The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Domino’s Pizza Monday after a federal appellate court ruled that a blind customer can sue the chain under the Americans with Disabilities Act after he couldn’t fully use its website through screen-reading software.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had ruled that since Domino’s is a place of public accommodation, it’s required under the law to provide “auxiliary aids and services” making visual materials accessible to visually impaired customers. The court found that it applies to the chain’s website and app, even though they’re often used outside of Domino’s restaurants.
The ruling may cause businesses to take website accessibility concerns more seriously. Screen-reading software users often say modern websites and apps don’t have enough built-in cues to let the software translate what’s happening on-screen to audio output in a meaningful way.
Don’t be blindsided with a lawsuit. Check out the tools below to see how your website stacks up to web accessibility guidelines.
- WAVE: Website Accessibility Evaluation Tool: This is one of the best-known names in accessibility testing, the WAVE (Website Accessibility Evaluation Tool) suite of products is developed and maintained by WebAIM, an organization devoted to making web content accessible to people with disabilities. This free tool is also available as a browser extension so you can quickly run it on the page you are on (WAVE for Chrome and WAVE for Firefox). This makes it really easy to run a quick test on any page and is usually my go-to extension for a quick initial accessibility audit.
- SortSIte: This website testing tool is available both as a desktop and web application that tests for accessibility, broken links, HTML and CSS standards, search engine optimization, and cross-browser compatibility. The accessibility checker will run against all three WCAG 2 levels (A, AA, AAA), as well as guidelines specific to Section 508. You can run a free accessibility scan of 10 pages at their site, or purchase their software to do larger scans.
- Funkify: This is a brand new extension for Chrome that helps you experience the web and interfaces through the eyes of extreme users with different abilities and disabilities. Funkify is created by a team of usability and accessibility experts in Sweden. You can download the chrome extension here.
- The Paciello Group: The Paciello Group (TPG) is a world-class accessibility consultancy with a reputation for excellence. If you need guidance on web accessibility rules, start here. They also have a great resource of testing tools that you can view on their site.
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