Apple, a company that prides itself on excellent design, is recently facing a lawsuit which claims that the layout of the company’s web pages is clearly violating the law.
In a complaint filed at the Manhattan District court, Himelda Mendez, the plaintiff, claims that Apple’s website violates the Title III of the ADA, also known as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Mendez, who’s legally blind and visually impaired, needs to use a screen reader that can convert written web text into spoken words or Braille. According to the Federation of the Blind, there are about 7.3 million people aged 16 years and above in the United States who have a visual disability.
The complaint states that Apple’s website code doesn’t include alt text attributes, which allow for the screen readers to be able to convey textual descriptions of the graphics. Unlike the website of Gclubslot, the web pages of Apple.com, as the lawsuit claims, contain empty links without any text at all and this somehow confuses the screen readers, making them unable to use them.
There’s also the issue of redundant links that are next to each other, pointing to a similar address, making it even more difficult for the users of the screen readers to be able to comprehend. In addition, the link images of Apple, as it’s claimed, don’t have enough alt text tags. This means that screen readers won’t have any way to tell users about the function of the links.
According to the complainant, in order for the screen-reading function to be able to work, the information presented on the website should be well capable of being rendered into text. If the website content is not capable of rendering it into text, users who are visually impaired or blind will be unable to access similar content that’s available to well-sighted users.
The W3C, which is a web standard organization, developed the version 2.0 of its Web Content Accessibility Guidelines in 2008 in order to provide rules on how to make the websites usable by people with disabilities. Furthermore, the lawsuit complains about Apple’s lack of compliance representing intentional discrimination against visually impaired individuals.
In the recent campaign of Apple known as Behind the Mac, Apple featured Bruce Hall, a legally blind photographer. Apple’s website status falling short of accessibility recommendations is still not clear as of the moment. However, private litigation following from the inaccessibility of the website has surged in the last 2 years.
The recently filed lawsuit has prompted more than 100 members of the House of Representatives to come up with a letter addressed to Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, which urged him to provide the Justice Dept. guidance, which the private legal action under the Americans with Disabilities Act isn’t allowed to issue rules for web accessibility. Although it’s already passed in the House, the HR 620 is still stalled in the Senate, through the effort of Senator Tammy Duckworth, a disabled veteran.