Unless you’re blind or a friend of someone who is you probably haven’t been following the story about Domino’s Pizza’s Supreme Court case. Briefly, Domino’s is fighting the rulings in federal courts that affirm accessibility of websites for the disabled is required by law.
Domino’s has been sued by a blind man because the corporate giant’s website is inaccessible to screen reading software for the blind.
Retro-fitting a website isn’t expensive and in fact, Domino’s is spending far more money contesting accessibility before the Supreme Court than any reasonable group of men and women would choose to. Why?
This simple and clearest answer has to do with umbrage that the ADA exists at all.
The prevailing view from this sector holds that all accessibility lawsuits are frivolous.
Domino’s wants to be the corporate slayer of the ADA.
Because the Americans with Disabilities Act was adopted before the web became a global and commercial reality it says nothing about cyber-space.
But federal rulings about inaccessible websites—commercial, academic, governmental, what have you, is that they are an extension of public space and are therefore required to be accessible.
Domino’s opposition to a simple accessibility fix for a blind customer—perhaps millions of blind customers, is cynical, corrupt, and ultimately about contempt for the ADA and the disabled. Behind Domino’s stands the Chamber of Commerce which has been overtly hostile to the ADA from the beginning. See this article by Robert Barnes at the Washington Post for a good overview. You don’t have to accept my word on this.
This is a very critical moment for disabled customers, students, and yes, citizens. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Domino’s they’ll have created a new “separate but equal” code for the digital age.
What really kills me is that the disabled and their families have plenty of disposable income. Why wouldn’t the Chamber of Commerce want their money?
I guess they already have plenty of dough to go around.
Previously Published on Planet of the Blind