Everyone in the web accessibility community has been cheering over the supreme court’s recent ruling in the Domino’s Pizza v. Robles case. The supreme court rejected to hear Domino’s Pizza’s appeal on a previous ruling that states a blind man can sue Domino’s Pizza for their website and app not being accessible. If this is news to you, here’s some background.

Domino’s Pizza LLC v. Robles

Guillermo Robles, who is blind, claimed in U.S. District Court in California that Domino’s Pizza violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because he couldn’t order a pizza from their website or app. The website didn’t work with his screen-reader JAWS (Job Access With Speech), the most popular screen reading software. In order to be accessible to screen reading software, graphics and embedded hyperlinks on websites must have alternative text (also referred to “alt text”). Alt text is a description screen-readers read when they come across an image or link. If an image has no alt text then someone who is blind or visually impaired has no way of knowing what that image is.

When the website didn’t work for him, Robles referred to Apple’s Voice Over, a screen reading program that is built into the operating system of iPhones. However, the labeled buttons on Domino’s app did not work well with the software either. Because the app had no alt text, Apple’s Voice Over could not read it to Robles.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Robles, saying that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to Domino’s website and app and that their current set up impeded blind customers from accessing the goods and services offered at the physical location.

Domino’s challenged the ruling and took it to the Supreme Court saying they could not be sued if there were no clear web accessibility guidelines. Domino’s wanted the justices to clarify the ADA law with respect to websites and apps. They stressed that the filing prompted other plaintiffs to also sue and that, because the ADA web accessibility rules are not clear, it would be impossible for them to guess what accessibility means in an online environment.

The Supreme Court rejected Domino’s appeal and let the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruling stand.

What the Rejection of Domino’s Pizza’s Appeal Means

Because the Supreme Court chose not to hear Domino’s case, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court’s ruling stands where Domino’s and other retailers must make its online services accessible. It also means that Domino’s may take it to trial court instead. This opens a world of lawsuits that can occur because of this ruling. If a website is not ADA compliant, there is no stopping a business from being sued.

While this is a US case, it could be a source of inspiration around the world, it has people abroad participating in the discussion.

What We Can Learn from the Dominos Supreme Court Case

The blind rely on screen readers to surf the internet and screen readers rely on alt-text in order to relay what’s on the screen to the user. If your website does not have alt text embedded into its backend, then the blind will not be able to access your site and you may put yourself at risk of a lawsuit.

How to add Alt Text to Your Website

AvenueADA offers software that uses artificial intelligence to easily add alt text to your website. With one simple installation, your website will be accessible to those with disabilities. Making your website ADA compliant doesn’t have to be hard. We take care of everything for you to make sure your website is accessible. Contact us today for a demo to see how it works.