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Supreme Court Rules on Website ADA Compliance. Is Your Site Up to Snuff?

Posted on December 20, 2019 by Jeff Pollard

As the web has evolved over time, the web design and development industry has become increasingly aware and considerate of how sites are used by people with disabilities. It has been a couple of months now, but the Supreme Court recently ruled on a case that is likely to send shockwaves through the marketing and advertising industry and further increase awareness of the importance of website ADA compliance.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Website ADA Compliance

On at least two occasions in the past few years, Guillermo Robles, a blind man from Florida, was not able to order pizza through the Domino’s Pizza website or mobile app due to accessibility issues. Robles’ filed a suit against Domino’s, and the case was sent to the local district court, where Domino’s filed a motion to dismiss the case. Robles’ legal team escalated the issue to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where the case was reviewed and was ruled that the case should proceed. Domino’s then petitioned the Supreme Court to rule on the case. The Supreme Court denied the petition from Domino’s, which means that the lower courts’ decision will stand.

This case is a great win for advocates of website accessibility and should serve as a strong reminder of how important it is to create sites that are inclusive of all people, regardless of any disability. The truth is, making sure that websites are easily accessible for people with disabilities should have been a more important issue since the World Wide Web came into popularity in the 1990s. However, due to cases like this, accessibility has become an increasingly discussed topic over the past 10 years or so.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

Part of the problem (and one that Domino’s argued) was that clear rules aren’t in place officially governing website accessibility. As it currently stands, the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) contain three levels of compliance:

  • Level A (must satisfy)
  • Level AA (should satisfy): Makes sites accessible to people with a wider range of disabilities, including the most common barriers
  • Level AAA (may satisfy): Most demanding level of WCAG compliance

Level A issues are urgent and need to be addressed as soon as possible. ADA compliance Level AA standards are generally rooted in website functionality and make it possible for your disabled visitor to have a complete and full experience on your website. Level AAA is the highest goal to strive for and generally includes making further enhancements to the Level A and Level AA issues.

Does Your Business Have an ADA Compliant Website?

If you are concerned that your website may not be ADA compliant, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to provide a free assessment of your website’s accessibility.

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About the author:

Jeff Pollard

Partner, Director of Technology

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Jeff is one of Torx's founding partners and serves as the agency's Director of Technology. He built his first website back in 1996 and has never looked back. Jeff wears many hats at Torx: front-end designer and developer, server administrator, and resident Apple enthusiast.