A proposed class action claims Walmart has violated federal law by failing to ensure that its website is fully and equally accessible to consumers who are blind or have vision-related disabilities.
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The 22-page lawsuit was filed by two Minnesota consumers who are legally blind and navigate the internet by relying on screen-reader technology, which reads the content of a webpage to users. The plaintiffs allege that Walmart.com, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), contains numerous “digital barriers” that block users of screen-reader software from fully accessing important website content that is readily available to sighted consumers.
For example, the plaintiffs claim Walmart.com fails to alert screen-reader users to pop-up window content.
“Instead, screen readers remain focused on the content of the website’s underlying page,” the suit shares. “As a result, pop-up content [Walmart] deems sufficiently important to convey to its sighted website visitors is completely unavailable to screen reader users.”
In addition, the case contends the website does not provide adequate text equivalents for images, meaning that individuals with visual impairments are not able to understand a featured picture’s content and purpose.
Walmart.com also fails to provide sufficient descriptions of what certain links and buttons do, making a screen-reader user’s navigation of the website an “exercise in trial and error,” the complaint charges.
“When digital content is properly formatted, it is universally accessible to everyone,” the filing says. “When it’s not, the content provider fails to communicate with individuals with a visual disability effectively.”
Consumers with visual impairments must, therefore, spend extra time and effort to surmount these communication barriers, which often leads such individuals to “abandon the process of purchasing items online after they begin,” the lawsuit relays.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone who is blind or has a low vision disability within the meaning of the ADA who uses screen-reader auxiliary aids to navigate digital online content and has accessed, attempted to access or may access Walmart.com.
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