Roger Johansson is one of the leading experts on accessibility in website design. “Accessibility” means making sure that website will be usable by visitors with different abilities, experience, software and hardware. Just like it’s the law that you should not hinder disabled people accessing a shop, it’s a law in some places at least that websites should be accessible. Read here for more about website accessibility.
The big news for some time in accessibility circles has been the court case against Target which is now a class action, meaning any visually-impaired people who have had trouble using Target’s website can add their name to the growing list of disgruntled shoppers. Target tried to get out of the court case, and one of their arguments was that people having trouble using their site might not have bought anything anyway. They judge said:
“Target’s argument based on the speculative purchases would defeat most ADA claims. There is no requirement that a plaintiff who encounters physical accessibility barriersâ€”such as a wheelchair user who confronts a store without ramps at its entranceâ€”must provide a shopping list of products available at the store in order to proceed with an ADA claim,” the judge ruled. “Rather, it is sufficient that the (consumers who are suing Target) have alleged that they were denied access, by being diverted to another store, in order to meet the class definition.”
Which I think sums up the situation very nicely. Let’s get one thing clear: if you discriminate against people your business will suffer. By reducing the number of potential happy customers you have, or – as Target are finding out – by legal action.