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Web Accessibility Gets a Boost In California Court

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the as-california-goes dept.

The Courts 283

The Register is reporting on developments in a California court case pitting blind users against the retailer Target over the lack of accessibility of Target.com. (We discussed the matter on two occasions last year.) The case is being brought under a federal statute, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and two California laws that are somewhat broader. Even though Target has made improvements to the site since losing the first phase in court, the judge has just ruled that the case is eligible for class-action status. The end result could be mandated accessibility for for all Web sites reachable by visually impaired users in California.

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283 comments

hmmmm (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971795)

The article specifically mentions that Alt attributes in IMG tags were not present (that I can understand) but what are the "and headings are missing that are needed for navigation"? Dis the designers not use the standard H1 - H6 Tags?

Also, the shortcut keys that didn't work seem to be more of a browser-related config issue than anything, so I don't see how Target could be held responsible.

To me, a greater problem is those websites that still use 2-5 layer nested tables for layout (even after all these years), despite the fact that that manner of design is not kind to screenreader software at all.

Re:hmmmm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972133)

  1. They probably use IMGs instead of H1-H6 tags, either because they are using a non-standard font, or some design in the headings. There are a few workarounds for this. You can use H1-6 in your markup, and replace it with images in the CSS (assigning an ID to each H1-6.)
  2. Shortcut keys are set in the markup, with the accesskey attribute. I didn't RTFA, but they may not be including this, or making it obvious there is such an access key. Again, you can put this in your markup and hide it with CSS if you want, or put it in as a title attribute (e.g. "ALT + S to search").

Also, I just noticed Slashdot now has an "[mp3]" option for the captcha.

IMG tag inside a H1-H6 tag (2, Insightful)

TheReaperD (937405) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972523)

"They probably use IMGs instead of H1-H6 tags, either because they are using a non-standard font, or some design in the headings. There are a few workarounds for this. You can use H1-6 in your markup, and replace it with images in the CSS (assigning an ID to each H1-6.)"

Actually, it is easier then that. Just simply put the IMG tag inside of a H1-H6 tag and make sure the ALT option has text. If the image is not used, the ALT text will show up in the H1-H6 font and style. Also screen readers and site indexers can still identify the H1-H6 without a problem. Coding a decent quality page that is accessible to the blind is not that difficult. You just can't do it with a clueless "web dork" (term coined by a former co-worker) and a WYSIWYG editor. Or a desktop publishing person who fills the page with images or Flash.

Here's one problem (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972643)

<h3 class="offscreen">Featured Items and Promotions</h3><div id="flash78117110_0">


Presumably, people without flash (e.g. visually impaired people using Lynx) will not find the promotions and will end paying more.

acronyms. (3, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971809)

The Register is reporting on developments in a California court case pitting blind users against the retailer Target over the lack of accessibility of Target.com.

That's they get for using a WYSIWYG editor to make their website.

Re:acronyms. (1)

AchiIIe (974900) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971917)

>> That's they get for using a WYSIWYG editor to make their website.

Ooh, wait until the plaintiffs discover this thing called flash.

> We've hit the JACKPOT people, look at this monstrosity, you cant use if you are blind. Let's sue.

Even if you aren't disabled (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971819)

some sites are next to hopeless to use from a usability point of view.

Not only is the layout wildly different from site to site, but also the semantics. And sometimes the access to some services aren't in a menu at all but hidden on a specific page that you don't really think it would be.

Re:Even if you aren't disabled (3, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972071)

some sites are next to hopeless to use from a usability point of view.
There's no way every last budget business website is getting redesigned as the result of a court case in California

My guess is that one of the questions which will start getting asked is "how do I block visually impaired users in California?"

Re:Even if you aren't disabled (5, Interesting)

leenks (906881) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972257)

Or how do I (reliably) block all users from California?

This smacks of bullshit... (5, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972109)

I'm getting more and more tired of both the liberals and the neo/publicans and all their fucking bullshit. What ever happened to that free market shit we were fed along with the 'land of the free' garbage? If you don't like something vote with your wallet. Don't fucking sue everything that makes your life a little more difficult. No-one *has* to use Target. No-one has to use a website they don't like. I think it's fucking lazy and shows this stupid sense of entitlement we seem to feel. Instead of supporting something better we try to coerce it into being the way we'd like. How fucked up is that? That's the kind of shit you do with your government, not your fucking lawn-chair supplier. Meanwhile we stew in a broth of litigious shit as our real freedoms are sold right out from under us.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972393)

Don't be an idiot. Do you think stores would build wheelchair ramps just to make a few extra dollars from the few people with wheelchairs who shop in their stores? Of course not. The inevitable result of the free market would be no stores having wheelchair ramps, because the market is too small to be worth it. And as a result, nobody with a wheelchair would be able to shop. We protect minority disability groups because it's more important that they be able to live life than that stores have complete and unregulated freedom to maximize their profit.

If Target makes 0.1% more profit this year, no one gives a crap. But if one million Americans who can use a wheelchair are suddenly able to live their lives, this makes a significant difference in the world. (And yes, blindness and business websites can be considered the same as wheelchairs and physical buildings, hence the analogy.) Leave your idealistic philosophy at home and consider the real-world impact of your ideas.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (-1, Offtopic)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972433)

sorry, I don't post to cowards

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (4, Insightful)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972489)

sorry, I don't post to cowards
It's your loss. In this case you might as well wave a white flag.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (-1, Redundant)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972537)

Sure.

Fucking troll? (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972421)

You might not like the way I'm expressing my opinion, but it's an opinion. That's something distinctly different then trolling and using the moderation system to quell opinion in contrast to that of your own is, aside from an idiotic form of censorship, anti-dialog. And as such instead of conversation you encourage this mass enfeebling, where dialog is constantly shifted and filtered to reflect your own ideals. The world regurgitated to you. Keep up the good work.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (5, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972431)

I know. Let's open a white people only restaurant, and let people vote with their wallets whether they are willing to eat there.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972509)

Seriously, why not? If people believe that it's wildly inappropriate, people won't go there. Hence, they won't get an income and hence they will fail. Free market.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (2, Insightful)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972519)

And I bet your white, speaking up for the 'little' people eh? I'd say sure. Open a fucking racist restaurant. I won't go there, my friends won't go there, I won't shed a tear if the owners are harassed or otherwise have problems with business. But I don't feel obligated to run around like some moral fucking nanny. Look around you. Your not making the world a better place. Maybe it's time we stop worrying about all these little details that sap so much of our focus and actually, I don't know...do something of value. I think we've lost our social cohesiveness in a reactionary sea of self-righteousness. And *that's* dangerous. The new immorality is indifference. Because we change things not because we care. Not because it impacts us. But simply because we believe that we should. We are good because we have to be, or we feel we should be. But we should want to be and you'll never get that if you allow a society to sleep-walk nearly catatonic and high on their own sense of self-righteousness.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1)

oddfox (685475) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972755)

But I don't feel obligated to run around like some moral fucking nanny.

That's really good to hear, because it sounds like you have a lot of growing up to do before anyone in their right mind would think you had any morals, judging from the ranting and raving you're doing about enforcing laws that are simply there to force companies to not ignore citizens with disabilities. These laws are in the same boat as the ones that force companies to not ignore citizens who happen to be of a certain race or ethnicity.

Because we change things not because we care. Not because it impacts us. But simply because we believe that we should. We are good because we have to be, or we feel we should be. But we should want to be and you'll never get that if you allow a society to sleep-walk nearly catatonic and high on their own sense of self-righteousness.

I really hope you don't end up getting disabled in some manner of accident and being at the mercy of some jerk like you who thinks things like the Americans With Disabilities Act is pointless because they don't directly affect you.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973083)

Nice try. Everything effects me. I'm destined to become old and infirm and there are not guarantees of health in the interim. But keep this in perspective. I won't cry if I found problems with the Target website, I will use and support one which supports me and I'll encourage my friends and family to do so. The state isn't here to dictate my conscience. And that's what I see we are losing when when we confuse rights with right. We end up with words, outrage without action and worse of all, complacence.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972955)

As someone who will eventually go blind (genetic disorder), I disagree with you.
This lawsuit is pretty good. It might actually make the web a better place.

While voting with your wallet works to a certain extent, 99.9% of companies would never willingly cater to disabled people especially blind people.
Is it really that difficult to make a website which works properly?

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (4, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972975)

Goodness. Next thing you know, you'll have us being "separate but equal". When stores or institutions as large as Target violate the ADA or practice racist or sexist policies, it affects the whole neighborhood or the whole industry.

And yes, I wheel crippled people to restaurants and to doctor's appointments, I've taught blind and deaf relatives both practical matters and technical ones. Failure to make reasonable concessions to accessibility cuts them off from social, economic, and political opportunities. It's penny wise and pound foolish: a store as large as Target, which dominates the commerce in entire towns or neighborhoods, bears a legal and social responsibility to serve that entire community.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972745)

I know. Let's open a white people only restaurant, and let people vote with their wallets whether they are willing to eat there.


You're joking, but [wikipedia.org] .

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973041)

What made you think I was kidding?

I've lived in racist enough places, and worked in sexist and racist enough industries, that such comments from the under-skilled, overpaid, privileged punks who benefited from the instituionalized racism. Such comments don't come from the skilled people in their fields: they come from the people who want to skate by on their "people skills".

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972763)

Why not?

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1)

Synonymous Bosch (957964) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972789)

Or, we could sue Microsoft for making Vista awkward to navigate - you don't have to be blind to have trouble with that one.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972621)

Catering to the needs of disabled people isn't only a choice, its usually backed by legislation. There are lots of modifications in place to benefit wheelchair users / mothers with prams and buggys. crossings tend to have a different paving texture making it easier for blind people to locate.

Is this unreasonable to try to ensure disabled people get a similar quality of service to able bodied people?
Isn't it written into the constitution that its illegal to discriminate?

Now don't you think it would be reasonable for Target to make their website accessible to all their customers. You can make websites accessible for disabled users and Target should make modifications to their site. If only to avoid the bad publicity it makes good business sense.

This case is important not because of Target, but to highlight the issue for other sites. Is Slashdots website design accessable for disabled people for example? more importantly is yours?

What elements enable disabled users to make better use of a site and what create barriers to use?
These are important things which we have an opportunity to discuss.

It was a big deal when websites were blocking access to users of browsers other than IE and most sites have changed and there was a choice for most users, disability isn't a choice.

On a positive note microsoft seem to have got something right with Vista, greatly improved accessibility options built in including decent voice control.

Discriminating against part of your society because you ignore their needs is very wrong. Those of us who do get to grow old may well become disabled too. That includes you too maybe ?

Fourteenth Amendment (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973081)

Isn't it written into the constitution that its illegal to discriminate?
Whose Constitution? In the United States, the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from "deny[ing] to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." But what is "protection" and what is a handout? And can states delegate this requirement for "protection" to businesses within their borders? The wording of the Constitution leaves this up to the sociopolitical climate.

What elements enable disabled users to make better use of a site and what create barriers to use?
Here are a few I can think of; see WCAG [w3.org] for details:
  • Use of structural markup (h1, h2, h3, h4, strong, em) instead of presentational markup (font, some uses of table) helps. Structural markup lets you specify different CSS for different kinds of media, such as screen, print, TV, and handheld computers, and if your organization is large enough to have the money to cater specifically to blind people, you can have someone make CSS for speech.
  • Make sure that your site can still be navigated (even if it doesn't look the way the branding people want) if none of the data referenced by img or object elements actually loads. And make sure that the replacement text for an img or object element is kept up to date.
  • Strictly, the preceding point means sites done in SWF need a parallel site done in HTML. (I can't afford retail Adobe Flash software at the moment to verify how well Flash accessibility works.)
  • Make sure that your CSS has enough luma [wikipedia.org] contrast between text and backgrounds and that any background image is paired with a comparable solid background color.
  • Test increasing the font size in Firefox and IE, and make sure that the layout doesn't break and that the font size actually changes. (You should test in Opera too, but I mention Fx and IE because Opera's zoom is an entirely different process.)

Those of us who do get to grow old may well become disabled too. That includes you too maybe ?
Devil's advocate: Do people who grow old enough that the normal aging processes cause disability still have the disposable income to spend on luxury consumer products?

I think you're trolling, but here's your answer. (5, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972665)

And I'm not going to make a single "because it's morally right' argument.

Free enterprise works pretty well - when everyone decides to spend money in whichever way satisfies their greedy nature, resources get allocated fairly efficiently.

But this is not always the case. For example, if you run a manufacturing business that produces toxic chemical waste, depending on how greedy your nature is, you may choose to just dump your waste in the nearest river. While this works well for you in the short run, it works well for no one in the long run if all businesses operate that way because soon everything would be too polluted to use. So we have government regulations that say 'Hey, if you make waste, you have to pay to dispose of it properly', and then the costs of that get passed on to the consumers of the product that caused the generation of the waste in the first place.

Did you see how that worked? In this case, government regulation ENHANCES the proper allocation of resources, by making sure the entire costs of manufacturing a product is borne by those who use the product.

Legally mandated disability access works in a similar manner. For any given business, the direct cost to them of maintaining access for the disabled may not balance out just not accepting that business in the first place. But, if we don't require that all businesses make reasonable efforts to be accessible to the disabled, then very soon no businesses would be accessible to the disabled. And that's a problem for everyone - because now instead of having disabled people, who through reasonable accommodations made to them are independent productive members of society, we now have disabled people who are essentially locked up in their homes, unable to participate and contribute to society, where we then have to either divert our tax dollars to support them, or let them starve to death (or in the very least, let them out on the street to beg).

Secondary to that, disability access is a bit like health insurance. While most of us are not disabled CURRENTLY, it's quite possible something might happen where we become disabled in the future. An accident, a disease, or shit, we could just get old, and not be able to walk or see as well as we used to. So, as a society, by deciding to make reasonable accommodation for the disabled, we also ensure that in the event we ourselves become disabled in the future, access is available to us. We may not ever need it, but if we do, we'll be glad we have it.

Another point to note here is that web accessibility is NOT just about seeing-eye-dog-blind people. Some people can't see very well just because they get old and lose their vision. That's probably not as big a deal now because most older Americans don't use computers anyway, but in 20-30 years, it'll be quite important as the internet generation starts to lose their eyesight.

Re:I think you're trolling, but here's your answer (1)

oddfox (685475) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972769)

What a very well thought-out post, kudos and thanks for the read!

Re:I think you're trolling, but here's your answer (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973005)

Well written, sir or madam.

The standards for "web accessibility" also help stabilize the web. Simple text web pages, or ones with well defined ALT tags, remain legible in newer and older browsers. They also make the content more easily searchable and editable by the authors. It's not as "flashy", a pun I choose deliberately. But it usually saves server resources, client resources, and bandwidth to keep the page content centric rather than focusing on the latest "Web 2.0" exciting graphical cuteness, even if the latter makes for more exciting demos when getting the work approved.

Slashdot itself is a very good example of this. The simple layout and content keeps the site focused on the material. The advertising is unobtrusive, and it's easy to get to the material you want even if you are using a truly antique browser, even a text-only one.

Re:This smacks of bullshit... (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973059)

If you don't like something vote with your wallet.

They are voting with their wallet. They are using it to vote via their lawyer.

But seriously... So you are saying that your worth and rights as a human being are determined by how much money you have?

I mean... I could vote with my wallet but it won't change anything other than I'll be sitting at home a lot without electricity, books, electronics, food, gas in the car, or even clothes that aren't falling apart.

I suppose in the end, if I really wanted to vote with my wallet I could become a Buddhist monk and reject all worldly possessions (hey its not a bad idea) because the majority of economics is slowly becoming monopolistic. I can't choose my electric company, my local phone company, my local ISP, my only 5 cell phone providers who are all priced the same and give the same customer service. Wal Mart and Target are basically the same and they are driving all the mom and pops out of business who even if I voted with my wallet still would go out of bussiness.

Hell... When buying video games and comics, I go to the local stores. I don't know if it really helps, but its more of a "take that corporate America!" rather than doing any real difference. So no... Voting with your wallet doesn't work (unless you have a wallet that has millions in it), but paying lawyers and creating large fuss on the internet does.

I don't like it anymore than you do, but its just the way things are.

You can chastise people for using lawyers to get their way, but thats not going to do any good. You'd have to pay your own lawyer to fight the system in order for them to stop doing such things. Again... That's still technically voting with your wallet.

Re:Even if you aren't disabled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972885)

To summarize the comments so far: 'Why the fuck should I learn how to do my job properly and create accessible web sites that follow standards just to please a few disabled people? They should just use IE6 and learn to see!'

When did Slashdot turn into Digg, FFS?

The main reason Target is being sued is that, after being informed of the problem, they made no attempt to address the relatively simple changes that would have made their site more accessible to more potential customers.

They also tried to kill OpenOffice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973029)

these are the same clowns that went state-to-state trying to stop open source solutions like OpenOffice. Turns out they like the commercial ecosystem with M$ because it gives them a one-stop shop for bullying their assistive technologies.

Since this is California... (4, Informative)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971831)

I can't wait for a lawsuit against sites that require Internet Explorer to work correctly. Web access should be available to all browsers.

Re:Since this is California... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20971841)

Last I checked, using Firefox isn't a disability.

Re:Since this is California... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20971961)

"I can't wait for a lawsuit against sites that require Internet Explorer to work correctly."

No need to sue them. If those sites are going to be holding out until Microsoft fixes all the bugs in Internet Explorer so that it works correctly, they aren't going to be doing any business any time soon.

Re:Since this is California... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972065)

Lynx users unite!

Re:Since this is California... (1)

doktorjayd (469473) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972279)

I can't wait for a lawsuit against sites that require Internet Explorer to work correctly.

yeah, but whats more likely to happen is legal wranglings willl coerce the laws to be tortured into mandating that internet explorer MUST be used for ALL browsing. :(

Re:Since this is California... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972611)

I can't wait for a lawsuit against sites that require Internet Explorer to work correctly. Web access should be available to all browsers.

As a web developer who recently developed a series of XUL (Firefox dependent) apps for the web, I'd like to say f**k you.

Mandating provides stability, but kills innovation in favor of "standard" gray solutions. Pick one, you can't have both.

Re:Since this is California... (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972629)

The end effect is probably the same. The most cost efficient way to make a web site for seeing and blind users is to follow standards. Accessibility is more than that, but it is the first step. The alternative would be to lazily and crappily code the site for seeing users, and then lazily and crappily code an alternate site for blind users.

The problem with not following standards is narrow usability. If you can't use a site in Firefox, you probably can't use it in "Browser for the blind" either. I imagine that shoddy code and ignoring standards is what got Target into this mess in the first place.

Yay lowest common denominator (0, Flamebait)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971847)

This isn't going to be a popular opinion at all.

Why is it my job (metaphorically speaking) to ensure those who are disabled can use my facilities? Why isn't it their job to somehow adapt? Is it my fault someone else can't see, hear, walk, or think clearly? Frankly, too bad on them. You got a shitty roll of the dice. Life sucks.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20971879)

The government wants to make every person can do every thing remotely possible given their abilities. That's why, for instance, as a tall person I can go to any car dealership and sit in any car and have the ability to drive it for long distances as capably and comfortably as people of more average height. It would be unfair for car manufacturers to discriminate against me based on my physical limitations and the government makes sure that doesn't happen.

/sarcasm

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

realitybath1 (837263) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971943)

Short people can't bend up.

Taxpayers shouldn't have to subsidize your tall lifestyle choice.

/cloyingly serious

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972341)

Commenting on this: I can a 2+2 car. Were I short (as well as all my friends) my car could comfortably accomodate 4 people. However, due to my height, as well as the height of my friends (mostly over 5'6" I am incapable of comfortably driving while having passengers in my rear seats (nevermind how uncomfortable THEY'D be if I pushed my seat back to the comfort zone.

This is an example of that exact kind of compromise. It'll fit either a lot of short people, or a pair of tall people. You can't have everything in life, you have to choose what features mean the most for you, and trade something else for it. Be it your life, your time, your morals, or your ability to read a website (see none-IE users for many years!)

Just because you have a choice doesn't mean you won't lose another choice as a result.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971935)

Why was this modded interesting?

To nonchalantly alienate part of your site's user base because you can't be bothered to accommodate for them is bad planning and design. On commercial websites, people that can't use the site will go elsewhere (or in this case, sue) and your company could lose some potential sales. Such a problem could easily have been avoided. It isn't as if making an accessible site is difficult.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972171)

It's called allocating resources efficiently. For instance, even people who spend the extra resources to make their software available for text internationalization do not actually bother to internationalize their software for every language where there are a few (or more) potential customers. Why? It's not worth the effort for them. If someone wants to design a website without spending the time and money researching how text reading software operates or deciding against designing their site to work well with such software (I read in another comment they rely on H1-H6 tags. If so, that's idiotic.), it may well be a smart call - except if they run across asinine laws like this.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (4, Insightful)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971945)

Why is it my job (metaphorically speaking) to ensure those who are disabled can use my facilities?

Because most people believe the disabled have a right to equal access to services as everyone, firstly because those who use assistive technologies have no choice and secondly it's not their fault. Not only that but there's really no excuse for designing an inaccessible site, it's not difficult, in fact in most cases it's easier. Inaccessible usually means Flash/Javascript/IE only sites, which not only stops access for the disabled but for those of us who hate Flash/Javascript/Internet Explorer too, it also implies the Web designer/developer is incompetent.

There are circumstances where it's impossible to cater for people using assistive technologies: like wheelchair access to listed buildings (not uncommon in Europe) or prohibitive cost for small businesses to provide wheelchair access, I don't think Web sites are one of them though.

Think of it this way: do you use Firefox? Do you think all Web sites should work given your chosen technology? Or is it your job to somehow adapt to people who only code for Internet Explorer? Is it their fault that you don't use Internet Explorer? Frankly too bad on you. Life sucks. Now imagine someone's showing you that attitude, yet your body is setup such that you can't use anything but Firefox. If you ever go blind from looking at too much Natalie Portman smothered in hot grits I hope you remember your post.

Back on topic: the biggest problem I see for site owners is CAPTCHA as screen readers can't read the majority of CAPTCHAs out there, everyone had better make sure the system they use allows for a sound file alternative. reCAPTCHA [recaptcha.net] looks like a good service, you get to encode books at the same time as fighting spammers! Personally haven't used it on a project, but did notice the sound file alternative link.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972369)

Well, as the saying goes, some people are more equal than others. I don't know the specifics of the lawsuit, but if this really boils down to "blind person can't use Target's website" I don't think there's really much merit here (not legally speaking, just in principle).

A blind person not being able to access a website is simply unfortunate, just as it is for, say, a retarded child. It's nobody's fault that they can't use the information being presented. I guess that's the point -- it's *nobody's fault*. And nobody should have to answer to a lawsuit over something that isn't really their fault. I mean, this is slippery slope stuff. Today it's a store website, tomorrow you're being sued because your personal blog isn't 100% compliant with W3C standards on accessibility, that sort of thing.

So tell me, what happens if you are a Firefox-only user, and you run across a site that only supports IE? Do you sue? Equality in this country has always meant "equal opportunity", which is not a guarantee of anything, it just says that you can't be denied just because of your status. For example, it would be unethical if Target's website popped up a question "Are you blind?" or "Are you Korean?" and then denied you access merely because you answered "yes". But if their website is available to anyone who can make use of it, then they're not discriminating against anyone. What's next is a guy suing McDonald's for not providing kimchee or something, therefore McDonald's discriminates against people who eat ethnic foods?

Nobody ever said that being blind was easy. Problem in this country is that being handicapped now gives you *entitlement* to special treatment. Thousands if not millions of dollars are spent every year by government and corporations on catering to special needs, which may or may not ever be used. Instead of requiring individual websites to make things readable by the blind, maybe, just maybe, it would be a lot more logical and efficient to ask software providers to write generalized translators that can be used on any website. I can't imagine that such software doesn't already exist. Why don't the blind use that software?

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

penix1 (722987) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972675)

Thousands if not millions of dollars are spent every year by government and corporations on catering to special needs, which may or may not ever be used.


I don't disagree with the base premise you have going here but I do draw the line at government. The handicapped are expected to abide by the rules made by their elected officials and as such deserve a say in what those officials do. They can't make an informed decision if the information is denied them. There is no reason technically that a site can't be ADA complaint either and in fact would do the world a load of good if it was. Besides, they pay taxes too and deserve the same level of service from their government that you get.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (2, Insightful)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972821)

And what's wrong with making sure that blind people aren't begging on the streets for food? Because that's what happens if you deny them access to jobs and stores. Do you really want blind people to have to drive to the store because they can't order what they need via the internet?

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972555)

Inaccessible usually means Flash/Javascript/IE only sites, which not only stops access for the disabled but for those of us who hate Flash/Javascript/Internet Explorer too...

I had to stopp right there, because I had an epiphany. Your irrational hate puts you on equal footing with the disabled.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

mwlewis (794711) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972687)

There's a difference between something that is the right thing to do, and something that should be enforced at the point of a gun. I don't think that anyone's arguing that it's a good idea to exclude blind people. They're arguing that the government shouldn't have anything to say about that, at least when it comes to private enterprise. Will the next step be to require alternative languages? Once they start regulating a thing, it just gets easier to do it again.

We should be very careful before we invite such a thing.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

LordLucless (582312) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972765)

Think of it this way: do you use Firefox? Do you think all Web sites should work given your chosen technology? Or is it your job to somehow adapt to people who only code for Internet Explorer? Is it their fault that you don't use Internet Explorer? Frankly too bad on you

And when I can launch a class-action suit against those websites, your analogy would be accurate.

Target=lowest common denominator (1)

Lord Balto (973273) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973065)

"Because most people believe the disabled have a right to equal access to services as everyone, firstly because those who use assisti[ng] technologies have no choice"

Well, actually they do have a choice. They can get on the bus and go to the Target and handle the actual merchandise, feel it, listen to how it sounds, ask a friend along or a stranger how it looks. Or better yet, patronize a local merchant with the time and inclination to give personal service rather than demanding equal access to mass-produced inferior Chinese-made goods that put American workers out of work and local businesses out of business.

On another note, the web is primarily a visual medium. Like movies. Why don't the blind sue the movie studios for not putting headphones in the theaters? Or the magazine publishers for not sending along a CD of the contents? When did the web become anymore of an essential part of everyday life than going to the movies or reading magazines? What oh what are the poor going to do when they can't get access to the Target website?

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (3, Insightful)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971987)

Why is it my job (metaphorically speaking) to ensure those who are disabled can use my facilities?
Because society says so, many believe a society is as good as how it treats its weakest people. Not saying I agree, but it is the reason why I have to pay for somebody else's retirement, or for somebody else's kids to get educated.

Why isn't it their job to somehow adapt? Is it my fault someone else can't see, hear, walk, or think clearly? Frankly, too bad on them. You got a shitty roll of the dice. Life sucks.
At some point almost everybody suffers a "life sucks" moment, and we create rules to try and fairly take care of people during those instances. If you have a genetic defect, why can't health insurance companies deny you coverage? If somehow you lose your job, why are you allowed to get out of debt by filing bankruptcy?
Sure life sucks, that doesn't mean society can't help with "reasonable accomodation."

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972019)

With regards to the internet I agree with you. There is no denying that the internet is a largely visual system, and to say it's not is delusion. With regards to corps, well they have to make their brick and mortar facilities available to the handicapped and that's right, but how do you really honestly make a website available to someone who is blind? Software that reads to words on the screen would be woefully inaccurate since it doesn't really lend itself to telling you where those words are on the screen when you have to follow links and in the case of most websites there are a lot of words present. Now an interesting solution is actually already in place, the Wii. If there were an interface like say the Wiimote for a computer where the pointer would provide feedback to the user such as the edge of the screen, when you touch a hyperlink it rumbles a little, and can provide auditory cues then I think that's great. The one thing with that though is it would have to be standardized so any device would work with any webpage, for the most part it's safe to say that how things are presented on the web are standardized and the responsibility would fall not on the web designer, but on the person to buy the right equipment for use on the internet. That's how I think the issue with this should play out, not with some corp (ye gods I'm defending them) getting sued because a visual system cannot be used by the blind. Let's use a car analogy (yay!), that's like suing the asphalt company because they didn't put brail in the road so a blind person can drive on it.

Now let's move on to the personal level, where does this stop? Is everyone going to be responsible for making their websites available to the blind? What about all the people out there that make them for their family and friend but if you happen by them you can view them too? Are they accountable for that? For another analogy let's say this would be akin to making sure your house has a ramp so any ramdom stranger that happens to be in a wheel chair can get in.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (4, Insightful)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972177)

but how do you really honestly make a website available to someone who is blind?

Google is blind. Are you aware of how many people tailor Web sites for that thing?

Software that reads to words on the screen would be woefully inaccurate since it doesn't really lend itself to telling you where those words are on the screen when you have to follow links and in the case of most websites there are a lot of words present.

I have a sneaking suspicion you've never used a screen reader, nor are you a proficient Web designer. Where the text is on the page is irrelevant, as long as the page has good structure: headings, lists, blockquotes, em tags, strong tags etc. a screen reader will be able to read it perfectly well. The Web is for communicating information, text is the best way of achieving that in most cases and where images are used all that's needed are the trivial additions of alt tags to provide a quick description of what the image contains.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972477)

Thank you for the info, no I'm not a website designer nor have I ever used a screen reader. I still think that the something similar to the Wiimote has merit though. It would be great if say you defined the boundaries of the screen with a strong rumble, each type of information on the screen be it hyperlink, picture, video stream, audio stream, plain text had a special auditory cue for the remote as well as a lighter rumble that would tell you whether or not you're actually pointing at the link. A person could move the Wiimote over the screen and have an audible tag go off when you hit a hyperlink, one button could tell you what the text of the link was another the page it links to, the same for a block of text, a picture, music, a video stream. Another interesting possiblity is text entry for say shopping, there could be a special cue for when it moves over an entry block and the same use of a button could tell what information is needed in the block. I would love to see something that uses tactile and audio feedback such as the Wiimote on a computer and judging by Nintendo's success with it I even think that it's very possible right now. I'm not saying that it has to be a Wiimote, but the technology behind it is very sound and useful as a haptic system for more than just videogames. There is a whole area that it opens up that hasn't even begun to be explored yet.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972625)

I think this is potentially a really great idea, especially for content that actually has to be presented graphically.

However, to a person who's been blind their whole life, the two-dimensional layout of a webpage is often irrelevant. It doesn't matter to them that one button is to the right of another most of the time. It's far easier to find something by name than it is to find it spatially.

Since you've never seen a screenreader before, check out this video:

    http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=329037&fr= [yahoo.com]

It might totally blow your mind to see a blind person fiddling with a preferences dialog or browsing the web as fast as you do; with many years of practice one can learn to understand computer-synthesized speech at several hundred words per minute - about as fast as the average person reads - and with a lot of hot-keys and shortcuts it's possible to navigate pretty fast, too.

Not trying to knock the Wii idea, it's pretty cool - but definitely understand the current solutions first.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972713)

The human mind never ceases to amaze me, when people punch the monkey I lose a little faith, when people like that man in the video do what they do I gain a lot of it back. The existing tech is very amazing already, maybe the haptics that I was talking about combined with this existing technology would lower the barrier to entry a little bit, especially for someone who was blinded later in life. Another interesting thing about the haptics when combined with this is that I think children would find it much more fun if it was made to be fun for them. I love what that video showed, it really does blow my mind what we as humans can do and I think using a haptic response system similar to the Wiimote could really enhance what's already in place by providing more sensory depth. Really thank you, I need to get in school and start cracking on my idea instead of lazing around at my already awesome job =P

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (3, Insightful)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972025)

"Why is it my job (metaphorically speaking) to ensure those who are disabled can use my facilities?"

I don't really know the answer, but I can offer you some speculation: If you're offering your services to the general public, then you'd be unfairly discriminating against disabled people. (This is assuming, of course, that the changes are reasonable. Ramps leading to the doorway aren't the same as denying wheelchair access to a roller coaster.) Now, that's a little broad/extreme, so I'll water it down a bit. A place like Target sells everyday needs to a broad range of people. If a wheelchair-bound person cannot buy something like toilet paper, they're in trouble. I think the idea is to make the world a little easier on people that have these problems.

"Why isn't it their job to somehow adapt? Is it my fault someone else can't see, hear, walk, or think clearly? Frankly, too bad on them. You got a shitty roll of the dice. Life sucks."

Well, I suppose that's one way to look at it. Unfortunately, that's not something you'd be saying if you were stuck in a wheelchair. Those people with a shitty roll of the dice are doing the best they can with the technology available to them to continue to lead a productive life. If common everyday tasks are difficult because a big company like Target didn't spare a little extra expense to resolve the issue, it becomes offensive. "Why is it so frickin hard to build a ramp?! I just want some f'n toilet paper!"

Okay, that's wheelchair access to a physical property, so that example doesn't work well in this discussion. So what about this particular case? From what I've gathered, they could, without a lot of effort or expense, update their site to work for the blind. They're not doing that. In theory, they could just take their business and move on to Wal-mart or Amazon or something. But the problem is that disabled people have had to fight battles like this for decades. If they don't win something like this, the risk is other companies will ignore them because they're not big enough to be profitable.

Life sucks for these people, but it doesn't have to. That's the point. When a little more thought goes into the design of a building or a webspace, it makes life easier for everybody, but it also makes life livable for those with disabilities. Life can suck. That roll of the dice can happen to you at any time.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

seebs (15766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972039)

It's not a popular opinion because it's evil.

It's also, and this may matter more to you, stupid.

A cooperative society walks all over an uncooperative society. Hint: You will never, not in your whole life, be worth as much to us as Stephen Hawking. We'd rather accommodate him than you.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972419)

Why is it my job (metaphorically speaking) to ensure those who are disabled can use my facilities? Why isn't it their job to somehow adapt?

They are adapting - they use assisstive technologies like screen readers. The law essentially says that you have to meet them halfway, because they can't come all the way to you. Screen readers aren't magic, and they're not string AI, they need pages to be built within certain guidelines or they can't do their job properly.

As for why the law exists, your attitude and that of others like you is why: because there will always be certain people who simply don't care enough about their fellow human beings to do the right thing.

Let me turn the question around, and ask this: why do you not want to take a little more time doing your job to help potentially hundreds of thousands of people world-wide live their lives a little more easily? What does it cost you to do this?

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972637)

Your "do the right thing" argument is bullshit. It is exactly this mentality - that everone deserves a "chance" - that has driven this country into the ground. Someone's blind? Boo hoo for them. Suck it up and get it over it already. Yep, you're at a disadvantage - so fucking what? Life handed you an obstacle and you want to cause problems for everyone else because you expect the goverment to hand you everything on a silver platter? That is the highest form of asshattery And you're part of the problem, because this is exactly what dipshits like you have conditioned them to think. "waaaahhhhh, I can't do something and refuse how to learn how to do it myself, so I want the goverment to make everyone else do it for me...waaaahhhh". Get the fuck over it and move on. The whole Americans w/Disabilities Act is probably the single most offensive piece of legislation after Affirmative Action and Welfare.

Re:Yay lowest common denominator (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973025)

Because actually doing his job interferes with use of work computers to download p0rn?

Why target Target? (1)

Xero_One (803051) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971863)

Is it because they're an easy Target?

In a true Slashdot fashion I didn't RTFA, but I did look at the Target website. To me it does seem like a run-of-the-mill e-commerce type of website. Granted, there's too much flash for my taste, but the question remains; why Target?

Are they that easy for the lawyers to aim at?

Seriously though, as someone that's not physically handicapped in any way, I don't see what's so bad about this site. Is it just to set a precedent for similar sites?

Re:Why target Target? (1)

Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972663)

If you're curious how a blind person "sees" a website, this will give you a pretty good idea in Firefox:

1. Preferences -> Content -> uncheck Load Images Automatically; optionally turn off Flash also.
2. Load the page (target.com)
3. View -> Page Style -> No Style (turns off CSS)

Actually target.com is a little better now than before they filed the lawsuit, but you can still see some really confusing things, like a bunch of images that link to something but without alt tags. And apparently some of the other pages deeper within Target are still inaccessible.

Target might do something surprising (2, Interesting)

rastilin (752802) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971885)

How long until Target figures out that very few people actually use their website compared to the trouble of all these lawsuits. As has been mentioned by other posters, it's quite possibly a browser config and interpretation issue. So, these lawsuits might never stop, so why not just block all access from these IP ranges?

There are incidences of mass lawsuits invoking the disabilities act even against stores which comply with it. It's not something that you can feel happy defending against and odds are that you're missing at least something somewhere, as such, it's not entirely unprofitable for the people doing it. It's not that I'm saying Target should be excluded from following guidelines, their website seems pretty unusable if you're disabled, but I am reminded by a lawsuit I'd heard about previously "hearing impaired sue Quantas for unusable phone booking system". Considering it would be infinitely easier to order from stores which ARE accessible, this screams of a shameless cash grab.

Sh1t (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20971897)

how hard can this be? (4, Interesting)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971925)

I mean, aren't all online retailers doing exactly the same thing? Selling stuff. You have a database of stuff. Different fields, etc... you just plop them in a template. So you have a regular website template and one for disability. Is that so hard? The only problem is, that people don't think about these things upfront and it leads to bad design.

Which makes me think, do they have standards documents for creating a disability accessible website? What all is involved? And what about amazon's "look inside" function? There is no way a text to speech algorithm can read those books because they are images.

Re:how hard can this be? (2, Informative)

seebs (15766) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972051)

Yes, there's standards. They're probably imperfect, but this stuff is not hard; Target's got things like graphical buttons with no alt text, where the graphic is just a picture of some words. VERY easy to fix.

Re:how hard can this be? (5, Informative)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972227)

>So you have a regular website template and one for disability. Is that so hard?

This seems to be a leading theme, presumably by people who do not make sites or make sites that don't work well with disability. The company I work for actually built a site for a foundation for blind people, and they provided a test panel to go through the motions, and a whole set of guidelines to go with it. Let start by saying it isn't just throwing another template at it. If you think you're coding in standards, nice div's and CSS all, and that it just requires throwing a template at it with less bling, think again. Essentially the "problem" is readers, and you'll have to cater for the basic, anal reader html parser. A whole lot of tags you thought were ok, suddenly turn out to be wrong, such as BR. The whole navigation design and design in general will fail, because it's not much fun going into a page for content and being read 50 links first. The whole way of logically setting up text areas and making sure it flows takes a lot of reconsideration. The testing and debugging takes a lot of time, and you -will- bumb into issues you just plainly did not consider because you are simply not blind. Then there's the CMS, and its users should not be able to break any of this. I can go on, but all in all it took about 150% of the time web site builders normally put in a site, complete with "basic" template. That is, if you want to do it 100% right.

Good for F/OSS Browsers? (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971929)

I wonder what this will mean to all those Flash only and ActiveX Heavy sites out there that look like garbage on the screen will be legally mandated to clean the page up?

Conversely, could this be used to push some Ultra-proprietary Screen reader technology only Windows Supports by adding elements that would make FireFox and Konqueror unusable?

What will the outcome be? Is this the sum of all fears?

Normal users too have problems also. (1)

TechwoIf (1004763) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971957)

I have seen many web sites with too small text and have to hit Ctrl-+ to increase the font size. Even if the font size is set large on my end. Too many web site are hard coding the font size and nearly all linux distros follow the DPI that is returned by the plug and play monitor/LCD. So setting the point size to 8 on a 120 DPI monitor will make it unreadable. And for those hard of sight, totally unreadable.

Solution: (1)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 6 years ago | (#20971973)

Blindness is not a disability, it is [wikipedia.org] a [hugereviews.com] superpower [wikipedia.org] !

I should totally be made a (highly-paid) part of their blood-sucking legal team.

just crowdsource it (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20971975)

http://pornfortheblind.org/ [pornfortheblind.org] is doing this with pornography sample clips already, the basic idea should apply to any site.

Federal Government Intrusion (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972117)

I think this is the federal government intruding where they have no right to be. If Target doesn't wish to have blind customers purchase from their site, why is this business decision anybody else's business. I don't recall anywhere in the United States Constitution where it states that all web sites must be accessible by all blind people -- nor that its the government's job to "fix this".

Pile on enough laws and you can destroy the web for everyone. It's not as resilient as you may think.

Re:Federal Government Intrusion (2, Interesting)

Dominic_Mazzoni (125164) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972561)

I know that Libertarians like to pretend it isn't true, but there are some things that are good for society that would almost never happen under the free market. If 0.5% of Target's customers are blind (a decent estimate), it might not be profitable for Target to go to the expense of assisting them. But if all businesses came to the same conclusion, we'd have a completely inaccessible society, and everyone with a disability would be forced to either live on social security or have a generous person assist them with everything in life. It's not only cruel, it's also worse for the overall economy if these people can't live independently.

Requiring businesses to make reasonable accomodations to the disabled is not intruding, it's really reducing the amount of our tax dollars that need to be spent helping those who can't live independently. This is in addition to the fact that in our society we believe that everyone should be treated equally, even when it requires extra effort to do so.

Re:Federal Government Intrusion (1)

GryMor (88799) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972725)

They are being treated equally, they are being provided precisely the same information as the rest of the world. Their isn't some magic code on target.com that checks to see if you are blind, and if you are blind, scrambles everything.

This is not equal treatment, it is special treatment.

Because It's The Law (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972699)

If Target doesn't wish to have blind customers purchase from their site, why is this business decision anybody else's business


If I wish to sell software, music, and films that I copied from the internet, why is this business decision anybody else's business? Answer: Just because the law says I cannot do this.


Regulating commerce is well within the capacity of congress and the states, the constitution says so.


Pile on enough laws and you can destroy the web for everyone.


Actually what's destroying the web are all the sites that demand flash and/or activex.

stupid & frivolious (1, Troll)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972217)

whos next? are they going to sue automobile manufacturers because they dont make automobiles with accessibility for blind drivers?

Re:stupid & frivolious (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972717)

whos next? are they going to sue automobile manufacturers because they dont make automobiles with accessibility for blind drivers?

There is no magic wand to make a blind person capable of safely driving a car. There are a number of fairly resonable guidelines [w3.org] that give disabled persons with assistive technologies a fighting chance of using your website. Better still, many of these guidelines are firmly in the "what's not to like?" category for non-disabled users - e.g. not abusing Flash, allowing end-users to adjust the window and font size, using standards-complient HTML... These have been around for years - any half-competent web designer should be aware of them and (as with any good rules) at least think before breaking them.

Now, whether these should be mandated by government is a bit more tricky - but since some firms seem quite happy to piss off even the able-bodied majority with annoying site designs, expecting them to voluntarily cater for minorities seems a bit optimistic.

The main problem is when technically ignorant bureaucrats (esp. govenment clients) "gold plate" the guidelines and treat them as black & white rules that must all be blindly (er...) obeyed (e.g. no Flash ever even when there is a good case for an inteactive applet or a failure to recognise that CSS is only marginally fit for purpose).

The other problem is that any well intentioned law will be perverted as long as it offers fallible Human Beings and their lawyers the possibility of windfall payouts.

Vision Impaired (2, Informative)

Babel (100429) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972269)

The term you are looking for is "vision impaired", which means: people who have a lack of vision (blind) or have poor vision. The term "visually impaired" means: ugly.

Myspace (0, Offtopic)

Firehed (942385) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972291)

Well, I guess I'll just have to file a class action against MySpace under the Americans With Retinas Act.

Re:Myspace (1)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973105)

I doubt MySpace is accessible either... so you could file for people both with and without retinas. But in that sense, it could be argued that MySpace treat everyone the same!

Next week's story... (1)

untaken_name (660789) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972305)

Armless people are suing casinos because the slot machines aren't 'accessible' to them.

Re:Next week's story... (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972407)

Armless people are suing casinos because the slot machines aren't 'accessible' to them.
Modern slot machines have buttons you can push with your foot or nose... and I'm sure if you ask nicely the casino would be happy to have somebody help you drop quarters into the machine.

Or there is the alternative (2, Interesting)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972397)

The end result could be mandated accessibility for for all Web sites reachable by visually impaired users in California.

Or it could begin a wave of website owners deciding "this shit isn't worth it", and they either turn off their site entirely or at least block known California IP ranges.

Re:Or there is the alternative (1)

TehZorroness (1104427) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972829)

I would be nice to see that happen just to spite lawmakers. Perhaps the site isn't tailored to be accessible, but any site is better then no site.

Re:Or there is the alternative (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973067)

I'd like to see it happen just to tell whiners to shut up. While I will agree that it may be in the store's best interest to be welcoming to possible customers with disabilities, no individual, organization, or governmental unit that does not have a financial risk in the business should be able to order it to do a damned thing. The only people who should have impact on how a business operates is the owners and the employees. Period. No exceptions other than a business that receives direct public funding (and thats not really an exception because then the public does indeed have a financial interest). If a consumer doesn't like how the business operates, they have one solution...vote with their dollars and shop somewhere else. And I feel the same way whether the business in question is internet, brick and mortar, or both.

Your all missing the point (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972463)

This is all about being able to access Targets and any other companies public portal without any discrimination. If Target and many other public websites simple stuck to web standards instead of using broken flashy bouncing beach ball proprietary rubbish this whole issue would not have turned into the mess it is today. Too many idiots are opening graphical web development tools and putting together sites that are based on code that to put is simple is total shite.

If blind people aren't aroused by pr0N website... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972607)

If blind people aren't aroused by a pr0N website because they can't see the pictures but only get a textual description, then can they sue the website because they aren't being equally treated to an arousal that non-blind people enjoy? In other words, "separate and non-equal", in violation of the 14th Amendment to the United States Consitution (i.e. "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States", wherein pr0n is a "privilege"....).

Too many frickin' lawsuits in this country already...

Target.com is run by Amazon.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20972619)

Isn't it? I know I've read and seen that several places over the years.

So did they go after Target.com even though Amazon.com has the same limitations because Target also has brick & mortar stores and is easier to sue (probably deeper pockets too).

So what about the small business owner that only sells a few items online and uses paypal.com to checkout? Do they have to make sure the don't use image maps and such?

Stupidity and Lobby (1, Flamebait)

Tom (822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972801)

Honestly (and I know I'm gonna be modded down for this, but let's face it, half of us think this and don't dare say it) I hate these kinds of laws and court cases.

So you have a disability. Sorry for you. Why, exactly, is this my problem? If I want my shop to be accessible (or, in my case, my online game), then I'll invest whatever amount of time and effort it's worth to me. If I don't, then you can shop somewhere else.

Regulations like these are ok when it comes to essential and public services, such as public transport or administration buildings (where, after all, you have to go personally to collect your new passport, file your papers, or whatever).

Zero support from me for regulations of this kind on private business. Even though the lobby of disabled organisations (most of whom, interestingly, are not disabled themselves, figure that) tries to create the impression, this has nothing whatsoever to do with "erecting barriers". Sorry, those four steps on the entrance of my 14th century building aren't something I put there with the purpose of keeping wheelchair users out, you know? They just happened to be there and have been there since before the wheelchair was invented (17th century, btw).

Same with my website. If your browser can't display my website in a way that makes it easy for you to use it, that isn't my fault. It's not as if I'd be writing it specifically in-accessible for you. If you can't read my page, then again, you are free to go somewhere else, there's a couple billion other pages online. And again, if you have a specific problem, you can mail me and maybe I care and change (note: "change", not "fix", it wasn't broken!) the site for you. Actually, I do care and I probably will, if you can tell me or I can find out easily what exactly needs changed. But I very much dislike being told that I have to do it.

Ooops, sorry if that turned into a rant.

Someone else's problem (1)

deniable (76198) | more than 6 years ago | (#20972947)

For all of you saying that businesses shouldn't be required to provide service to the vision impaired, I have one thing to say:

Pray that you never lose your sight.

What really burns me is that it actually takes effort to make a site inaccessible. The rules of good style (and taste) are often the same rules to make the site accessible. There have even been validation tools for this for a very long time. I actually pointed our marketing guy at one of these to stop him committing crimes against style on the company website.

WTF? (1)

jflo (1151079) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973053)

Ok, so the first line is 'The Register is reporting on developments in a California court case pitting blind users against the retailer Target over the lack of accessibility of Target.com' ... my obvious response is, why the hell are blind people concerned about there online shopping experience? Is there leader dog holding the mouse and clicking on the clothing items of color preference? That is just rediculous and if anyone needs a dumb a$$ lawsuit brought against them, its the Storm Troopers running Walmart.

could this hinder the use of adobe flash (nt) ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20973097)

Cat got your tongue? (something important seems to be missing from your comment ... like the body or the subject!)

Americans With DIsabilities Act (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973103)

The ADA is a huge cash cow for litigators. They can file "drive-by lawsuits", for any technical violation and pretty much win automatically. Worst of all is that they don't even need to complain and give the business owner a chance to remedy the situation, just file the suit and take home a check. Has nothing to do with giving people access.

Another thought,,,, (1)

jflo (1151079) | more than 6 years ago | (#20973113)

What ever happened to the days where it wasn't important how a web site was designed??? As if there aren't thousands of choices for almost anything a person could want to buy. Underneath my tinfoil cap, my brain is really starting to believe that the Klingon Warlords over at Wally World are behind this hot mess. However, have you seen their website, its not all that nice either. Long story short, Target and other businesses should be left alone to make their own online choices. Morally, they should only need to update their site if business revenue is affected by it.
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