A visually-impaired man is suing The Pokémon Company because he says one of its websites is not equally accessible to blind consumers and violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to court documents filed on Monday.
Derrick Dennis of Queens, New York is legally blind and needs screen reading software to view a website’s content on his computer. He says the Pokémon Center website — which sells a variety of branded merchandise, including t-shirts, mugs, figures, and trading cards — contains numerous barriers that prevent him and other visually-impaired people from fully accessing its services and goods. It’s lacking alternative text (a.k.a. “alt-text”), which is typically embedded beneath images on a site and vocalized by screen readers. Without it, blind people can’t browse for products, find promotions and coupons, or receive captcha prompts. The site also allegedly contains empty or redundant hyperlinks that can confuse a screen reader.
Dennis is seeking a permanent injunction so that The Pokémon Company will change its corporate policies, practices, and procedures and make the website ADA-compliant. He’s also trying to turn the case into a class action lawsuit on behalf of all legally blind U.S. citizens who’ve attempted to use the Pokémon Center website. Approximately 8.1 million people in the U.S. are visually impaired, according to a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report.
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Variety contacted The Pokémon Company for comment, but it did not immediately respond.