Legal Precedent For Web Accessibility
Ian Lurie Sep 8 2006
Is your site accessible? Better check.
According to PRNewswire, Target stores lost a lawsuit in which the plaintiffs charged that the site was inaccessible to the blind.
The suit alleged that the site violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the California Disabled Persons Act.
Why? Because the site lacks ALT text (the ALT attribute is used for images, so that if the image doesn’t appear, the text does) and has other stuff, like image maps, that render the site useless for those using assistive devices.
The implications are wide-ranging. The judge in the case said that the ADA applies wherever goods and services are applied. In theory, this could mean any web site, at any size and budget.
Making a web site ADA-compliant, though, is a pretty minimal task.
So I’ll ask again: Is your site accessible? I’ll publish a short checklist later…
PS: I wrote a bit more analysis, and a checklist for ADA compliance, here.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More