Accessibility lawsuit filed against Disney websites

There’s a class action suit against Disney. The complaint is that inaccessible websites and failure to accomodate blind persons is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Here’s a summary of the lawsuit.

Three visually impaired women filed a class action complaint against two Walt Disney companies alleging that Disney’s websites relating to its theme parks, hotels and restaurants are inaccessible to the visually impaired, in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. These allegations are brought along with broader allegations that Disney unlawfully discriminates against blind patrons who visit their theme parks, hotels and restaurants by refusing to reasonably accommodate their needs.

The Disney sites contain video and audio which cannot be turned off by people who cannot use a mouse. That means the audio drowns out the screen reader voice. The websites also use inaccessible Flash content. The suit was filed in California by a Florida lawyer.

Disney’s position is that it owes no special obligation to blind persons as a group and that Disney has no way to determine how many blind users visit its websites or its theme parks.

Some people feel that the ADA only requires a website to be accessible when it is a government owned site. People with disabilities continue taking steps to broaden that legal definition.

The decision in this case should have implications in the web design community. Not many cases set up legal definitions of how the ADA applies to non-government websites. One you may recall from a couple of years ago was against Target. That one was also filed on behalf of the National Federation for the Blind, and was decided in the NFB’s favor.

You can read more details about the Disney lawsuit at PRWeb. The Florida attorney’s website contains links to PDF files with the complete complaint if you’d like to see it. Look all the way down at the bottom of the page to find the attached PDF files.

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