Thursday 9 February 2006

Targeting Target

READY AIM FIRE! Target – an enormous chain store found throughout the United States and with a significant online presence has been targeted with a law suit from the U.S. National Federation of the Blind (NFB). With enough buzz this could be a turning point in the history of accessibility issues in the U.S. public sector, with repercussions worldwide.

Target’s own diversity statement states:

“At Target, what makes us unique is the diverse individuality of our team members—and the equally diverse characteristics of our guests.”

Oh really?

Fellow WaSP Derek Featherstone writes a very strong overview article on the Wasp site about the issue, and brings up a few good questions, such as my favorite: Who is responsible?

Derek’s taking your comments and I encourage you to make some buzz, folks!

Blog about it, comment away, get those links and trackbacks going. This could be a monumental historical case. And you can help.

Point and shoot.

Filed under:   general
Posted by:   Molly | 10:10 | Comments (65)

Comments (65)

  1. Quote: “What does the blind really lose by not being able to access a certain site?”

    I think it’s quite clear this is NOT about online shopping. It’s about access to the increasingly important and useful resource which is the World Wide Web. It’s essentially about equality of opportunity and it’s also part of a wider issue about what people will and will no longer pput up with in the name of capitalism.

    Of course profit is essential in a capitalist system, but
    corporations do not have the “moral right” (whatever that means) to do as they wish in pursuit of profit. They do have a moral duty however (and a legal one) to ensure that their policies don’t infringe upon the rights or unfairly discriminate against a particular person or group of people.

    Yes, we live within a capitalist system. No, that’s not a bad thing. But I think it’s time, we as consumers and yes governments also, instilled a sense of corporate responsibility into the business leaders, not only on the issue of access to the web, but also environmental issues and such like. Pursuit of profit and corporate responsibility are not mutually exclusive. And it is up to us to try to persuade big business of that fact, either with a carrot or, as in the case of the NFB and target, with a stick.

  2. Target deserves to be sued. I have a son who is autistic. Shopping with him can be hard at times. I can tell when a store is not very accommodating. The web site was impossible to use. I very rarely shop there any more because they are overpriced. I can buy the same things at other stores for less. It’s really a shame that these stores are so discriminating towards people in general.

  3. Target has been sued for discriminating against the blind, disabled, minorities, and women. I have a friend who currently has a discrmination lawsuit filed against them and know several former and current employees who have been discriminated against by Target.

  4. What (self-righteous) hypocrites. You would help 10000 times more people if you forced companies to translate their websites into Spanish. Why don’t you demand that?

  5. I couldn’t agree more to this comment by Alex

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  11. Note that I wasn’t making an assumption as to how people spend their time, but rather a reminder to remember what is more important. A website that is not fully accessible is trivial compared to many other things in life.

  12. Wow. I’m not entirely sure how my comments about the prudence of filing a lawsuit versus enacting genuine efforts towards re-educating a wayward business about web accesibility shows that I have a lack of empathy towards other people, but whatever.

    My point was that big business *does* care about profits, and if someone put as much time into writing the business case explaining why their site should be accessible to all as they did in getting a lawyer and suing, maybe Target would have already begun to change their ways.

    Like I said before, I don’t know enough about the case and the efforts taken leading up to the suit. But it seems to me that this is a case where using honey may have been a better intial option than going straight for the vinegar.

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