Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Target Settles Suit With Blind Over Web Site

Just a reminder, especially as we practice what we preach, to consider those with various disabilities and their ability to access information, particularly on a brand.com site.

Target has agreed to pay $6 million and revamp its Web site to settle a lawsuit brought by the National Federation of the Blind.

The retail company has promised it will make its site friendlier to vision impaired people who access the Web via screenreaders. Among other changes, the site will include more alt text tags along with images. These tags are invisible to users, but screenreaders rely on them to convert the contents of a page into speech. Target also will make it easier to navigate its site using just a keyboard, rather than a mouse. The company will implement the changes by next February.

Additionally, California residents who unsuccessfully attempted to use Target's site can claim $3,500 in damages or, if there was more than one incident, $7,000 total. California has an estimated 10,000 blind people, while the country overall has around 1.3 million, according to a spokesperson for the National Federation for the Blind.

"There are well-established guidelines for making Web sites accessible to blind people," the National Federation for the Blind alleged in its complaint. "These guidelines have been in place for at least several years and have been followed successfully by other large business entities in making their Web sites available."

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