[thelist] US Judge rules that ADA applies to websites

Pringle, Ron RPringle at aurora-il.org
Mon Sep 11 14:57:20 CDT 2006

Matt wrote:

> Subject: Re: [thelist] US Judge rules that ADA applies to websites


> I have been following this, but I somehow suspect that this is being
> interpreted too broadly. I am waiting for a legal analysis of this,
> because I really can't see this single decision forcing companies to
> spend what would end up being a HUGE amount of money to make their
> sites ADA compliant.
> Specifically, the ruling is currently only applicable to sites which
> enhance the physical side of the business.
> See also: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/09/09/224204
> Interesting notes in Slashdot's comments:
> This may not establish a precedent:
> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=196171&cid=16073367
> This is not a decision but a refusal to dismiss the case:
> http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=196171&cid=16073518

Correct, this is a refusal to dismiss the case on the grounds that the
ADA did not apply to websites. The federal judge ruled that it does.

I don't see why most companies would have to spend a lot of money for
the sort of basic accessibility that is driving this lawsuit. If I
recall correctly, the main issues were lack of alt tags on images, and
the ability to navigate and submit order forms using the keyboard
instead of a mouse only.

What I'm interested in is how exactly they will define accessibility and
for whom. There are a great many people out there with various
disabilities that don't fall into the blind/mobility impaired category,
I'm sure. 

If this ends up being found in favor of the plaintiff, as with most
legal precedents, I have a feeling this will start out broad and get
whittled down/added to over the ensuing years via other lawsuits, etc.

Personally, I think this lawsuit is a step in the right direction. The
web has so much enabling potential for disabled people that is being
unused and/or ignored.

Being a perfectly abled person, I can only imagine what it must be like
for a blind person to actually physically shop at a Target store. How
are they able to read the tags on items? How do they know the color of a
shirt, or what size it is? How do they know what section of the store
anything is located in?

To a person faced with that sort of physical experience, a properly
coded and accessible website must be a godsend. If you could access
Target.com and have your screenreader read out the sections to you; the
descriptions of each product via alt tags; the price and size
selections; the color selection; and be able to make the purchase and
have it shipped to your house; that, to me, is the potential the web has
for people with disabilities. And in this particular case, it doesn't
seem too difficult to come by either.


More information about the thelist mailing list