What is the Domino’s Pizza ADA-related lawsuit?
Walking around, you keep hearing snippets of conversation that include words like “pizza” and “ADA.” Is this a new diet or fitness craze? No. But why is everyone talking about website ADA-compliance so much lately? One reason is that a related lawsuit made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court this month.
Guillermo Robles, a blind patron of Domino’s Pizza, sued the restaurant chain in 2016 because neither the company’s website or mobile app allowed him to order pizza and receive discounts even with the use of screen-reading software. The number of similar lawsuits skyrocketed nationwide in 2018, with 2,250 federal suits filed stating ADA violations based on website inaccessibility—triple the number from 2017.
Domino’s attempt to squash Robles’ lawsuit came to an end on October 7, 2019, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the company’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling, allowing the ADA lawsuit to move forward. Businesses across the country are taking note of the Supreme Court’s ruling as they realize the need to take concerns about website accessibility more seriously. Many websites and apps don’t have the necessary coding that lets screen-readers translate what is on-screen to audio output.
The fight is not yet over, though. A spokesperson for the pizza chain said, “Although Domino’s is disappointed that the Supreme Court will not review this case, we look forward to presenting our case at the trial court. We also remain steadfast in our belief in the need for federal standards for everyone to follow in making their websites and mobile apps accessible.”
Thoughts on inclusive design
“What if I told you that your marketing content was excluding an audience of roughly 61 million people in the United State? 1 in 4 people live with a disability in the United States. Accessibility is an attribute, and inclusive design is a method.”
– Christina Mallon, Accessibility Design Lead at
What does this mean for your website?
Should you panic? No. Making your website ADA-compliant is a good thing, regardless of whether a cloud of impending legal action looms on the horizon.
Suggested next steps
- Use a third-party testing service to generate a report on how your website measures up against Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Free tools you can use: Wave, Axe (free tool from the paid accessibility compliance provider, Deque), and WebAIM’s color contrast checker.
- The generated report will include a list of issues that should be corrected. Identify the highest priority items and start there. If you need help making these changes or figuring out prioritization, we’ve got ADA experts on hand—please reach out.
- Incorporate well-known ADA techniques into your designs and website code as you keep improving how well you conform to the guidelines. (Again, we can help here.)
- Continue to monitor and re-test your site to ensure you are still ADA-compliant.
List of top fixes you’ll likely need to make
- Add alternative text to your images. Alt text is invisible code under images used by screen-reader software to translate a visual image into descriptive audio.
- Ensure graphics, links, headings, buttons, and forms are all fully readable so any images on the website can be explained to a user using a screen reader.
- Convey the meaning and structure of your site’s content using more than just visual elements.
- Add topic or purpose descriptions to your web page titles.
- Provide a text equivalent for every non-text element.
Compliance is something that should be taken into account from the start of your website build. While it can be added to your website later, it is more difficult to add retroactively. The best way to ensure your website is ADA-compliant is to work with a digital agency that has in-depth knowledge of ADA compliance rules and best practices. Oh hey, that’s us!