Target Sued Over Accessibility

By Deane Barker on October 26, 2006

National Federation of the Blind files Target lawsuit: This is going to be an interesting one to watch. This could have huge implications for Web development.

Sexton, 24, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., and the National Federation of the Blind are suing Target on behalf of the 1.3 million blind people in the USA. The suit alleges that the giant retailer discriminates against the visually impaired by violating state and federal laws that protect the disabled.

The case draws national attention because it could have implications for virtually every retailer and business in the USA that operates a website. The case also fuels a wider debate starting to play out in courtrooms: whether anti-discrimination laws apply to the Internet.

For a lot of developers, accessibility is an “if you have time” kind of thing — something to do on a site if everything else is done. This could be a real shake-up to that idea.

If you want to get a head start on any kind of ruling in this case, Mark Pilgrim’s “Dive Into Accessibility” is an insanely good overview of this topic. I read it years ago, and here’s the thing: it will teach how to build better Web sites, on top of them being more accessible. It’s just full of fantastic, back-to-basics Web development advice. It fundamentally changed how I code HTML.

Thanks Rick.