Coolspa Website Not Accessible to the Blind ADA Class Action

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is designed to help handicapped individuals to negotiate public facilities. The complaint for this class action alleges that Coolspa, Inc. violates this law by not making its website accessible to blind or visually-impaired persons.

The class for this action is all legally blind individuals in the US who have tried to access the Coolspa website but were denied equal enjoyment of the services offered, during the relevant statutory period.

Blind or visually-impaired people can access websites with the use of screen readers. However, for screen readers to work, the website requires certain additions.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international standards organization that has published version 2.0 of a Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). The complaint says, “These guidelines are universally followed by most large business entities and government agencies to ensure [their] websites are accessible.”

These guidelines include such things as providing alternative text (alt-text) for all non-text elements, such as pictures or buttons. Alt-text is an invisible code embedded beneath graphical elements, which cannot be seen by visitors not using screen readers.

Plaintiff Thomas J. Olsen is a proficient user of the JAWS screen reader, but it cannot help him fully navigate the Coolspa website, because it is not properly set up.

According to the complaint, Coospa offers “cosmetic fat loss and body sculpting services at its New York city spa” on Fifth Avenue. Olsen encountered major problems when he tried to use its website. 

First, it was virtually impossible to know what was on the website. Images lacked proper alt-text to describe them. For example, the images on the webpage Gallery were each labeled simply “gallery.” Similarly, on the page “Coolscupting for Men,” an image purportedly shows the coolscupting process, but the alt-text does not sufficiently explain it; it is labeled simply “coolscupting.” Other images were not even detectible by the screen reader. The videos explaining the process did not have audio explanations.

Second, Olsen had difficulty navigating the website. The main navigation links have drop-down menus, but this is not presented to the screen reader, so that when Olsen clicks on the links, unable to choose from the drop-down options, nothing happens. Also, the links are not in a tree format that is more comprehensible to a screen reader.

There were many other problems as well. For example, document titles were blank. Some pages had the same title. Some webpages lacked headings, and the headings that existed were not nested correctly. Some links shared the same text but went to different destinations. Webpages also had markup errors.

The complaint claims that the website is a “gateway” to the services and that the denial of access to the website denies blind or visually-impaired persons access to the facilities, goods, and services offered there. It bring suit under the ADA as well as New York state laws.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Civil Rights

Most Recent Case Event

Coolspa Website Not Accessible to the Blind ADA Complaint

April 23, 2019

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is designed to help handicapped individuals to negotiate public facilities. The complaint for this class action alleges that Coolspa, Inc. violates this law by not making its website accessible to blind or visually-impaired persons.

coolspa_website_ada_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Coolspa Website Not Accessible to the Blind ADA Complaint

April 23, 2019

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is designed to help handicapped individuals to negotiate public facilities. The complaint for this class action alleges that Coolspa, Inc. violates this law by not making its website accessible to blind or visually-impaired persons.

coolspa_website_ada_complaint.pdf
Tags: Accessibility, Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Rights, Legally Blind