Interesting Details From Winn-Dixie Legal Ruling

As I’m sure most in the web accessibility arena have heard by now, a Florida judge ruled that the regional grocer Winn-Dixie must make the company’s web site accessible. As usual Lainey Feingold has an excellent summary of the details. The full legal ruling is also available.

Reading through the full document, a few interesting tidbits of information jumped out at me. I’m always interested in the dollars and cents of accessibility costs.

Prior to this ruling, Winn-Dixie indicates it had set aside $250,000 to make the web site accessible.

Since launching the web site, Winn-Dixie has spent at least $7million for updates, without addressing accessibility.

The accessibility expert in the case estimates all accessibility issues could be fixed for around $37,000 and certainly not the $250,000 given by Winn-Dixie.

Interestingly, the plaintiff in the case testified that he expected to be able to use ctrl+s to jump to search fields on web sites. This one is particularly interesting to me because this is rarely the case and in fact it is generally on Windows alt+s that would be used, if such a shortcut were provided in my experience. Further, the Winn-Dixie web site does use alt+s as of now to jump to the search box. This may not have been the case earlier.

While I haven’t done a full review of the web site since reading this legal settlement, I will say it is still baffling to me at one level how many basic accessibility issues that are easily corrected get shipped. In less than five minutes I can quickly identify multiple issues that the most basic accessibility review would find.

Last, the full list of requirements placed on Winn-Dixie are an interesting read. Here they are as taken from the legal ruling. All seem reasonable to me but I’m particularly pleased to see the call to include vendors on the web site, the call for training and the repeated auditing to ensure continued compliance.

  1. Shall not, no later than __(date)__________, deny individuals with disabilities, including the Plaintiff, the opportunity to participate and benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations provided through its website www.winndixie.com. The website must be accessible by individuals with disabilities who use computers, laptops, tablets, and smart phones.
  2. Shall not, no later than __(date)__________, provide individuals with disabilities, including the Plaintiff, an unequal opportunity to participate and benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations provided through its website www.winndixie.com. The website must be accessible by individuals with disabilities who use computers, laptops, tablets and smart phones.
  3. No later than ________(date)_______, shall adopt and implement a Web Accessibility Policy which ensures that its website conforms with the WCAG 2.0 criteria.
  4. No later than __(date)__________, shall require any third party vendors who participate on its website to be fully accessible to the disabled by conforming with WCAG 2.0 criteria
  5. No later than __(date)__________, shall make publicly available and directly link from the www.winndixie.com homepage, a statement of WinnDixie’s Accessibility Policy to ensure the persons with disabilities have full and equal enjoyment of its website and shall accompany the public policy statement with an accessible means of submitting accessibility questions and problems.
  6. No later than __(date)__________, and at least once yearly thereafter, shall provide mandatory web accessibility training to all employees who write or develop programs or code for, or who publish final content to, www.winndixie.com on how to conform all web content and services with WCAG 2.0 criteria.
  7. No later than __(date)__________, and at least once every three months thereafter, shall conduct automated accessibility tests of its website to identify any instances where the website is no longer in conformance with WCAG 2.0.
  8. If the Plaintiff believes the Injunction has been violated, he shall give notice (including reasonable particulars) to the Defendant of such violation. The Defendant shall have 30 days from the notice to investigate and correct any alleged violations. If the Defendant fails to correct the violation, the Plaintiff may then seek relief from the Court.
  9. In light of what the Court has already found to be the Defendant’s sincere and serious intent to make its website accessible to all, this Injunction will expire in three years.