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Why Website Developers Need To Test For Accessibility

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Landmark Ruling After First ADA Title III Trial Concerning Accessibility of a Business' Website -- Gil v. Winn Dixie

Published on June 21, 2017
Marc Dubin

ADA Expertise Consulting, LLC

Is your website accessible to persons with disabilities? Can a person who is blind, who uses a screen reader, access your online information using a screen reader? Can a person who is deaf access the videos on your website - are the videos properly captioned? Do you know? Does your web developer know what the ADA requires?

Are you addressing the problem? We can help.

The liability for failing to ensure that your website is accessible can be very costly, both in terms of failing to attract customers with disabilities, and in terms of legal liability.

Case in point - a recent trial concerning the website of Winn Dixie grocery stores.

The lawsuit was the first title III website access case in the nation to go to trial, and the Court found that Winn Dixie had violated the ADA.

In its ruling, the Court stated:

“Although Winn-Dixie argues that Gil has not been denied access to Winn-Dixie’s physical store locations as a result of the inaccessibility of the website, the ADA does not merely require physical access to a place of public accommodation. Rather, the ADA requires that disabled individuals be provided “full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of anyplace of public accommodation . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). The services offered on Winn-Dixie’s website, such as the online pharmacy management system,the ability to access digital coupons that link automatically to a customer’srewards card, and the ability to find store locations, are undoubtedly services,privileges, advantages, and accommodations offered by Winn-Dixie’s physicalstore locations. These services, privileges, advantages, and accommodations are especially important for visually impaired individuals since it is difficult, ifnot impossible, for such individuals to use paper coupons found in newspapersor in the grocery stores, to locate the physical stores by other means, and tophysically go to a pharmacy location in order to fill prescriptions. The factual findings demonstrate that Winn-Dixie’s website is inaccessible to visually impaired individuals who must use screen reader software…."

"Therefore, Winn-Dixie has violated the ADA because the inaccessibility of its website has denied Gil the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations that Winn-Dixie offers to its sighted customers.”

The Court ordered comprehensive changes to the website, mandating adherence to WCAG 2.0 - a Standard that was developed by an international body of experts in web accessibility - It is widely expected that many other lawsuits alleging a failure by businesses to comply with the ADA and WCAG 2.0 will follow. Justice Department enforcement may also occur, with the imposition of damages, as well as up to $75,000 in civil penalties.

Please visit www.ADAexpertise.com for further information about our services. Or call us at 305-896-3000. Initial consultation is free of charge.

For more information about the case, please click HERE