Home » Software can help the blind access the internet, but not every website supports it. | Chicago Tribune

Software for blind: A pad lock locking a fence representing website inaccessibility

Software can help the blind access the internet, but not every website supports it. | Chicago Tribune

A wave of lawsuits is pushing to change that

“Jose Martinez has been thwarted when buying concert tickets online. He changed banks after finding his financial institution’s mobile app wouldn’t work for him. Sometimes, when he can’t finalize a purchase on an e-commerce site, he simply takes his business elsewhere.

Martinez, 37, is legally blind. The Chicago resident uses screen-reading software on his computer that converts text into descriptive speech, a technology that has made it possible for him to live independently.

“I live alone … I want to make my life as practical as possible,” Martinez said.

But not every website is compatible with the software Martinez and visually impaired consumers across the country use. There is no federal law requiring businesses to design websites that work with the tools blind and deaf consumers use to navigate the internet. Nor are there any federal guidelines on how to create one. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires companies to make accommodations for individuals with disabilities, but it was signed in 1990 when the internet was nascent, and it does not address websites.”

As the internet has become an increasingly integral part of daily life, with everything from shopping and dating services to job applications moving online, there is a growing push to get companies to make their sites usable by all. But businesses and trade groups say that’s a costly, complex ask, and because of the lack of federal standards, it’s unclear how best to make the technological changes.

As a result, the number of lawsuits filed over companies’ websites is growing.”

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Source: Special software can help the blind access the internet, but not every website supports it. A wave of lawsuits is pushing to change that | Chicago Tribune

 


 

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