eCommerce Gets a Wake Up Call

    September 2, 2008
    Chris Crum

All the way back in 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Target could be sued over their site not being accessible to the blind. Now over half way through 2008, Target has reached a settlement with regards to the class action lawsuit that ensued.

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) sued Target, and they settled for $6 million in damages. That’s a lot of money for not including some "alt" tags, which was the  biggest problem with Target’s site. Dave Chartier at Ars Technica explains, "Specifically at issue in Target’s case is a lack of ‘alt’ tags throughout its site, tags which are used by screen reading technology to help disabled users navigate web sites."

As part of the settlement, Target will have to make employees responsible for coding its site attend periodic accessibility training sessions conducted by the NFB. Target has to pay them for this as well.

This case will likely have a large impact on eCommerce as a whole. More lawsuits will probably start coming out of the woodwork. Online retailers will scramble to get their sites within compliance. Accessibility experts will start getting exponentially increased business for their consulting services. The blind will no longer be ignored on the web.