Domino’s Pizza and the right to discriminate against disabled users

Domino’s Pizza is fighting a judgement that they must make their website and apps accessible to abide by ADA law.

Domino’s claims it would face high costs to develop a website and app experience that’s accessible. They also claim the rules around digital accessibility are unclear.

Let’s look at the argument that accessibility is cost-prohibitive:

That can be a legitimate problem for businesses making software with a long history. For example, say a software company has made a desktop web app for nearly 20 years with a narrow focus of supporting Internet Explorer since the early 2000s. They rely on Microsoft to enable features to support legacy web apps to ensure they don’t break when new versions of the browser release. However, that reason won’t be justifiable for long, Microsoft’s replacement for IE, the Edge browser, is the default for Windows and is going to have the same rendering engine as Google Chrome.

That’s not what Domino’s is faced with, though. Domino’s spent a large amount of money updating their site and apps fairly recently. When that project was scoped by the UX and development team, why didn’t they account for creating it using known Web standards that every good design/development team should know and support accessibility at that time? This was a recent development, not a project weighed down by a decade of understandably challenging technical debt to overcome. Domino’s is going to face input from UX professionals and Web developers who will say ignorance of the user requirement of Web accessibility in a modern digital product would not qualify as an acceptable excuse.

Who made the decision to ignore designing and developing with Web standards and accessibility features? They were either grossly incompetent or intentionally negligent.

As for the cost, Domino’s doesn’t seem to mind spending money on supporting new initiatives, like the “Ultimate Pizza Delivery Vehicle” experiment.

As for the unclear rules argument, that’s a flimsy excuse. Web designers and developers are aware of the WCAG. It’s the design and development team’s responsibility to inform their client or employer that building with established and creating a flexible framework to account for evolving Web standards and accessibility features is an absolute necessity for delivering a usable product for years and a framework for future growth. Using semantic HTML/CSS isn’t a “nice to have” for any company doing business online.

My hope is the Supreme Court, assuming they take the case, looks at the wider scope of a decision on digital accessibility and recognizes there are important repercussions of this decision. While the Department of Justice in the Trump administration has decided not to pursue the standardization of the rules for digital accessibility, there were known standards that lower courts have decided serve as the standards for digital accessibility. They are industry-wide knowledge and openly shared and updated.

Other companies performing services that are less trivial than pizza orders conducting an even greater percentage of their business online, like job recruitment and posting sites, company websites with sections to apply for employment, and the financial services sector, could be incompetent or lazy with accessibility user needs and disenfranchise the ability to submit for employment or manage financial accounts.

Those with disabilities like visual impairments, muscular issues or dexterity challenges could be closed out of opportunities to develop their career, improve their income, and grow their wealth. What about sites and apps from private healthcare companies?

I would be surprised to see a judgement from the court that does not consider the impact of ignoring users with disabilities, especially when looking at other contexts where this could be detrimental to the financial wellness and personal health of users with accessibility challenges.

Trigger Warning

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R) has found a clear cause for the gun violence plaguing the United States. According to him, the radicalization of these white males with bullet-spraying guns is coming from video games.

“I’ve always felt that it’s a problem for future generations and others,” McCarthy said on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures.” “We’ve watched from studies, shown before, what it does to individuals, and you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others.”

However, there is no social science research that has attributed gun violence rates in the U.S. to our video game consumption, so he’s lying about that.

I’m confused, because McCarthy is convinced he has the cause of gun violence clearly in his sights.

I took a look at controllers for each video game system searching for the violent extremist features that enable white supremacists to cause mass casualties.

Does the user experience of the controls of current game systems empower the user to fully emulate the experience of using a real weapon and violently act out their white nationalist rage?

Let’s start with the PS4:

The DualShock 4 is a very ergonomic design that has a bunch of creative features to allow users to express themselves in different ways.

However, this design doesn’t seem to come anywhere close to resembling holding and operating an AR-15. There’s nothing on this controller to tell you what clips you need, where it goes, how to reload or how to operate such a weapon effectively. And of course, there is nowhere for bullets to come out of this.

Maybe these designs offer more instruction to operate a rifle designed with the sole purpose of killing real people?

They are camouflage styled, so maybe?

Nope, nothing to indicate how to use a real weapon here either. Of course, real members of the armed forces are a well-trained and heavily regulated group of volunteers who want to defend their country from real threats and not looking to express white nationalism. It seems silly to even make the leap that a video game with military re-enactments would turn you evil anyway. In many games I played, I was “shooting” virtual Nazis from the 1940s and no one person in particular.

PlayStation 4 also has VR, which is even more immersive. Maybe that user experience trains you to become a killer who hates brown people?

Here’s one controller:

This seems to be a special forces military style game, but it’s doubtful it teaches someone to hate others at a level that compels them to buy a legal assault rifle and hurt real people. The characters are holding illustrations of weapons, but again, the controller is a significantly different thing than what the characters are portrayed as using. It in no way is teaching you how to use a real weapon, because I don’t see a clip or any indication how to operate one. I doubt bullets shoot out of the pink glowing ball on the end of this contraption.

Maybe the PlayStation Move is a better…

No. No, that’s nothing like an AR-15.

Let’s move on to the current XBox:

I was able to find camo style controllers here too, but again, that doesn’t imply anything other than a stylistic choice of controller and probably a preference for military content games.

Some very interesting designs here, but no clip or instructions on real weapon usage. No bullet spraying mechanism in the front of this and the recoil of a real weapon doesn’t match the vibrations of a game controller.

My last option was the Nintendo Switch. Sure it’s doubtful the House of Mario and Zelda encourages kids to radicalize beliefs that the country is under a threat of invasion, but let’s just check.

You can see the Joy-Cons in 3D and from every angle, there’s nothing here that’s even close to an AR-15 or AK-47 rifle that can kill dozens of people in a synagogue, school, Walmart or town square in just a few minutes.

There isn’t a single White Nationalist game I could find in the Nintendo e-Shop, physical copy game card or disc that would misinform someone about a supposed caravan of “invaders” being funded by George Soros that is coming and it’s a threat to our country.

I also didn’t find a game that suggests a Congress with a majority of Democratic Party members who want to pass gun control legislation, which most Americans want, is a violation of 2nd Amendment freedoms.

Maybe Kevin McCarthy could take his head out of his ass and look elsewhere for the cause of violent white nationalist extremism. The causes for this violence are varied, but allowing it to continue since Sandy Hook?

McCarthy can find the reason for that in the mirror.

EDIT: Some follow-up –

Study Finds Zero Evidence Violent Video Games Cause Violence

The APA’s Technical Report on the Review of the Violent Video Game Literature

Batman: The Complete Animated Series is 50% off

The greatest comics animated series is on sale at Amazon. This remastering is outstanding and brings the “dark deco” series to a visual presentation quality worthy of the creative team’s design direction.

This series taught me how influential creative direction can be to define a product. The designers created a world that was timeless with Art Deco design with concept art drawn on black paper to give Gotham City the appropriate look and atmosphere. While it was created for children, Batman: The Animated Series is a triumph in storytelling that respected the source material and improved upon it.