Day 71 - Define accessible

Early in my UX journey I'd attended a free seminar on design and usability. The lecturer was Canadian, and happened to be a neighbour; relative to where we were then which was Doha,Qatar.

At the end of the lecture I asked him what he thought about this as a career, and he said it'd be the smartest thing to invest my time in. In the province of Ontario, there was a court case against the government by a lady who couldn't navigate their websites well enough to request a service. So all government entities now must ensure that their websites are accessible.

He said the accessibility law requires all other organizations ensure their digital products are accessible by 2025 under penalty of law. Which meant that there was a good chunk of change to be made by consulting for organizations that need to ensure their websites are accessible. The U.S. has a similar requirement, titled section 508, but it only applies to government entities.

I recall this because there was an interesting case in the news recently. Dominoes pizza is trying to stop a run on it by people who claim it is not abiding by the American Disabilities Act, when it comes to their digital assets.

Domino’s points to the past for evidence of the fact that the ADA never required companies to ensure a disability-friendly alternative to every aspect of its services, explaining:
Since before the advent of the Internet, department stores have sent customers mail-order catalogues … Companies have also deployed door-to-door salesmen and maintained telephone hotlines as additional ways for customers to place orders without having to visit their physical locations. Those methods parallel today’s websites and mobile apps. Yet, under the Ninth Circuit’s view, these longstanding methods would have violated [the ADA] unless the mail-order catalogues were available in Braille, the door-to-door salesmen knew American Sign Language, and the telephone hotlines were equipped for the hearing-impaired.”

It's better if you read it, I can't summarize it well enough.

But I find it interesting that Ontario foresaw this issue and gave companies sufficient time to ensure their digital assets were accessible.

Time will tell what will happen south of the border and if there'll be enough talented usability folks around to deal with this challenge, maybe foreign companies can fill the gap? 

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