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Domino’s takes its case for non-accessible design to the Supreme Court

NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 8,984Member Member Posts: 8,984Member Member
This might (or not) be of interest to some in here. Certainly pizza is a fun tie in.

The shift toward using an app on your phone to place an order, instead of using your phone to call a place, has made life easier for millions of people. Unfortunately, that shift has the opposite effect on blind and visually impaired consumers, for whom thousands of websites and mobile apps are unusable. Domino's Pizza maintains one such site, and it's asking the Supreme Court to let the site stay that way.

Domino's made a legal filing called a writ of certiorari to the US Supreme Court last week—basically, an argument for why the nation's highest court should take its case. In the petition (PDF), Domino's asks the court to determine whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires a retailer's website or app to "satisfy discrete accessibility requirements with respect to individuals with disabilities."

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/08/dominos-takes-its-case-for-non-accessible-design-to-the-supreme-court/


My opinion is that they make a good case, but chose their battles poorly. It will cost more to defend their position then to fix their code. Winning means selling fewer pizzas over the long term.

I have more to say on the matter, but will open it up to the floor first.
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Replies

  • SuzySunshine99SuzySunshine99 Posts: 1,000Member Member Posts: 1,000Member Member
    I'm not sure why Domino's would fight so hard to restrict their customer pool.

    Bedises visually impaired people, what about people who do not have smartphones or computers, such as senior citizens and low-income individuals?

    In my region, Domino's is the cheapest pizza delivery option for people with limited funds. I would think this would hurt their sales.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Posts: 11,577Member Member Posts: 11,577Member Member
    If they were in my portfolio, I'd consider selling. As presented in the article (which may not be all that on point), they're being stupid and short-sighted. (Not sure whether that last is "pun intended" or not.)

    I understand about the ambiguity of technical requirements, etc. But making it possible for people with vision limitations to order is pretty achievable (as a practical thing, which may be distinct from technical compliance with a law . . . sometimes the technical defintion is suboptimal for individuals with limitations, and confusing for service providers besides).

    While I'm only a casual observer (though in Domino's home state), they're usually not way stupid or anti-public-spirited, so I'm suspecting there's more to this than the article offers. Dunno, though.
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Posts: 1,861Member Member Posts: 1,861Member Member
    Apparently there are a number of such lawsuits happening now. This may explain a bit of Domino's desire to fight this.
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/1/20750913/dominos-pizza-website-accessible-blind-supreme-court-lawsuit
    In its petition to the Supreme Court, Domino’s references included features of its website, like the Pizza Tracker, that may be difficult to translate into words and that could result in higher costs during the retrofit. “For more complex websites with video content, interactive features, and links to other webpages, costs can reach even higher. Banks estimated that satisfying website-accessibility requirements could reach $3 million per website,” the document reads. “This wide variation reflects not only differences in the complexity of websites, but uncertainty over what compliance even means.”

    According to CNBC, a number of restaurant- and retail-friendly groups, like the Chamber of Commerce and the Restaurant Law Center, have filed amicus briefs in support of Domino’s.

    3 mil per site and potentially still liability...that would be a precarious position to be in.
  • thanos5thanos5 Posts: 373Member Member Posts: 373Member Member
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    Apparently there are a number of such lawsuits happening now. This may explain a bit of Domino's desire to fight this.
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/1/20750913/dominos-pizza-website-accessible-blind-supreme-court-lawsuit
    In its petition to the Supreme Court, Domino’s references included features of its website, like the Pizza Tracker, that may be difficult to translate into words and that could result in higher costs during the retrofit. “For more complex websites with video content, interactive features, and links to other webpages, costs can reach even higher. Banks estimated that satisfying website-accessibility requirements could reach $3 million per website,” the document reads. “This wide variation reflects not only differences in the complexity of websites, but uncertainty over what compliance even means.”

    According to CNBC, a number of restaurant- and retail-friendly groups, like the Chamber of Commerce and the Restaurant Law Center, have filed amicus briefs in support of Domino’s.

    3 mil per site and potentially still liability...that would be a precarious position to be in.

    im not buying those stats. 3 million for programming a site? 'lord vader' in mom's basement could do it for a free pizza. you gonna trust a bank estimating their expenses?
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Posts: 1,861Member Member Posts: 1,861Member Member
    thanos5 wrote: »
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    Apparently there are a number of such lawsuits happening now. This may explain a bit of Domino's desire to fight this.
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/1/20750913/dominos-pizza-website-accessible-blind-supreme-court-lawsuit
    In its petition to the Supreme Court, Domino’s references included features of its website, like the Pizza Tracker, that may be difficult to translate into words and that could result in higher costs during the retrofit. “For more complex websites with video content, interactive features, and links to other webpages, costs can reach even higher. Banks estimated that satisfying website-accessibility requirements could reach $3 million per website,” the document reads. “This wide variation reflects not only differences in the complexity of websites, but uncertainty over what compliance even means.”

    According to CNBC, a number of restaurant- and retail-friendly groups, like the Chamber of Commerce and the Restaurant Law Center, have filed amicus briefs in support of Domino’s.

    3 mil per site and potentially still liability...that would be a precarious position to be in.

    im not buying those stats. 3 million for programming a site? 'lord vader' in mom's basement could do it for a free pizza. you gonna trust a bank estimating their expenses?
    Me? Nope lol. The point is if that's truly the number Domino's is getting from bank estimates that's what they'll use. It helps their case. The obvious issue with that is it won't take much at all for the plaintiff to get access to multiple real world estimates to shoot that down. Got to keep in mind though, some typists charge an awful lot of money. And I can't help but wonder if whatever bank gave that estimate is including on site infrastructure upgrades as well. The defendant is going to want that number as high as possible, so probably.

    Meh - Their pizza isn't good enough for this to warrant too much of my attention lol.
  • Keto_VampireKeto_Vampire Posts: 1,692Member Member Posts: 1,692Member Member
    Seems like some bull **** path towards automation. #Corporate fat cats + Accountants
  • MotorsheenMotorsheen Posts: 14,269Member Member Posts: 14,269Member Member
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    thanos5 wrote: »
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    Apparently there are a number of such lawsuits happening now. This may explain a bit of Domino's desire to fight this.
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/1/20750913/dominos-pizza-website-accessible-blind-supreme-court-lawsuit
    In its petition to the Supreme Court, Domino’s references included features of its website, like the Pizza Tracker, that may be difficult to translate into words and that could result in higher costs during the retrofit. “For more complex websites with video content, interactive features, and links to other webpages, costs can reach even higher. Banks estimated that satisfying website-accessibility requirements could reach $3 million per website,” the document reads. “This wide variation reflects not only differences in the complexity of websites, but uncertainty over what compliance even means.”

    According to CNBC, a number of restaurant- and retail-friendly groups, like the Chamber of Commerce and the Restaurant Law Center, have filed amicus briefs in support of Domino’s.

    3 mil per site and potentially still liability...that would be a precarious position to be in.

    im not buying those stats. 3 million for programming a site? 'lord vader' in mom's basement could do it for a free pizza. you gonna trust a bank estimating their expenses?



    Meh - Their pizza isn't good enough for this to warrant too much of my attention lol.

    QFT
  • autumnblade75autumnblade75 Posts: 1,284Member Member Posts: 1,284Member Member
    https://www.theverge.com/2019/8/1/20750913/dominos-pizza-website-accessible-blind-supreme-court-lawsuit

    "Unless this Court steps in now, defendants must retool their websites to comply with Title III without any guidance on what accessibility in the online environment means for individuals with the variety of disabilities covered by the ADA"

    and

    “This wide variation reflects not only differences in the complexity of websites, but uncertainty over what compliance even means.”


    I'm pretty sure it's fair to codify into law what compliance entails before considering it a requirement of the law.

    Regardless of my opinion about their pizza, they've got a perfectly valid argument.


    edited August 3
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Posts: 8,984Member Member Posts: 8,984Member Member
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    Meh - Their pizza isn't good enough for this to warrant too much of my attention lol.

    Definitely agree. Pizza is calorie dense, so when you have it, you should have good pizza and really enjoy it. 🙂

    This is interesting (to me at least) in the sense that technology is transforming life, questions about leaving people behind seem like important ones to me.
  • MotorsheenMotorsheen Posts: 14,269Member Member Posts: 14,269Member Member
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    Meh - Their pizza isn't good enough for this to warrant too much of my attention lol.

    Definitely agree. Pizza is calorie dense, so when you have it, you should have good pizza and really enjoy it. 🙂

    This is interesting (to me at least) in the sense that technology is transforming life, questions about leaving people behind seem like important ones to me.

    I would image that with the breakneck speed in which technology is developing, legal issues pertaining to this same technology will always be a step or two behind.
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Posts: 1,861Member Member Posts: 1,861Member Member
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    Meh - Their pizza isn't good enough for this to warrant too much of my attention lol.

    Definitely agree. Pizza is calorie dense, so when you have it, you should have good pizza and really enjoy it. 🙂

    This is interesting (to me at least) in the sense that technology is transforming life, questions about leaving people behind seem like important ones to me.
    Yeah I agree with that. My only concern over something like this is that the full requirements don't seem to have been fully written into law/policy yet, so...keeping it short, it seems navigating the potential for liability even if the company willingly complies would be a nightmare. There are so many variables...
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Posts: 1,861Member Member Posts: 1,861Member Member
    Motorsheen wrote: »
    Phirrgus wrote: »
    Meh - Their pizza isn't good enough for this to warrant too much of my attention lol.

    Definitely agree. Pizza is calorie dense, so when you have it, you should have good pizza and really enjoy it. 🙂

    This is interesting (to me at least) in the sense that technology is transforming life, questions about leaving people behind seem like important ones to me.

    I would image that with the breakneck speed in which technology is developing, legal issues pertaining to this same technology will always be a step or two behind.

    Pretty much, it seems the laws and policies is written after someone challenges the existing status quo.
  • yukfooyukfoo Posts: 549Member Member Posts: 549Member Member
    Seems like some bull **** path towards automation. #Corporate fat cats + Accountants

    The future

    edited August 4
  • MotorsheenMotorsheen Posts: 14,269Member Member Posts: 14,269Member Member

    To me it sounds like a business decision based on cost, and if it's not cost-effective you shouldn't do it. Bottom line.

    Short answer: it depends. Is it the law? Is it only a business decision? ... dunno.

    Let's say that you have a building that is open to the public ( the example I'm thinking of is say... a community hospital) and there are no handicapped accessible restrooms on the main floor.

    It's not exactly cost effective to move load-bearing walls and reconfigure an entire space, but it is the law of the land. In this example, they need to comply.

    In regards to the ADA, there is also the subject of letter of the law versus the spirit of the law. Sometimes the architecture of the space will not allow compliance to the letter of the law, in that case, the owner needs to accommodate the disabled to the best of their ability, working in good faith of the ADA.

    If memory serves, the very first ADA case was the Empire State Building. It was because the observation deck was not wheelchair accessible. What does one do to rectify this situation? I don't know what was done, but it now seems that the Empire State Building is entirely ADA compliant.

    In the case of electronic applications, I'm not a I.T. guy, so I have no idea if this falls under the purview of the ADA. (I guess it's up to the court to decide these issues.). My hunch is that it's not a big deal and it would simply be a best practice. Why alienate a segment of your purchasing public? It's also terrible P.R..
  • MikePTYMikePTY Posts: 2,688Member, Premium Member Posts: 2,688Member, Premium Member
    There are existing Technologies available for people to order pizza in addition to using a touch screen or phone app. I really don't see why it would be necessary to have everything available to everyone. Hell, there are still places I can't get a cell signal around here.
    To me it sounds like a business decision based on cost, and if it's not cost-effective you shouldn't do it. Bottom line.

    This is the whole reason why the ADA exists. If disability accessibility was left up to "business decisions", society would still be completely inaccessible to disabled people. The ADA is what allows many disabled people to live independent lives.

    I have a friend who is blind and a disability rights lawyer, so this has been an issue she has been talking about a lot. If you exempt the internet from the ADA, you are essentially taking a huge step backwards for a society that is accessible, especially as more and more of our daily lives become dependent on the internet.

    The law still calls for "reasonable accommodation", so in these situations, there is always a determination that needs to be made if the accommodation is reasonable. It's why some buildings don't have to be wheelchair complaint, for example. But it would be hard for me to imagine that a company as large as Domino's can really make a good faith argument that making so it so blind people can order a pizza off their website is an unreasonable accommodation.
  • PhirrgusPhirrgus Posts: 1,861Member Member Posts: 1,861Member Member
    MikePTY wrote: »
    There are existing Technologies available for people to order pizza in addition to using a touch screen or phone app. I really don't see why it would be necessary to have everything available to everyone. Hell, there are still places I can't get a cell signal around here.
    To me it sounds like a business decision based on cost, and if it's not cost-effective you shouldn't do it. Bottom line.

    This is the whole reason why the ADA exists. If disability accessibility was left up to "business decisions", society would still be completely inaccessible to disabled people. The ADA is what allows many disabled people to live independent lives.

    I have a friend who is blind and a disability rights lawyer, so this has been an issue she has been talking about a lot. If you exempt the internet from the ADA, you are essentially taking a huge step backwards for a society that is accessible, especially as more and more of our daily lives become dependent on the internet.

    The law still calls for "reasonable accommodation", so in these situations, there is always a determination that needs to be made if the accommodation is reasonable. It's why some buildings don't have to be wheelchair complaint, for example. But it would be hard for me to imagine that a company as large as Domino's can really make a good faith argument that making so it so blind people can order a pizza off their website is an unreasonable accommodation.

    That isn't the argument though Mike.
    Parties on both sides of this and several previous lawsuits have pointed out that the law itself is unclear. The ADA doesn't have any specific provisions dealing with Web or mobile storefronts because it became law in the long-ago era of 1990, before such services existed.
    The Justice Department has changed its position on the question several times in the intervening decades, but it never actually issued a final rule or a unified guidance either way, leaving the matter to be handled in court.

    Accessibility technology firm UsableNet said in a recent report that more than 2,200 lawsuits related to Web accessibility issues were filed nationwide in 2018, with a combined 49 percent of those suits filed against retail and food service businesses.

    These suits are a "no-win scenario" for companies on the receiving end, Domino's said. "And it is also a no-win scenario for individuals with disabilities, because defendants faced with these suits overwhelmingly enter into piecemeal monetary settlements with individual plaintiffs or eliminate their online offerings instead of trying to keep up with moving-target compliance standards" that evolve as technology changes.

    It's a money sink for the companies being sued due to the fact that it's quite easy for the plaintiff to move the goal posts. There is currently no hard and fast standard for what constitutes "Reasonable accommodation" on the web.

    Say Dominos loses this suit. They retool their site and app per court order. To most folks who have no challenging disability, a fix for the blind is a fix for the blind. But what if blind person B finds that they have trouble navigating what's acceptable now to blind person A? Another lawsuit?

    The courts need to spell out line item by line item what is acceptable accommodation for the masses. If they don't, things will continue as they are, courts disagreeing on what's legal or right and where to draw the line.
  • bmeadows380bmeadows380 Posts: 1,179Member Member Posts: 1,179Member Member
    There are existing Technologies available for people to order pizza in addition to using a touch screen or phone app. I really don't see why it would be necessary to have everything available to everyone. Hell, there are still places I can't get a cell signal around here.
    To me it sounds like a business decision based on cost, and if it's not cost-effective you shouldn't do it. Bottom line.

    I live in WV - decent cell coverage is a luxury and why many people still have landlines around here. What's even worse? internet coverage. I was extremely fortunate that I live on a main highway alongside the cable line and was able to get broadband. Many people in this state have no access to broadband at all, leaving the only internet options being Frontier DSL (who's service is beyond horrible with constant blackouts, extremely slow service, poor customer service, etc considering their captive audience) or satellite internet which can be extremely expensive and as unreliable.

    So frankly, where I live, most people are too rural to be able to have pizza delivered (I'm too far out to have it delivered to my house), and most people don't have internet ability to order the pizza even if it could be delivered.


    Still, my thoughts are that the law definitely needs to be updated to reflect at least current technology. I realize that technology changes so quickly that it would be nigh on impossible to cover every possibility or keep it current, but a 25 year old law that doesn't even address the technology of 20 years ago is a problem.
    edited August 5
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