What You Should Know About the Beyoncé Website Accessibility Lawsuit

Here’s what you need to know about the Beyoncé website accessibility lawsuit: it can happen to your business, too. In January of 2019, pop star Beyoncé’s company Parkwood Entertainment was sued because her website (beyonce.com) failed to meet basic standards of website accessibility. In this post, we’ll breakdown the complaint filed against Beyoncé and what you need to know to protect your own business—and better serve your customers.

The Complaint Against Beyoncé

The complaint filed against Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment cites the following barriers that prevent “free and full use” by blind persons using screen-reading software:

  • Lack of alt text for graphics
  • Inaccessible drop-down menus
  • Lack of navigation links
  • Lack of adequate prompting and labeling
  • Denial of keyboard access
  • Empty links
  • Redundant links
  • Mouse requirement for transactions

These barriers are commonly found on most websites, especially those run by small businesses. They prevent individuals who use assistive technology from actually using your website. If you’re unfamiliar with the standards above, then be sure to read through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Accessibility Standards to ensure your website is in compliance.

The Number of Website Accessibility Lawsuits Is Trending Up

The Beyoncé website accessibility lawsuit isn’t the first of its kind. In fact, it’s one of a slew of website accessibility lawsuits that have been filed in the past few years. Target, Apple, and Five Guys are just a few of the large corporations that have been slapped with website accessibility lawsuits in the past. Most suits have been filed in California (22%), New York (21%), and Florida (12%), with lawsuits this year being filed at a rate of one-an-hour.

How Website Accessibility Can Help Your Business

In the complaint filed against Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment, the plaintiff’s attorney stated that “Parkwood denies the blind access to goods, services and information […] by preventing them from freely navigating Beyonce.com.” Beyoncé’s website was effectively preventing a segment of her fans from being able to interact with and support her business. There are more than seven million people in the US with a visual disability. Not providing these individuals with proper public accommodations online isn’t just a civil rights issue, it’s also a bad business practice. By bringing your website up to snuff, you’ll be opening up your business to a lot more potential customers.

Is Your Website Accessible?

If Beyoncé’s website accessibility lawsuit taught us anything, it’s that all business owners need to prioritize the accessibility of their websites. If you’re not sure whether your website meets accessibility standards, you can use WAVE, a website accessibility evaluation tool, to detect potential issues. Need help keeping your website up-to-date with the ever-changing technology standards? Contact us. We’re always up for the challenge!

About Kara Franco
Kara writes copy that speaks. She has a knack for creating clear, compelling messages without wasting words. She is passionate about digital marketing and believes that copy is the cornerstone of user experience.

Copywriter + Content Strategist