About IceGiant   |  Search IceGiant

Accessible Web Design - The Shape of Things to Come?

IceGiant Web Design Articles  

Some time ago, IceGiant released an article for syndication entitled “The Need for Accessible Web Design”, highlighting the many excellent reasons to make provisions for the requirements of handicapped Internet users, particularly the blind or partially sighted.

Today, in light of the past week’s developments, we are revisiting this topic which could soon become a major issue for many webmasters and web designers.

The simple fact is that firm accessibility legislation is not only on the horizon, but seemingly on the commercial Internet's doorstep.

See Examples Get a Quote Why IceGiant?

Accessible Web Design should be a Standard, not an Optional Extra

Whilst many designers and online business owners have at best displayed an apathetic attitude towards the requirements of disabled surfers, this week’s court ruling in a class-action lawsuit by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) against U.S. online retail giant Target.com has highlighted the fact that the current situation of indifference towards this small but important facet of internet users cannot continue indefinitely.

Originally filed on the 7th of February 2006 and charging that the Target.com web site was falling far short of even the most basic of accessible web design standards (image alt-tags and accessible image-maps), the NFB suit contended that this amounted to discrimination, since blind or partially sighted internet users were unable to make purchases or even navigate the site without the aid of a third party.

Accordingly, the site was in direct disobedience of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the California Disabled Persons Act and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Target, filing for the dismissal of all charges, argued that the above listed acts only applied to real world shop-fronts and had no pertinence to the virtual world of the internet, in effect stating that civil liberties cannot be extended to the World Wide Web.

After due consideration of the facts, Judge Marilyn Hall Patel held that:
“The ‘ordinary meaning’ of the ADA’s prohibition against  discrimination in the enjoyment of goods, services, facilities or privileges, is that whatever goods or services the place provides, it cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in providing enjoyment of those goods and services.”

Called a “resounding victory” for blind internet users throughout the United States, this judgment enforces the widely held view that disability discrimination should no more be tolerated on the internet than it is in the real world.

So, in spite of the fact that laws forcing commercial internet establishments to adhere to accessible web design standards are still not an immediate threat to webmasters, the doors have nevertheless been opened for civil suits against companies by disabled rights organisations.

Long-Term Impact on Web Design

Furthermore, we at IceGiant shall be following the future ramifications of this ruling with great interest to ascertain not only the number of new suits filed during coming months but also its impact (if any) on the development and implementation of future legislation in the United states and the E.E.C.

Accessible Web Design is no longer a fringe discussion about the internet’s future, it is becoming a matter for immediate debate.

Webmasters, take note of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Accessibility Initiative, otherwise your company may be the next Target.

  IceGiant's Web Promotion Services
Find out more

Back to Web Design Articles
Back to Main Articles Category

Back to Top of Page


IceGiant Web Design

Main Web Design Page
Web Design Packages
Get a Quote
Our Approach
Effective Web Design
Web Design Examples
Web Design Articles






Contact us by Phone:

United Kingdom   0208 1234 709
8AM - 4PM
United States of America   713 893 3449
8AM - 3PM (Central)
Republic of Cyprus   99 12 88 56
9AM - 5PM

Top of Page

© 1999 - 2012 IceGiant Web Services
Sitemap   |   Your Privacy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   XHTML 1.0