Intertops casino bonus, Amazon, a local pizza store – Is your website accessible to the blind? A blind man sued Dominos Pizza for not having a website that is accessible to blind visitors.
Guillermo Robles filed the lawsuit in 2016, claiming Domino’s website was not accessible to him as a blind man. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 says that public places need to have accommodations for people with disabilities. Public areas are restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctor’s offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and daycare centers.
Dominos argued that websites and apps from companies that have physical stores do not have to follow ADA requirements because they did not exist in 1990, the year the ADA law was created. Also, it is unclear if websites that do not have a physical store are also required to follow ADA requirements, which creates inconsistent standards.
My view on the situation: The ADA laws and the technology existed when Dominos Pizza created its website and mobile app. The intent of the law was clear, and a professional website developer and mobile app developer should be aware of the standards and follow them.
A micro business (less than six employees) may claim “I did not know,” so you give them a warning and tell them to fix their website. But a large company like Dominos pizza that has restaurants all over the world, Dominos Pizza can afford to hire a website developer and an app developer that knows what they are doing.
- 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act passed
- 1991 HTML 1.0 created including the alt attribute in image tags
- 2003 3G Standard, kicking off mobile internet and paving the way for smartphones
- 2007 iPhone debuted
- 2007 (6 months later) iPhone OS updated to include VoiceOver for Blind People)
- 2008 Android released
- 2008 ARIA Standards were created (standards for people who are blind)
- 2009 TalkBack added to Android for blind users
- 2016 Lawsuit filed by Guillermo Robles against Dominos Pizza
Dominos says that there are no standards, but this is a lie. There are standards. It was just that the company that Dominos hired to create their website and app did not know the standards. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.”
Here are some resources to help with making your websites and mobile app accessible:
- Standards – https://www.w3.org/standards/webdesign/accessibility.html
- ARIA in HTML: https://www.w3.org/TR/html-aria/
- Compliant checking tools: https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/
Case studies show that accessible websites have better search results, reduced maintenance costs, and increased audience reach, among other benefits. In other words, Google rewards websites that make their websites accessible to blind and deaf people with a higher ranking.
A deaf user cannot hear. If you present material to the user only in audio format, either as an audio file or a video file, the deaf person will not be able to understand the message.
The easy solution is to provide a transcript of your audio or video file. Some tools exist to auto-create subtitles of video files. Some of these tools are better than others.
Also, a transcript of your audio or video file will help Google because Google understands words, not audio and video files.
Just because a blind user cannot see or has low vision, it does not mean that they do not use web browsers or smartphones. Some blind users use VoiceOver (iPhone) or TalkBack (Android) technology. The text is read out loud to the user, and it is a standard feature in all iPhones and Android phones. Other users use braille readers with their computers, laptops, and mobile phones. There are even braille smartphones.
For blind people, the main problem is images, especially when the image is the action. The purpose of the alt attribute in the img tag is to describe an image for a blind person. Screen readers use the alt attribute to tell the blind person what the image is, and displays when the image cannot be loaded. If you want to see what a blind person will see when they load your page, load up your HTML page without images.
Other Vision Users
Some users may have problems with colorblindness, so they cannot tell the difference between green and red. Other users may have low vision issues. They may need to enlarge the text, or they may need a higher contrast between the background and the text.
Tips for Helping Blind Users
- Make allowances for enlarged text.
- Allow a browser to change background and text colors. Contrasting colors of text and the background make the text easier to read. Other users cannot read bright colors.
- Make the affirmative action a button, and the cancel action a link. The different designs create a visual difference between the two.
- Let desktop users browse your mobile site. Mobile displays are sequential, so the user has to read downwards, not across and down.
- Use keyboard shortcuts.
- Always add in the alt attribute to images. If an image is not essential (just decoration), then add alt=” “. That is the standard.
- Check that the tab order of links and dialog boxes make sense.
- Heading levels should make sense. Don’t jump from Heading 2 to Heading 5, because it will be confusing.
- There should only be one Heading 1.
- Add in ARIA roles to help a user jump to the section of the page they are looking for.
- For forms, mark up labels correctly.
The customer does acceptance testing before accepting a finished software product. Acceptance testing needs to include testing for the three significant screen size categories: telephone, tablet, and desktop.
Acceptance testing needs to include accessibility testing for deaf users, blind users, low vision users, and users with other vision issues.
Following these basic rules not only makes the end-user experience more enjoyable, but it will also give a ranking boost in Google’s search results.