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1 November 2019

The ability to order pizza in the USA remains at the forefront of accessibility discussion as its Supreme Court rejected Domino’s appeal to a case regarding the accessibility of its pizza ordering app.

As posted in January, the complaint was brought forward by Guillermo Robles, a blind Domino’s customer who said that the iOS based app on the iPhone did not work effectively with the VoiceOver screen reader. As a result, he was unable to change pizza toppings, complete the order or use coupons.

The case began in 2016 with an argument based on the belief that not being able to complete an order placed Domino’s in breach of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. Specifically, the Act states it is unlawful for businesses to deny individuals with disabilities access to their goods and services unless the effort involved places them under an “undue burden”.

Supreme pizza from Domino's

Supreme Pizza (Copyright © Domino’s Pizza)

While the case was initially lost, Robles was successful on appeal and Domino’s Pizza USA was required to fix its website and app. Domino’s appealed this ruling, but the Supreme Court rejected the appeal, paving the way for other claims by people with disabilities should online content not comply with accessibility standards. This ruling represents the first time a federal court of appeals has ever decided whether Title III of the ADA applies to a business’s website or mobile apps.

The accessibility issue featured in the case primarily revolves around the lack of alternative text for images, a common complaint faced by blind and vision impaired users of fast food apps due to the rapidly-changing nature of special products often resulting in alternative text being skipped over in the rush to promote items. As a result, a future Domino’s online store is now required to ensure that its website and app are compliant with web accessibility standards and compatible with VoiceOver on iOS devices.

While Domino’s Pizza USA is a separate trading entity to Domino’s Pizza Australia, the ruling is likely to spark other online food providers to take notice and update their content to more effectively support the needs of people with disabilities.

The Centre for Accessibility is a joint project by Media on Mars, DADAA and Dr Scott Hollier and is funded by the Department of Communities, Disability Services.

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