We’ve reported over the last several years about the target.com lawsuit and eventual settlement. The $6,000,000 settlement required that Target would implement accessibility for users with visual disabilities, among other things. We’re happy to report that the target.com web site is now quite accessible. Sporting a new design and accessibility features, the site can be considered a wonderful model of an accessible corporate e-commerce site. The National Federation of the Blind considers the site equally accessible to blind and sighted users. While you may not agree with the lawsuit or may have concerns about the impact it has ultimately had on people with disabilities, it’s clear that this site is more accessible now than it likely would have been otherwise.
While we will likely never know the cost of implementing accessibility on this site (and indeed we shouldn’t treat the price of accessibility as something separate from site design and development anyway), I suspect it cost them much less to implement the current levels of accessibility than it did for them to fight and settle the original lawsuit. The new site maintains a clean and stylistic design with nearly all accessibility happening naturally through the structure and presentation of the site pages. Their implementation of “skip” links is fantastic – try tabbing through the page. There is certainly room for some improvement, particularly in other areas of accessibility not addressed by the NFB settlement, but the point is that the site is functional, looks good, and is quite accessible.
Target, along with Amazon.com and a few other innovators in the e-commerce arena, is showing that accessibility of large, complex sites is not only possible, but beneficial to all potential customers and to the corporations themselves.