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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 January 2019

Beyoncé’s website the subject of lawsuit

The pop-star website has been described as discriminatory to those visually impaired

Beyonce's website is not accessible to those visually impaired, according to a lawsuit (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Beyonce's website is not accessible to those visually impaired, according to a lawsuit (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Beyoncé’s website is the subject of a legal challenge by a visually impaired fan.

The pop-star’s company, Parkwood Entertainment, has been named in a class action lawsuit claiming her website, Beyonce.com, is not accessible to those visually impaired and, thus, being in contravention of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Initiating the legal action on January 3 is legally blind New York resident Mary Conner who, in her court documents, listed the various ways in which the website doesn’t take in to account those with visual disabilities.

“Beyonce.com provides to the public a wide array of the goods, services, price specials, and other programs offered by Parkwood. Yet, Beyonce.com contains thousands of access barriers that make it difficult if not impossible for blind and visually-impaired customers to use the website,” read the lawsuit.

“In fact, the access barriers make it impossible for blind and visually-impaired users to even complete a transaction on the website. Thus, Parkwood excludes the blind and visually-impaired from the full and equal participation in the growing Internet economy that is increasingly a fundamental part of the common marketplace and daily living.”

Through her legal team, Conner said some of the various ways in which the website - which is described as “an exclusively visual interface” – hasn’t failed to provide for the visually impaired.

These barriers include: inaccessible drop down menus, the lack of navigation links, unclear labelling and lack of keyboard-friendly access.

The suit also claimed the website lacks Alternative Text (Alt-text), an invisible code embedded beneath a computer image which holds its description, thus allowing a computer's screen-reader feature (used by the visually impaired) to vocalise the description of the image.

“There are many important pictures on Beyonce.com that lack a text equivalent. The lack of alt-text on these graphics prevents screen readers from accurately vocalising a description of the graphics,” the suit reads.

“As a result, Plaintiff and blind Beyonce.com customers are unable to determine what is on the website, browse the website or investigate and/or make purchases.”

Beyoncé and representatives from Parkwood Entertainment have yet to make a comment.

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Updated: January 4, 2019 05:54 PM

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