A US court this week told one of the most popular British food brands it needs to pull its accessibility socks up.
Domino’s Pizza must now take steps to ensure its mobile app is fully accessible to every user who might fancy it as their takeaway choice, as the BBC reported on Wednesday.
The case came under one of the most well-known of all accessibility regulations, the US’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
A blind customer, Guillermo Robles, says that in 2016 he tried to change a topping for a Domino’s he was ordering off his iPhone, but that the app was unable to complete for him.
It seems that the app’s builders had not fully tagged all images with the right text – rendering his iOS screen-reading software unable to support full navigation of all functionality.
And he was unable to make use of discount vouchers, for the same reason: the designers of what’s a very popular app hadn’t fully thought out the accessibility gaps in what they were offering consumers.
His action, which began in 2016, was initially rejected but won on appeal – with judges deciding that Guillermo’s case does indeed fall under the Act the pizza maker wasn’t fulfilling its responsibility to provide “full and equal enjoyment” of its services to blind people.
The case isn’t quite done yet, but the BBC also reports that another blind user is pursuing similar legal action because his screen-reading software is unable to fully interpret a US supermarket chain’s website.
The case is depressingly similar to how British banks aren’t fully enabling blind people to read all the new functions in their online banking sites, which the BBC also reported on last year.
It’s just not acceptable in this day and age that big companies don’t fully think through what a change or addition of great new functionality on their web or smartphone presences will mean for all of their user base.
It’s also, let’s be totally frank, just not great business either – with some commentators believing there’s around seven million people of working age with a disability that could be better catered for – the so-say £250bn ‘Purple Pound’.
The message has to be don’t get caught out and end up with an embarrassing legal case like this – but look for ways to work better with standards that can mean ALL of your digital offering is accessible to all users.
He is also a Trustee and Board Member of UKAAF, The UK Association for Accessible Formats, an industry association setting standards and promoting best practice for quality accessible information based on user needs and enabling businesses and organisations to deliver a quality service to meet the needs of people with print impairments.