Deaf, Blind Sue to Make Online Shopping Accessible

Advocates for the deaf, blind have won several recent victories

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 22, 2013 10:32 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Target store needs to be accessible by people with disabilities, so why not the Target website? That's the aim of advocates who are increasingly arguing in lawsuits that websites must also comply with the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act. That theory has been dismissed by a few courts in the past, but the National Federation of the Blind and the National Association of the Deaf have seen several recent legal victories, including settlements with both Target and Netflix, the Wall Street Journal reports. There have also been many victories achieved without litigation, lawyers say.

The aim of the lawsuits is to get things like spoken descriptions of photos and text boxes (for customers who are blind), captions or transcriptions of multimedia (for customers who are deaf), and websites that are navigable without a mouse (for customers with motor disabilities). A lawyer for the NFB points out that there's more market share in it for companies who modify their websites, but opponents of the idea fear frivolous lawsuits—and point out that it is quite costly to retrofit a website to be accessible.

  (Shutterstock)
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