Website Accessibility Soon to be a Requirement?

In the last week, a National Federation for the Blind (NFB) lawsuit against the the Target Corporation has been given permission to proceed, with potentially huge consequences for all businesses with an online presence if Target loses.

Last Thursday, a federal district court judge ruled that the inaccessible Target.com website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and Target could therefore be sued by the NFB. While this isn’t the same thing as a win by the NFB, they’re one step closer to a courtroom victory over Target. Legal experts expect this case to head to the Supreme Court unless Congress intervenes and ammends the 16 year old ADA. This article has a lot of good background an analysis if you’d like to learn more.

My personal opinion is that website accessibility is good for business, so websites should voluntarily attempt to meet the existing standards and guidelines, including the Web Accessibility Initiative and Section 508. Not only will organizations like the NFB applaud you, you’ll have opened your website to a group of people who would otherwise be shut out.

Then there are the side benefits. If you make real attempts to have a more usable and accessible website, there’s a very good chance that Google and the other search engines will reward you for it. Why? Because Google is blind. Everything you do to make your site readable by people with disabilities will also result in search engines indexing your pages better, which just might drive your website higher up in search result pages.

Wouldn’t that be good for business?

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