Analysis, and an ADA Checklist

Ian Lurie

Given the hubbub about NFB v. Target I though it’d be a good idea to provide a basic checklist.

In the case, the judge found Target liable for a site that didn’t comply with ADA accessibility guidelines. I read the ruling, and the case turns, in part, on the judge’s ruling that the ADA applies not only to brick-and-mortar stores, but online sites that provide goods and services, too. But note that the judge’s ruling is not the final one. This ruling simply denied Target’s request to throw the entire case out. Now the case will proceed, and we’ll find out whether NFB can force Target to fix their site.


That being said, it’s pretty easy to comply with the ADA. So here’s a basic checklist:

1. Use ALT tags for images that are used for navigation or other content. Don’t worry about spacers and such.

2. Make sure that you use descriptions for any image map links.

3. Don’t use color as the only means for conveying information.

4. Put data into tables.

5. Don’t force reliance on Flash or other plugins. Make sure your site is usable for folks who have these features disabled.

The guiding principle: Always provide alternatives. If you use images, use ALT text. If you use multimedia, include a text description. you get the idea.

By the way, by doing this you also make your site more search engine friendly. So you can be ADA compliant and potentially rank better in the search engines, at the same time.

In the mean time, we’ll wait to see what happens with NFB v. Target.

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Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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