This is a dense argument. There are well-established web content accessibility guidelines, aptly named Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Android has accessibility features built-in, and I'd guess iOS does too, despite having never used it myself. Nothing about this is particularly costly. WCAG has been around for over a decade...so what is Domino's angle, really? For a company that seems to embrace tech, this makes no sense.
Regulations require us to do something. We don't feel like doing something. Waaaaaa.
(i.e., the usual; cf. Boeing and FAA, etc)
Following the WCAG won’t stop you getting sued (or more likely, getting a letter threatening a lawsuit unless you pay a ‘settlement’).
First, remember that the blind have always been able to order pizza by just calling in with a phone. Domino's is serving the blind in that sense.
The case here is about them being unwilling to provide an online-only discount to the blind. So why are they paying so much to defend, specifically, a blind-inaccessible, online-only discount?
They offer an online discount, I think, because they get so much more valuable data from it. Like most websites, sadly, their site loads you down with a torrent of trackers.
What does that have to do with being accessible? Well, if the blind can easily navigate to the important parts of a site, so can their screen-reader ... and so can any program. Then, anyone, not just the blind, can bypass all the crap on their site when ordering, and even shut out the trackers.
Where's the flaw in my logic?
tl;dr: Anything that helps the blind navigate their site also helps you bypass tracking, and makes an online-only discount unprofitable.
They make a lot more money from selling pizza than from tracking you, and if someone who is blocking trackers can't reasonably order pizza, Dominos would be shooting themselves in the foot.
If their website doesn't work for <my browser configuration>, I'm not going to pick up a fucking phone. I'll just order from any other pizza place in my vicinity.
The likely reality is, they are lazy, and don't want to spend dev effort to be compliant.
The devs may not be lazy but the company probably doesn‘t want to spend time and effort on this, or, gasp, hire more people.
Source - former franchisee
But I guess spending a couple of days' worth of profit on complying with the law is just too much to ask.
This was shot down by the government lawyers as this was against the "equal access rule". Redirecting users to a different version of the website was determined to be the equivalent as building a separate entrance to a government building optimized for wheal chairs users which is against the law. The law clearly states that all citizen must have same access to government facilities and that was determined to mean "the same entrance" and "same facilities within the building".
So an optimized, text only, edition of the website for screen readers was ruled out and screen reader users was left with a sub-optimal experience ... but hey they get to use the same URL as everyone else so there is nothing for them to complain about.
(This is 10 years ago. Dont know if things has changed since. I hope it have)
Sure, if the website is sub-optimal, the users are free to complain about it (and file a lawsuit, depending on the country and laws). From my experience, UX and Accessibility go hand in hand. So if your website is sub-optimal for screen reader users, I can almost guarantee it will be sub-optimal for other people as well.
In theory, this is a false dilemma - it's not either a highly optimal version for screen reader users vs. a sub-optimal experience with the default version. The third option is to "simply" make the default version accessible (which indeed may mean _a lot_ of work = money, especially for legacy projects).
It's like creating a separate version of your website just for mobile devices. This pattern was used a lot in the past, but not that much anymore. If you build your website with mobile and accessibility in mind (mobile-first, a11y-first), you get an overall better experience.
> We worked together with Jaws to find a way to determine if the user was using a screen reader.
This is basically the opposite of what I just wrote. There was a big uproar regarding the new Apple feature  for doing exactly that.
> Dont know if things has changed since.
My personal anectode: I was part of a complete re-write of a big airline website and we followed the mobile- and a11y-first approach with much success. I think the major part of our success was having _everyone_ on board from day one: designers, developers, testers, product managers and customer had all been working with accessibility in mind.
That seems insane to me. You're telling me government buildings don't have any stairs whatsoever?
This would be the equivalent of publishing 2 versions of your iPhone app. One highly optimized for blind people and another version for everyone else.
Although the iPhone has great accessibility an separate optimized version of your app would provide an even better user experience but that we were not allowed to do.
The idea for the text only edition was an idea that was formed by a group of blind people and was the solution they said was the optimal solution for them
Didn’t Stephen Hawking use Windows because it had the best accessibility?
I've dealt with having to make a site accessible. There are a lot of mods that you need to make that are mostly not noticed by most users but are a bear to keep up to date with a constantly changing website and will add many hours of work to the website's upkeep. Also if you stick by the strict guidelines there are web technologies that can't be used - especially the newest tech. Long term it's easier to maintain 2 sites with different UIs but again that takes many hours of extra manpower.
I'm one that believes accessibility is a must but I also realize that most companies aren't willing to spend the extra money.
What's the fix? A compromise like having a very simple web site or it might be having an alternative system where accessibility means having someone help you with the site via phone. But fighting all the way to the supreem courts so you don't have to do any thing is not the answer.
Seems like all humans should be on Domino's side, at least all techies.
Edit: before the cacophany decends to tell me how easy accessibility is, let me preemptively highlight that opportunity cost is the fundamental unit of cost to a startup. And this is a ycombinator site. So everyone should already know this.
Why would anyone oppose this? Is the only way to get your startup off the ground to walk over visually impaired people? Restaurants have razor thin margins too but I’ve never heard of any restaurant looking to save a buck by limiting wheelchair access.
The point of the ADA is to make violating it more expensive then complying with it.
Are we going to force Domino's to offer Braille menus? What about menus in Russian? Or large print menus and menus?
No. I believe a company shouldn't be forced to accommodate everyone who may want their products, though I certainly think they should do it voluntarily. In fact, I'd support boycotts and critical press about it, but not a law.
OTOH ... big sigh here. It's really, really depressing that we've reached the point where websites, and their typical toolchains, are so bloated that it's considered a burden at all to make your site accessible. HTML is basically designed to be blind-friendly! The only reason it's a noticeable burden at all is because everyone's bought into stupid patterns that make their sides so inelegant, non-functional, and meth-addled.
If we use an unusually big stick to slap website conventions back into sanity, I'm probably not going to lose a lot of sleep over it.
1) Obviously accessible is better. Everyone agrees. When all cost is opportunity cost, do things that don't scale. Target your market aggressively. Cut your market to reduce your opportunity costs of getting to a revenue stream, then expand your market.
2) the more burdens you place in the market, the more you favor established players and make it more difficult and costly for startups to happen and succeed.
3) since when did not spending the time to build something for blind people equal walking over them? They're a valuable part of the market, to be sure, but come on. I can't sell a product to seeing people until i build in functionality for blind people? This is why the federal register is so large. Pointless crusades from short sighted busybodies.
It should be accessible, I disagree that it _must_ be accessible.
Using fancy frameworks and scripts can certainly break things unnecessarily, but there are some things that require significant labor to make accessible no matter what you do.
Suppose I want to put my vacation photos on my personal website. I took a thousand of them. But a blind person can't see photographs; do I have to sit there and caption them all now? That's going to take hours. If that's required I'm just not going to post them.
You get the same sort of problem with universities posting course lecture videos. Recording the class costs almost nothing on top of not recording it (just station a camera in the back of the room), but having someone sit there and closed caption all the lectures would add a full time employee who does nothing else. When they're posting the videos for free use of the public, some schools are just going to choose to stop publishing them instead of picking up that level of expense in exchange for no compensation from anyone.
And if you want to suggest speech to text software as a solution, isn't that better accomplished by building it into the client rather than the website, so that it works everywhere? But then we shouldn't have laws that mandate it the other way.
And the lower that bar is then the higher the barrier to entry for a web presence for anyone.
There is the accessibility standard but is Domino's on the hook when it's not enough to actually use the site with some applications?
That being said, I don't know the legal precedent on this, I'm just talking from what I consider moral.
You shouldn't have to lower all of the shelves (or provide ladders) just because really short people exist, but if your employees refuse to assist when asked, then you have a problem. Likewise, Dominos will help blind people at their stores or over the phone, so there's still a way for them to reasonably order food from them.
I don't think Dominos should be forced to make their website accessible, though they certainly receive the negative press.
The thing is that most sources of impediments to disabled people come from people creating procedures, designs or structures and not considering that not everyone has the same abilities. There are few people who have malice against people with disabilities so having deliberate acts of discrimination be the threshold would not be effective in solving the problem.
I don't think we should even consider this from the perspective of morality or punishment. Corporations are amoral profit maximisers by their nature. When corporations don't create accessible sites what they save by not creating an accessible site is paid by the people with disabilities. The ability to sue over ADA violations is a way to capture this negative externality.
More discussion about how both digital and physical accessibility helps everyone:
This is not necessarily so.
I develop mobile apps for a large corp. Our designers are often told by the accessibility team to change their design in ways that make the more accessible, but reduce the usability for normal users.
I'm talking about simple controls that most people take for granted, like date/time pickers, carousels etc.
What about your older customers? I have it on good authority old people also enjoy pizza.
And how do you know you're not going to need that accessibility when you least expect it? You don't wake up expecting a retinal detachment or an accident, but sometimes shit happens.
And, though I'm a designer and not a developer, accessibility has had a strong correlation with technical debt. Semantic class names, well structured HTML, not rendering your headline fonts as a bitmap so you can have your on-brand typeface…accessible code tends to go along with resilient code.
Making pages that a program can easily read is pretty fundamental to how everyone uses the web.
I'm with Dominos. No reasonable person would expect a website to support people with disabilities; the web is still the totally unregulated wild west it was 20 years ago. Just because it would be nice to have a web that supports people with disabilities doesn't mean you can have the Supreme Court will the requisite regulation into existence, nor does the existence of some informal accessibility standards mean that they should be enforceable by law. It is the job of Congress to update the ADA into the 21st century, and until they do that, the court should not force businesses to comply with the yet-to-be-written regulations.
There have been web accessibility guidelines since 1995 and WCAG 2.0 aka ISO/IEC 40500:2012 has been around since 2012. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation act incorporates those guidelines so if you are following those rules you should be safe.