Coles web accessibility case settled

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Tuesday, 17 February 2015 17:52pm

The case against grocery retailer Coles, for the alleged inaccessibility of its online shopping service, has been settled.

Miniature shopping cart resting on a laptop keyboard. Image credit:  Tim Reckmann, Flickr

The news of the settlement comes in the form of a joint statement from Coles and Gisele Mesnage, who brought the case and is represented by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre.

“The settlement follows the mutual agreement of the parties to make further improvements to the Coles website in respect of accessibility enhancements suggested by Ms Mesnage,” the joint statement reads.

“Coles recognises the importance of accessibility and is committed to continuing to improve the online shopping experience for everyone.

“Coles would like to thank and acknowledge Ms Mesnage for the work she has done to improve accessibility for Australians.”

The case originated in early November 2014 when Ms Mesnage, who has a vision impairment, began legal action following an unresolved discrimination complaint made to the Australian Human Rights Commission.

At the time of the case’s announcement, Ms Mesnage told the ABC that she was being discriminated against because of problems with the Coles website.

"Since 2008 I have been trying to use the Coles online website and there were quite a lot of issues, including one where I couldn't select the delivery time, which was fixed in 2010," she told the ABC.

"For about three-and-a-half years I managed to use the website, select the delivery time, do my orders unassisted.

"But then in September 2013, Coles launched a new upgrade of the website and since then it's been extremely difficult for me to create an order and lodge the order independently."

The case was widely publicised and was described by Fairfax Media as a “landmark claim”.

Learn more

Guidance on web accessibility is available through Media Access Australia’s complete guides to web accessibility for content authorsweb developers and web designers. Professional development in web accessibility can also be obtained through the Professional Certificate in Web Accessibility, a university-accredited online qualification jointly conducted by W3C member Media Access Australia and the University of South Australia.

Media Access Australia also offers a Digital Accessibility Maturity Assessment (DAMA) to gauge how far advanced an organisation is in addressing the legal and policy requirements to make digital media—websites, documents, applications, video and other content accessible to the broadest possible audience, including people with disabilities, ageing members of the community, those from non-English-speaking backgrounds and those with varying levels of education. The report aids organisations in their efforts to embed accessibility principles into daily work practices to maximise consumer engagement and satisfaction, cost savings and efficiency gains.

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