DOMINO'S PIZZA Website will change the future of websites
Dominos Pizza in the US has been dealt a blow in a Supreme court ruling that could change the nature and future of business websites and apps. The Supreme court declined to hear an appeal by Dominos Pizza after a federal court had ruled that a blind customer, Mr Guillermo Robles, can sue the chain under the Americans with Disabilities Act after he couldn’t fully use its website. Guillermo Robles sued the restaurant in 2016 after he wasn't able to order a custom pizza from its website and app, even while using screen-reading technology. Such software is a form of assistive technology which is essential to people who are blind, as well as useful to people who are visually impaired, illiterate or have a learning disability.
The court had ruled that since Domino’s is a place of public accommodation, it is required under the law to provide “auxiliary aids and services” making visual materials accessible to visually impaired customers. This ruling will inspire businesses to take accessibility of their websites seriously. It will move businesses to ensure that the process of ordering food online is convenient for everyone including blind people.
Joe Manning who served as the legal representative for Robles said during a media interview “The blind and visually impaired must have access to websites and apps to fully and equally participate in modern society,”
In a statement, Dominos Pizza indicated that the company has developed means such as the development of ordering platforms using voice-activated devices like Alexa and Google Home and the development of their own proprietary voice-ordering digital assistant, Dom, available on both their website and mobile apps, to enable customers to access their services online.
The company called for a nationwide standard that will eliminate the tsunami of website accessibility litigations that may follow the ruling. In recent years, the number of website accessibility lawsuits has significantly increased, where plaintiffs with disabilities allege that they could not access websites because they were incompatible with assistive technologies, like screen readers for the visually impaired.
According to the US National Law Review, in 2018, the number of federally-filed website accessibility cases skyrocketed to 2,285, up from 815 in the year prior. In the first half of 2019, these cases have increased 51.7% over the prior year’s comparable six-month period, with total filings for 2019 on pace to break last year’s record by reaching over 3,200.
Currently, there is no legislation in various countries that directly sets out the technical requirements for website and app accessibility. This ruling could also inspire the creation of new rules that will provide accessibility guidelines online.