9 Comments

  1. Daniel James
    · Reply

    Don’t get me wrong, accessibility can be a bit tricky to implement but once you take the time to learn it properly, it’s not hard. It’s lack of implementation on the web is largely down to laziness to be honest.

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  2. Christopher Price
    · Reply

    Because of this ruling, I’m now encouraging webmasters in the coming weeks to add ADA notices to their web sites.

    Essentially, it will just be a note that says “because the DOJ has not posted regulations, it’s not possible for us to know exactly what to do – but if you do have an accessibility issue with the web site, please contact us at this email address so we can work to address your specific accessibility concern.”

    This is a boon for for web developers. Now every ADA assistance device that draws a complaint, will obligate site owners to fix it… likely regardless of cost. At least until the DOJ issues rules.

    The Supreme Court could have at least ordered the DOJ to issue rules here, and instead, they took the cowardly way out.

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    • Ben
      · Reply

      I don’t understand this? Why don’t you make the websites accessible?You shouldn’t need guidelines, it’s not hard to do.

      I’m not American but a quick search has shown me that ADA became law in 1990, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines came out in 1999, and were updated in 2008 and 2018.

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    • Peter
      · Reply

      wow! what a good advise… *sarcasm*

      So instead of reading the existent specs and implement the specs, it’s easier to push the ball to the disability side and wait for the next round.

      I hope your advise is free of charge otherwise … feel blanks.

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    • Tim Kaye
      · Reply

      The Supreme Court didn’t rule on anything. It declined to take the case.

      The Supreme Court isn’t just an appeals court. Its role is to rule on important matters of constitutional law, to settle differences in approaches taken by the appeals courts below it, and to clarify its own previous judgments. This case fell into none of those categories, and so the Court was right to refuse to hear it.

      So the Court was far from “cowardly”. Indeed, even if it had heard the case, there is no way that it would have ruled that the DoJ should issue regulations. The ADA gives the DoJ the power to do so; it doesn’t put the DoJ under any kind of obligation.

      In any event, the DoJ doesn’t need to issue any regulations in order for those responsible for websites to know what to do. The ADA requires that “reasonable accommodations” be taken. And where there is no specific ruling on what constitutes reasonableness, the courts will just go with what is accepted as such by those in the field. So the WCAG guidelines tell you all you need to know.

      By contrast, no-one in the field — apart from you, apparently — thinks it’s reasonable to say “I don’t know what to do, so I haven’t done anything”. So (unless you’ve complied by lucky accident) your sites will not comply with the ADA and you can look forward to being the recipient of future lawsuits.

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      • Sonja London

        @Tim – Finally, an informed comment about the ruling. Also some competent thoughts on our responsibility as developers or site owners.

        We strongly recommend our clients include accessibility in their sites, even before the supreme court decision.

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    • Ryan Hellyer
      · Reply

      Governments have a fairly solid track record at majorly sucking at regulating stuff like this. I’d rather the rules were somewhat flexible like this. The EU tried to be all smart about and the world ended up with a bunch of stupid websites spewing out daft messages you have to click past about cookies. It didn’t improve anything and just made us all click happy on anything which pops up when loading a website.

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  3. Joshua Nederveld
    · Reply

    I’d still argue this isn’t great news. Brick-and-mortar businesses have exacting specifications that let them how to to meet compliance for things like bathrooms, wheelchair ramps, etc. What we’ve got now is “follow WCAG 2.0 and stay clenched.”

    Domino’s argued that if ADA does apply to online spaces, Congress should amend the law to say so, and to give us some guidelines on what merits compliance. Right now, it’s like we’re all just arguing over which house rules are the “right” rules in a game of Monopoly.

    Section 508 is not enough, because that specifically applies to government websites only. If we treat ADA compliance as if we were playing a Euro board game, then following Section 508 (and by extension, WCAG 2.0) doesn’t mean anything because it’s not what is specifically in the rules.

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  4. Sonja London
    · Reply

    I think that many are looking at accessibility in terms of “am I legally required” or not in order to avoid a lawsuit or some government action.

    We see it as a business question. It will allow us to reach a bigger audience. That is a quantifiable plus. And it is not just about blind users.

    Many of the changes that improve accessibility, also improve SEO. Some also make the website work better for mobile.

    Seriously, this is just good business.

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