Legal Precedent For Web Accessibility

Ian Lurie

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…

Legal Precedent Set for Web Accessibility

PS: I wrote a bit more analysis, and a checklist for ADA compliance, here.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He'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. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

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