On Tuesday, the National Federation of the Blind filed suit against Target, claiming that its site is not accessible to blind users.  This certainly would be a case to watch since, to date, we’ve thought accessibility requirements as having legal weight only with government sites.  Whether or not the NFB wins the suit, it will likely bring increased focus to the subject.  And the fact that they also mention that the Target site is "powered by Amazon.com" would seem to suggest that this isn’t the last we’ll hear about this.

"Target?s website ? which according to its home page is ‘powered by Amazon.com’ ? contains significant access barriers that prevent blind customers from browsing and purchasing products online, as well as from finding important corporate information such as employment opportunities, investor news, and company policies.

The plaintiffs charge that Target.com fails to meet the minimum standard of web accessibility. It lacks compliant alt-text, an invisible code embedded beneath graphic images that allows screen readers to detect and vocalize a description of the image to a blind
computer user. It also contains inaccessible image maps, preventing blind users from jumping to different destinations within the website. And because the website requires the use of a mouse to complete a transaction, blind Target customers are unable to make purchases on Target.com independently.

‘We tried to convince Target that it should make its website accessible through negotiations,’ says Dr. Maurer [NFB Pres.]. ‘It?s unfortunate that Target was unwilling to commit to equal access for all its online customers. That gave us no choice but to seek the protection of the court. The website is no more accessible today than it was in May of last year,
when we first complained to Target."

More information available from the Disability Rights Advocates Web site including a Fact Sheet and the complete complaint.

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