Oct 6, 2006

Accessibility is a serious issue

I was just going through RNIB's Blog. I just got the shock of my life. The reason for my shock was the following news. "Website successfully sued in the States".

Here are the details of the case and its proceedings so far.

Target lawsuit tests limits of US web accessibility law
A claim by disabled internet users that Target's website discriminates can proceed, a judge ruled last week. But she stopped short of suggesting that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) puts duties on all websites.

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), a non-profit group based in Baltimore, and one of its members, Bruce 'BJ' Sexton, a student in California, are suing the retail giant. The action was filed on behalf of all blind people in California who are denied access to Target.com.

The complaint cites various problems with Target.com: alt-text is missing from images, preventing screen readers from describing them to blind users; purchases cannot be completed without a mouse because keyboard controls do not work; image maps are inaccessible; and headings are missing that are needed to navigate. In short, the site is badly designed, says the NFB.

The lawsuit was brought in February, alleging breaches of the federal ADA and two state statutes, the Unruh Civil Rights Act and the Californian Disabled Persons Act.

Target filed a motion to have the case dismissed. On Wednesday, in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel dismissed that motion. But her ruling is not a hands-down victory for web accessibility: Patel did not rule that Target.com or any other website is required to be accessible; and she threw out part of the NFB lawsuit.

Click here to read more about the case.


I guess it's time web designers started looking at accessibility seriously.

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