Fast Company, August 5, 2019: Domino’s Pizza is locked in a legal battle over the future of web design
Should websites be accessible to everyone, including the blind?
That’s the question at the center of an ongoing lawsuit against the pizza restaurant Domino’s that was filed by a blind user in 2016 after he was unable to order pizzas through the company’s website, despite using screen reading software. Because he could not make an order, despite using screen reading software, the user alleged that the site was not accessible to blind people and as a result Domino’s was violating the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.
Now, the company has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear its case, after a federal appeals court ruled that the company had to make its website accessible to comply with the ADA. If the Supreme Court decides to hear arguments on the case, the ruling could set a precedent for the future of web design, deciding if companies must make their digital presences as accessible as their brick-and-mortar locations.
In the petition, Domino’s argues that the ADA does not specifically mandate companies to create accessible sites and apps because it was written before the rise of the internet as we know it, and the cost to its business to design its website and apps to be more accessible would run into the millions. However, federal judges so far have disagreed with the company’s position. By excluding blind users from the digital economy, they lack access to online services, even if it’s something as simple as ordering pizza.