This has absolutely frightening implications for people that make content management systems where the default templates are NOT ADA compliant (UserLand, MovableType, Blogger take note).
scubacuda writes "According to Law.com, Robert Gumson, a blind man who uses a program that converts website content into speech, is suing Southwest Airlines (with the help of Miami Beach, FL-based Access Now) for its website being incompatible with his screen-reader program. The case has been filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act under the untested legal theory that ADA provisions on the accessibility of public accommodations to the disabled apply to Internet Web sites just as they do to brick-and-mortar facilities like movie theaters and department stores. There have been previous lawsuits alleging that the ADA applies to the Internet, but all have settled without a ruling on the merits: 1999 the National Federation of the Blind sued AOL alleging its service was inaccessible to blind users (AOL agreed to make its sites compatible with screen reader technology); over the past two years, Access Now has sued Barnes & Noble and Claire's Stores for maintaining Web sites that allegedly violated the ADA (both settled)."
Here are some real examples using the "Bobby" tester which checks for compliance:
Run Ray Ozzie's Website through the Bobby ADA Compliance Tester [ GO ] -- Fails on A, AA, AAA tests
Run Scripting.com through the Bobby ADA Compliance Tester [ GO ] -- Fails on A, AA, AAA tests
Run this Blog through the Bobby ADA Compliance Tester [ GO ] -- Fails on A, AA, AAA tests
Having just build and released an ADA compliant site for a client I have mixed feelings about this. With the Internet making everyone in the world a publisher does this mean that everyone in the world has to support ADA compliance? I can understand government websites being required to be compliant but Southwest? Or my blog? Once you go down this road it's a very slippery slope. Here's hoping Southwest wins the lawsuit and doesn't cave. That would be a bad precedent.
[On an aside I hope that they do make their site ADA compliant but of their own volition just because it makes business sense not because of this lawsuit].</p