Target.com Accessibility

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.

Comments

  1. randomlife

    You mentioned that there are some people that disagree with the lawsuit. I hadn’t heard that before. What is the nature of their disagreement?

  2. Jared Smith

    There are several different types of arguments that I’ve heard against the lawsuit and settlement. Some viewed it simply as corporate lawyers trying to make a buck with little regard for actual accessibility. Others saw it as being in conflict to capitalism – that it’s Target’s right to offer it’s services and products how and to whom they wish. From a disability perspective, some say the lawsuit led to increased resentment from the corporate world toward “those people with disabilities”. Yet others think that the NFB “sold out” by settling and not pushing for established case law.

    Regardless, it’s apparent to me that the Target web site and the web sites of countless other businesses that took notice are more accessible now than they would have been without the lawsuit.

  3. B. Cavalier

    20 years after the Americans With Disabilities Act came into law this is still an issue. What a shame.

  4. DevDesign

    This podcast really reduced the amount of great work that Target.com did to make their site more accessible in the amount of time since the settlement was agreed to. The site is HUGE in nature and not as simple as some would think it is. Many of the “uber accessible” sites that exist are not nearly as dynamic in content, or creatively as rich. Lastly, the amount of content that exists in retail sites, like with Target, is far more difficult to achieve while still maintaining their business.

    I agree, on some points made, that Target maybe shouldn’t have fought so hard in the first place, and they have a lot of work to do beyond visual disabilities, (i.e. The deaf with captions) but what Target has done is substantial. Just my two cents on the podcast.

    I don’t believe any company designs their site to be inaccessible, intentionally or with malice. Until stronger laws are put into place for commercial websites (non-governmental and education)then this will continue to be a problem…and it shouldn’t because it CAN BE DONE.

    As quickly as a business puts up a building today which meets ADA law, the same should be true for websites — it is an extension of your ‘building’ but a ’24 hour access building’. Buildings once were never ‘accessible’ either…and we have come quite a long way since laws were enacted. The same could and SHOULD be true for web space.

  5. Dallas

    Thanks for your analysis on this Jared. I agree with you, it seems like accessibility really came out on top which is the most important thing.

  6. Jared Smith

    Here’s a nice review of the site’s accessibility – http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/1717-Accessibility-Review-Target-com

  7. Nurul Alim

    Hi Jared. Thanks for sharing this nice information. Of course…, accessibility is needed.

  8. Shiatsu

    Hi Jared,

    Thanks for the review of the site. I went to target.com now and it really seems to be easy to navigate.