get to that in a bit. You would provide the link, and the only thing that will be turned off is if you have, in the top corner, if you have the information box that pops out? That's going to have to be turned off with the URL parameters. Because that's going to block the icon.

- The box in the top left?

- Top left.

- Top left, to disable that with a...

- And I can do that, I can do it with a parameter.

- Okay, so I don't even have to know what a parameter is, I just need to get you the Matterport tour, but I should know that you are going to turn off the info box in the top left.

- Right. And that, as you saw, that Matterport tour, you notice everything on the bottom was there, all the other stuff will work as normal, and a person that doesn't have a disability might not even realize it's an ADA-compliant tour, which is how it should be. There's no point in them going beyond that first tour if they don't have to.

But you just opened up your tour to a much bigger audience by having the compliancy, so I hope some brands will look at it that way, because a lot of people just haven't faced this yet and don't realize what it is. So you deliver the link to me, I get back to you and say, this is going to cost X to create, we start creating everything from the narration, the voice-over, which we keep mechanical because you don't want to have any problem understanding?

So instead of having a person that may have an accent, that may have, you know what I mean? It's very easy, and this is accepted in the compliancy of alternative media, because it's much easier to understand.

- I'm glad you pointed that out, because I was thinking, oh, well, you know, it didn't quite sound professionally read, it sounded a little bit--

- Mechanical.

- Mechanical.

- Very much.

- And in fact, it is mechanical. So is it, is the mechanical voice, is that, that's the voice that you use, but if I chose to have the script read, I may be using a different voice to read that script.

- You could choose to have a male or a female, and we're going to keep it as non-descript as possible. You don't want to do like you do with your Siri and have it speak, you know, with a British accent.

- I was actually thinking in terms of the script options, so if I just go back to your tour for a moment--

- And that's a good point.

The, someone like the university that contacted us, or the MSP that has university, they would possibly want to write their own script, because they're going to have specific things they want to call out that could come and play with SEO, with Search Engine Optimization. So that, that--

- That's another benefit of actually doing this, is to have--

- Huge benefit. Because you're getting, you're drilling down with context, which is what Google awards you for in search ranking, so they would want to be clever about mentioning specific things without overloading their keywords, but they want to make sure that their keywords are there.

But there also could be, it could be an industry where there are very specific things that aren't like this, with a couch and a this and a that, and they may want to write it themselves. In that case, we would make the video, and then they would literally pause on a scene, write what they want to write, proceed on, and go through the entire thing, writing the entire thing out.

It's a very long process.

- Okay, so, if I heard you correctly, you're, you'll do soup to nuts or you'll just do soup or you'll just do nuts. Meaning, I send you the tour, in one case I might say, would you please script it, would you create that video, and can you deliver it in your custom-built embedded player that's ADA compliant? Or--

- Kind of. It's more, we will do everything, the only option would be if you wanted to write your script, and that would add a layer where we would do the video, send it to you, and you would literally, you or your marketing person would write out everything.

So that's why everything's going to change from a one-bedroom apartment to a university, are going to be two very different things.

- Got it. So if I could just go, in a moment, I thought I would talk about if you're a Matterport Service Provider, as a We Get Around Network Forum Member, you can get a free white-label ADA-compliant tour to put on your website so that you can actually market, sell this. Show your client without actually having to take people to the Barnes Creative Studios website, can take it to either your website, or if you just want to have an unlinked page, that you can have the player embedded in your website.

Anyway, I'm going to talk about that later in the show.

- And it has to be an embed, by the way, you can't just send a link, this is an app at work. So there's not really a direct link to, like, Matterport with send a tour?

Because there's a whole bunch of things going on in an app, so you get back an embed code, and the best practice will be to put it in your website. Just stick it, two lines of code, like anything you see, and just let it pop up into your page.

- Okay, all right, great. So, gee, I don't know what the right metaphor would be, I'm trying to think about, you know, oh, this is like, overwhelming to me--

- Overwhelming max, yeah.

- Tell me some good news. So I think you started to talk about some good news. First, let's take it back into the kind and gentle and do right for 20% of the population that needs this, so maybe either you or some of your team actually met with people that were visually impaired or blind, et cetera, to be able to develop this embed player, what's the, what, do you recall what their experience was like, or stories that you've heard back from your team?

- Yes, it's very important to do that.

And that was one of the things from the get-go that I wanted to be sure that we did was get it out to people with disabilities so we can get some honest feedback. It's one thing to have the government rules that you need to follow, but it's another thing to have it actually be easy to use and for people with a disability, like you said, and I had mentioned earlier, 20% of the market, for them to be able to access these things. Maybe they wanted to see this home, but because your website wasn't compliant, they couldn't and you might've lost a sale, in this case could've been, I don't know how much a house like that costs, thousands of dollars.

So you're opening yourself up to more business and you're doing the right thing by making it accessible to everybody.

- So there's a good feel-good because you're doing something good.

- I don't think it should be about doing a feel-good, I think you should do it and not pat yourself on the back, you should do it because it's the right thing to do. I don't know if that...

- Well, yeah, the right thing to do. And it's also the law.

- Legal aside, it's, the legal part is out of control because there have been tons of suits, their people are just filing them. Like, I think it was Florida, don't quote me, I'm not a lawyer and I'm not giving legal advice. There was a Florida operation where the guy was seeking out disabled people offering them a slice of the lawsuit if they would testify against brand insert the blank here. And this was going on and they were winning these cases.

And then there were a couple of judges that started really clamping down and going after these lawyers that were being litigious. While it might have had merit, their motivations were not to do the right thing, it was to line their wallet.

- Yeah, because I was just going to ask, can't I just wait until somebody sends me, a hey, you know, a nasty letter that says stop doing that? And then I can--

- Not so fast. As they would say on ESPN. There, and there's a quote in my blog, I don't remember the quote exactly, but even places who go to court and are fined or they say, hey, we're going to fix it and it's okay, they're still being billed the plaintiff's legal fees. There's still a chance that they could pay the legal fees, even if they fixed the problem or remedied the problem. That's pretty, I mean, they're taking it very seriously, as they should.

- So it's not enough to just get slapped on the wrist and be told, hey, you can't do that, fix it, you have the challenge that the law firms or a mill of some sort is taking a category like restaurants or art galleries, and just sending a, a merged lawsuit, essentially, to everyone in that category, and you may have a client that's in that category, and that even if you remedy the problem, you're still going, you could get damages awarded that make it worthwhile for the law firm to chase after non-compliant companies.

- Well, Dan, another thing that's happening is these lawyers that are not so above-board are sending out demand letters to brand whatever and saying, hey, we're going to sue you, give us 100 grand and this will all go away.

- Wow, that's crazy.

- And I'm throwing a number out there, but these are like, huge dollar lawsuits. And so they're kind of on the down-low saying, hey, Dan, you know, your site's not compliant, give us 100 grand and we'll disappear, or else we're going to go ahead and file this. And I'm telling you, go to ADA.gov and read some of the legal matters there, it's insane how big they are.

- Well, I want to channel some positive energy, so I'm thinking about, I, you know, I can help our client--

- That's frustrating.

- Well, I'm thinking about, okay, because there's going to be some dollars involved in this, but at the same time that there's some expense involved in making it ADA compliant, doing the right thing, in terms of the 20% of the people, of the disabled, SEO, Search Engine Optimization on Steroids. As a result of these scripts.

- That is one positive benefit, your SEO provider will be very happy because you'll have loaded contextual content embedded on your page.

- Are there other super-positive things as a result of making a tour ADA compliant?

- Well, from a design perspective, which was, from the get-go, what I wanted to accomplish was a streamlined, very simple, easy to look at player, which also my brands were demanding.

That, once I got to the point where, at first it was like, oh, well you can put links, and that whole route, which we talked about, and that's not good enough because, from the get-go, Matterport is not compliant embedded as it is. So I got to work with developers, trying to come up with a plan, and this is the ultimate result of months. It looks like such a simple player, and it was months! And all the testing, everything to put that together, it was a big relief to finally have it and I'm thrilled now that I can offer it to my clients as an option.

And it doesn't have to be just virtual tours, by the way, there are, YouTube videos are not ADA-compliant. So if a brand got, somebody went, they were embedding just straight up YouTube players? Those are not compliant, we're not even talking about all the other media that could also be used in this player, but some of the key functions change, like the audio description. If somebody were doing that to this video where we're talking now, that description would be, there are two guys on the screen, one of them has--

- Very handsome guys. Two very handsome guys.

- Right, right. One's wearing a red shirt, one's wearing a blue jacket with a white shirt. Like they would be literally talking about all the things happening, and they're talking about this. So it gets way deep, but this is focused, obviously, on virtual tours.

- Yeah, you know, I, just to share a personal story, my mom has macular degeneration and her iPad, after six or seven years, was not supported anymore, it was causing a lot of challenges, so we needed to go to the Apple Store, see the latest iPad and have an Apple employee at the Apple Store show my Mom some of the features that you would describe as accessibility. So, how do you make the screen big? How do you have the text read to you?

- I was very frustrated that this whole coronavirus came around, because we were just scheduling, I was going to go to a very large rehabilitative hospital here in Atlanta, and we were going to have a group just play with the tours. And it would've been so cool to see them guiding these tours with all, and this is a place with all kinds of disabilities. And we had to cancel because, obviously, this was two weeks ago, they didn't want to have any contact with the outside.

- Yeah, you know, we should talk about coronavirus and COVID-19 in context of ADA. You know, today is Thursday, March 19th, 2020, things are changing very quickly. Most of us are working out of the house that can. How does this either affect Matterport Service Providers meets ADA or big brands, enterprise-size brands meets ADA, does all the lawsuits stop? Does the--

- No, the reality is, well, those type of lawsuits I think are being put on pause, depending on what jurisdiction. Coronavirus is going to go away. ADA compliancy is not. I'm still getting calls daily, and this is an exploratory time for a lot of people because a lot of people who are finding out about it through you, we just launched this last Monday.

A lot of people finding out through you are in the discovery phase because they've been asked that question. Are your Matterport tours ADA compliant?

And I've got a call actually scheduled with Matterport to discuss it with them. I don't know what will come of that, I've just had preliminary talks with a person at Matterport. So I look forward to seeing if we can offer them a way to help people even more directly, but I don't know what will come of that and I hope good things.

- That'll be the Barnes Creative Studios button in Matterport workshop, and you press that button and it dials you.

- I guess so, whatever it is, I'd love to be, it's just, it makes me feel good, two-and-a-half years later, I was so frustrated and if I could have charted that like these coronavirus charts, I've got over the hump and was pulling my hair out and finally just got to work and put a solution together.

Unfortunately it's not a just click a button and we're going to put magic dust on your virtual tour and make it compliant, got to do the work.

- So I heard three things happen in our conversation right there. First is you're talking to Matterport, that sounds great. Sounds like at the end of the day, when they have a major brand enterprise, they're going to be sending them to Barnes Creative Studios. As far as I know, you have the only company that has addressed this issue--

- That I know of.

- At level, a AA level compliance. Second, is what I heard was you promised that coronavirus is going to go away.

- Let's hope so.

- So, thank you. And at the same time, the ADA is not going to go away, so we may be on a little bit of a pause in terms of if you're a service provider, this may not be the top story of the day is ADA compliance, but watching today's show, knowing that there are these issues, particularly for big brands, enterprise brands, that you know at least that Steve's going to be your new best friend in order to not lose an order like Steve lost a number of years ago when he didn't have a, an option for a custom-built embed player that was ADA compliant.

And the third thing, just to kind of finish my story with my mom, is we made a, I made a point to find the Apple employee in Atlanta that is totally blind. Absolutely can't see a thing. And that was just such a remarkable experience, to see him use his iPhone and iPad and then show my mom the accessibility features, because he's the subject matter expert, he's the authority on using the accessibility features in an iPad and it was really astonishing.

- That's a cool story.

- Yeah, I mean, just separate and aside he, you know, in a moment while we were waiting for something to happen, he pulled out his iPhone and he said, "Hey, I want to show you the picture I took of my daughter "and posted to Facebook." I mean, this is like, oh, well how did you know your, oh, the iPhone, it tells you, there is a little girl that's in the middle of your picture, you can take your picture now.

So, you know, all these accessibility things enable someone like our rep at Apple to be able to, to have an amazing life because he's got the Apple accessibility features working, and then obviously to be able to help my mom buy the, the right iPad and then know how to use it, so, anyway.

- It's easy to overlook a disability group. It's easy to not be thinking about it when you're in development, but times have changed, and I think that it's a good thing that this is available and that people can access this stuff.

- Yeah, and props to Apple for actually proactively seeking out that employee to join their team, which provided also sensitivity to their entire team of the importance of these accessibility features.

- When this whole thing first started and I started trying to find a solution, almost monthly I would Google ADA-compliant virtual tours.

And I'd come up with maybe someone who did just maybe the transcript version where you clicked the button and this screen popped up and it had text. And I would always think, next month, surely somebody's going to do it.

And they just never did. And I kept searching, I mean, I would search every four, six weeks, and I just finally said, you know what? I'm going to have to invest in it. And I had to invest thousands of dollars and months to make it.

- And so now you have a service bureau to either big brands or to Matterport Service Providers, or service providers that are creating either Matterport or other virtual tours, so that they don't have to build from scratch a player and then figure out how to do all the production elements within the tour.

- There's one of the interesting questions that I've been getting from MSPs is they're asking me, "How should I bill this?"

And, you know, that's an interesting subject, because if I had found a solution like I'm offering, I would just assume that I'm going to pass the charge on to this large brand or this university or whatever, and it's completely up to them if they want to mark it up.

They're not really doing anything, so that, and that's what I've said to the people that have asked me, it's like, do you charge for doing nothing? You're just a conduit to a solution, I mean, that's going to be a call you're going to have to make on your own, I don't know what your client dynamic is, I don't know how much they pay you for the tour. And they're expecting you to have a solution, so it's kind of a weird gray area.

- Not for me.

- But I mean, I'm saying, for me--

- If I was paying for your services and delivering it to someone else, I would be marking up your services.

- Oh, I'm saying I would just mark it up what it costs to the client, because you're not, you're not doing any of the work.

- Doesn't matter to me.

- Yeah, that's just my POV. Like, you're--

- That's right. But I give you my perspective on that, unless the client's picking up your bill directly, I'm assuming some risk, I'm laying out cash, I'm paying your bill, I'm definitely going to mark up your services to my client.

- And you're free to do that. You're free, you're totally free.

- You know, if I choose to be transparent and bring you into the conversation and have the client pay you directly, that's another matter. But I, frankly, if it was me, We Get Around, we would definitely be marking up your services because we're assuming the risk, we're paying your bill, we're putting out cash.

- And that's your prerogative to do that, 100%.

And you mentioned a key word there, risk. If we rewound to the beginning of this, remember I said there is no absolute answer for any of this. So all of this comes down to you having a compliant page, and you being the brand, having a compliant website to start with, and then we're giving you the tools, and there we have a full legal disclaimer that is on one of the posts that you put up today, that says we're doing everything we can to follow the guidelines and best practices to make you compliant.

The reality is, the people with the litigious lawsuits, whether they're bad lawsuits or good lawsuits, if you're doing these things, they've got no case. I mean, you're doing, you're making this content available to a much larger--

- Probably, but a good point to just reiterate, as you mentioned, you're not an attorney, you don't give legal advice. We Get Around, me personally, I'm not an attorney, I don't give legal advice. What you're doing is your best effort, reasonable effort to provide an interpretation of the Website Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG 2.0, in order to both meet the needs of disabled people, as well as, hopefully, discourage any lawsuits against the client that's using this content.

But are there other frequently asked questions, either from Matterport Service Providers in particular, or others in general since you launched this?

- That's been the big one.

Another one is more confusion about what has to be in the video? I've had a couple of MSPs ask, can I just play the highlight reel and caption them.

No, because you can't skip around. It needs to be like you're having a virtual tour of the entirety of the space, so for example, if you had a whole floor of rooms and you did not go into five of them, well, in the compliant media, you don't have to talk about those five.

But if you go into them, you need to be able to go, okay, now we're in the hallway and there's a red brick wall and tile floors and we're going into one of the classrooms that says blank, and there's 15 desks, and on and on. So if you didn't go in that room, you don't have to do narration for it because you're not making that available to anybody, so you're being equal.

It gets complicated mostly with big tours, and the Four Seasons example on that same page, you can see a much larger tour, it's got four different buildings and this is not a Matterport tour.

This is one of our AK virtual tours that's got a whole lot of other stuff going on. But like, for the first almost 70 seconds, in the compliant version, you don't even, the screen doesn't even move because it's just setting up the context of what you see just being right there.

So that's where it gets complex, and we haven't talked about pricing yet, which is a very complicated conversation, because they start at $349, and they go up, they go up from there.

- $349 for the entire tour?

- $349 for the entire tour, that's the base price for something like the Oak Creek Homes.

- That's $349, US.

- US, plus $20 a year hosting, which hosts all those elements that live inside the app.

- And that includes writing the copy, creating the video--

- Everything.

- And delivering it within the ADA-compliant player.

- Right, remember it starts at that point.

- Okay.

- It goes up from there depending on the complexity. So the university is going to be a ton more because you're talking five floors of a building all in one tour.

- You know, I, and I think it's probably worth saying here, Steve, correct me if I'm wrong, but, you know, if I'm used to just shooting residential real estate, I'm dealing with a very low-cost product, but as soon as I start talking with a big brand, they're used to spending big dollars.

- They are.

- Particularly if they're asking questions about compliance, these are numbers that are not going to scare them, they just kind of are either making the commitment to make their site compliant or they're not, and taking the business risk.

So big brands got a lot of money to spend on this topic, and so, you know, maybe, you know, don't shy away from it just because you think, well, gosh, I charge less than $350 to create a tour, and here I am, I'm going to double the cost of a tour. No no, you're talking to a major brand that's used to laying out big bucks and they understand that there's going to be a cost with ADA compliance.

- And some of them will not be crazy high, like, for instance, a cruise ship would completely fall in line with the lowest cost. Because you're talking about a small space, you're going to end up being about the size of the Oak Creek Homes video.

That's what you have to think about is how much content. Some may be, if it was an empty room? And you walked in and said, we're in an office building, here's an empty room, and then you move on because you've just displayed the context. But if it's a room with high-tech gadgetry and screens and stuff, you've got to tell what's there.

- Cool. Before we move on, any other frequently asked questions?

- Not off the top of my head, but that's, those are the, and this, again, just launched last Monday, so that's the most of what I'm hearing so far.

- Okay, I want to switch gears for a moment and I want to jump in to this example of a Matterport digital twin that is Americans with Disabilities Act compliant.

This tour from Oak Creek Homes that Barnes Creative Studios made ADA compliant, this Matterport tour, if you are a We Get Around Network Forum Member, you can get the free use of this tour to embed in your website, virtual tour.

And if you would like to get this tour, if you are a We Get Around Network Forum Member, simply Private Message me with the subject line, ADA-compliant Matterport digital twin, and I'll send you back the embed code that Steve has provided to us.

If you're not a We Get Around Network Forum Member, go to WGANForum.com, WGANForum.com, join, the WGAN Forum is free, and when you join, you will automatically get an auto-generated welcome message from me that will include 50-plus membership benefits, including the free use of this tour that is ADA compliant.

And that Private Message that you get from me has the actual embed code. So, cool, just another reason to be a We Get Around Network Forum Member. 50-plus membership benefits, this happens to be one of them.

- And I think we should call out, again, that that is not one of my Matterport tours, that's simply a conversion provided by Oak Creek Homes and we don't, we're not a Matterport Service Provider.

- Okay, and there's nowhere on this tour does it say Barnes Creative Studios, so you can feel like even though it's created and provided by Oak Creek Homes, that you can have embedded on a webpage.

If you wanted to see that sample that I just showed you, in fact I'll go back just for a second. So if you wanted to go back to that page, it's We-Get-Around.com/ADA, so all I did was take the embed code that Steve gave me, embedded it on this webpage, and now I can have a conversation about that with someone. And then, if we go back to just for--

- I should also note, Dan, that it is white-labeled in a sense that that Oak Creek logo could be your logo. I mean it, that's just Oak Creek because that's their tour.

- Oh, yes, yes. So when it eventually gets produced by you, it's going to be, it's going to have whatever client or company wants to be on that tour.

- Right, and whoever's logo you want to be there is who's will be there.

- Yeah, okay. And so it's delivered as a white label solution, no reference to Barnes Creative Studios. And I just wanted to point out that if you wanted to, again, to follow up with Steve, it's Steve Barnes, BarnesCreativeStudios.com.

If you want to read more about the ADA-compliant virtual tours, you can post, you can click on this link, and then this is everything we've talked about, there's a five-minute video about ADA-compliant virtual tours, it's an excellent video, check that out. And then you can just fill out the Contact Us form in order to reach out to Steve. Steve, before we say bye, anything else that we should cover?

- I think you've covered it all, if anyone has any questions, they can jump on that form link and ask a general question, or if you have a specific question to your situation, feel free to email me, Barnes@BarnesCreativeStudios.com, or like you said, at the bottom of that page there's a very easy form you can fill out to get right to me.

- Terrific. Steve, thanks for being on the show.

- Thanks for having me.

- We've been visiting with Steve Barnes, he's the founder of Barnes Creative Studios, BarnesCreativeStudios.com. Steve is also based in Atlanta,

I'm looking at Buckhead in Atlanta and downtown Atlanta is just that, and of course Coca-Cola, world headquarters of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. So nice to have a fellow Atlantan on the show today. And incidentally, before I go, I should just mention, you just had such a, you know, great, deep, rich voice, have you ever thought about being in radio?

- No, no I never have.

- Never have, okay. Just, got a face for TV and a voice for radio, isn't that exciting?

Anyway, Steve, thanks again, I'm Dan Smigrod, founder of the We Get Around Network Forum, and you've been watching WGAN-TV Live at 5.