Accessibility and inclusion have become important considerations for home goods manufacturers and retailers in recent years. Companies like Ikea, and most recently Pottery Barn, have rolled out accessible furnishings and decor lines designed to cater to the needs of differently abled persons.
But mattress maker Avocado recently received criticism via a class action lawsuit regarding the accessibility of its website. The suit, which was filed in May in United States District Court in the Southern District of New York on behalf of Sylinia Jackson.
Jackson, who is visually impaired and legally blind, requires screen-reading software to read website content. According to the lawsuit, Jackson said Avocado failed to design, construct, maintain, and operate its website to be fully accessible to and independently usable by blind or visually-impaired people, making it in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“Inaccessible web content means that people with disabilities are denied equal access to information,” the lawsuit stated. “An inaccessible website can exclude people just as much as steps at an entrance to a physical location.”
Jackson said she experienced several roadblocks such as a lack of alt text, empty links that snagged the screen reader and numerous pages with the same title element, which made it difficult or impossible for her screen reader to accurately translate content on those pages.
In filing the lawsuit, Jackson seeks an injunction requiring the company make its website accessible, certification of the class action, damages, fees, costs and a jury trial.
Avocado did not respond to requests for comment.