Website Accessibility - Once a Technical Advantage, Now a Point of Vulnerability for Retailers


If your company has a website, you may receive a letter claiming that your site is not accessible to users who are visually impaired. Several advocacy groups are now actively searching for ?noncompliant? websites, hoping to persuade companies to modify their sites so that they are easier for the blind to navigate. The advocacy groups may point to the recent settlement in the National Federation of the Blind v. Target case No. C 06-01802 MHP (N.D. Cal.), and ask your company to change the coding and structure of your website to improve its accessibility to users who are visually impaired. Here are answers to some questions about website accessibility and how your company can be affected.

What Is the Website Accessibility Issue? Many computer users who are visually impaired rely on a ?screen reader? program that reads aloud the information displayed on the screen. For web pages, the screen reader analyzes the HTML source code to determine what is being displayed. Depending on how your website is coded, the screen reader may have trouble deciphering what is being displayed.

Potential legal claims are based on the Americans with Disabilities Act and similar state law statutes such as the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Disabled Persons Act.

Please see full legal update for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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