Target Still Being Sued For Having Website Blind Can’t See

Target’s motion for dismiss was dismissed by Judge Marilyn Hall Patel and we’re taking a peek at the complaint and rubbing our eyes.

The class action brought by the ADA on behalf of Bruce ‘BJ’ Sexton, a student in California, contends that is problematic for blind people because, “alt-text is missing from images, preventing screen readers from describing them to blind users; purchases cannot be completed without a mouse because keyboard controls do not work; image maps are inaccessible; and headings are missing that are needed to navigate.”

For a blind person, Brian can sure see bad web design darn good.

Previously: Blind Sue Target, Claim Web Site Unfairly Needs To Be Seen


Edit Your Comment

  1. Kangarara says:

    When did access to a non-governmental website become something that everyone has as a fundamental right?

    Hell, why aren’t the morbidly obese suing Target for not carrying XXXXXXXXXXXXL clothing?

    Or poor people suing them for requiring the use of a computer to access the website?

  2. closeupman says:

    How are target stores easy to use for blind people? Why aren’t they suing them for that?

    Or why don’t blind people sue all retailers..e.g. Costco…I know if I was blind I wouldn’t be able to maneuver through the store!

  3. blueberryln says:

    Kangara, if everytime you went to your local target they locked the doors so you couldn’t come in, wouldn’t you demand access? People with disabilities face the same situation online, it’s no different.

    For any retailer to deny access to someone on account of a disability isn’t just shameful, it’s really, really stupid. Well over 10% of Americans have what can be termed a disability, and that number continues to increase each year as people live longer, etc. So as far as business practice (not to mention any kind of moral/ethical reason), it’s bottom of the barrel.

    Not including these features on a website is incredibly 1997. These aren’t difficult changes, they’re actually incredibly simple to make, and are part of standards that have been around for 7 years, which makes Target an even bigger chump for ignoring it for so long.

  4. Jupiter Jones says:

    Yeah, screw those goddamned complaining blind people. Go back to fumbling around in the dark, jerks! Just because we can see doesn’t mean we have to listen to you complain about not being able to buy toothpaste and underoos because some company can’t be bothered to perform basic open web design!

  5. B Borrman says:

    There is a law that gives companies guidelines on what their websites must provide for the blind. If Target isn’t following the rules then that is what the courts are for.

    Assuming every lawsuit is unjust is the new knee-jerk reaction. Replacing…well…suing.

    And the ADA is essentially the result of people suing all the large retailors (and others). Note how stores with stairs also have ramps to provide wheelchair access?

  6. McAli says:

    “When did access to a non-governmental website become something that everyone has as a fundamental right?”

    Umm, when it became part of the LAW: specifically The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Section 255)

    “…Section 255 of the Act requires telecommunications products and services to be accessible to people with disabilities. This is required to the extent access is “readily achievable,” meaning easily accomplishable, without much difficulty or expense. If manufacturers cannot make their products accessible then they must design products to be compatible with adaptive equipment used by people with disabilities, where readily achievable…”

    Given how Target markets themselves as ‘hip’ and ‘connected’ to everyone and everything, you’d think their web designers would have converted to Web Standards by now.

  7. BruinEric says:

    What, no “I don’t know what you want me to do, I can’t shop for you.” reference yet? C’mon people!

    I generally am skeptical of this type of suit against a company, although I have a disabled family member and am sensitive to these issues.
    The reason this seems silly is that the cost of making the web design accessible is miniscule and that any company that could easily clean things up would WANT to — for PR reasons and for the — duh — revenue it might generate.

    But from the SF Chronicle article, Target doesn’t WANT TO. Disclaimer: The source for that is ONLY the plaintiff – target was given less than a day to respond to the Chronicle reporter – so this may be a total misrepresentation by a lawyer.

    But of course, this can go too far, no? Will every little guy out there running a cheesy web store be subject to this? Or “just” every brick & mortar retailer with a web business? So every auto parts supplier, plumbing pipe guy, black market tobacco guy, and heck — contact lens supplier — is headed for trouble?

    Here in CA we once had lawyer-vultures extorting various small business for not having a warning sign posted in their business if they sell anything with certain materials in it (turns out it’s just about everything.). Those types of situations always crush otherwise well-meaning small business people.

  8. thwarted says:

    Good God. One, there are different levels of visual impairment–a lot of people who are legally blind aren’t completely “in the dark” and can see at least a little bit. Two, being visually impaired is NOT the same as being morbidly obese or poor, mmmkay?

    Three, wtf is the problem with asking Target to fix up their site a little so disabled people can use it too?

    (full disclosure: I’m visually impaired, on the way to becoming legally blind, and let me tell ya, I’m sure not looking forward to shopping when the lights go out. Not to mention not being able to work and being completely dependent on other people until I figure out how to get around. Have a little compassion, huh?)

  9. Jupiter Jones says:

    Hey thwarted… if the “in the dark” bit was a reference to me, I’m sorry. I was being sarcastic about the tone of the post and the first two comments, but maybe that wasn’t clear. I totally support companies making their websites accessible to the blind. I just don’t understand how it’s even an issue here. It’s not hard to do with a little planning and knowledge before you design the website. I don’t know why the Consumerist keeps bringing this up as if having major retailers being handi-accessible is a bad thing.

  10. thwarted says:

    Jupiter–not at all, sorry, just realized you used the same phrase. Just a reaction to the first poster. Sorry about the misunderstanding!

  11. RustyBret says:

    Well, when I read “lawsuit” what I actually think is “Some jerk is exploiting an oversight for a fat payoff.” This is NOT likely to be the case(no pun intended) in this example. The plaintiff probably just wants them to make the simple and easy effort to help out those who already have so much stacked against them.

    What I really want to know is, what backwoods webdesign company made such a bogus oversight?