Federal Judge Says Online Stores Must Change

Inc. has an interesting look at website usability/access issues.

Some online retailers are rethinking their websites in light of a recent federal court ruling that says they must by more accessible to the blind.
In a class-action lawsuit filed in Berkeley, Calif., by the National Federation of the Blind, a federal district court judge ruled that the Target online shopping site, which has no audio component, violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and could be sued.
The retail giant had sought to have the case thrown out on the grounds that its site didn’t constitute a “place” and, as such, was not covered by disability-access laws.
The group claims Target.com contains “thousands of access barriers,” including a lack of alt-tags embedded beneath its images that would allow screen-reading software to give blind users a vocal description of the contents, according to papers filed in court.
Judy Colbert, a Web usability consultant, said online retailers should welcome any chance to make their site as accessible as possible to everyone.

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