NFB Sues Target: Hint... Web Standards

Discussion in 'Web Design and Development' started by ThunderLounge, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. ThunderLounge macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    #1
    In case someone is interested, the National Federation of the Blind is suing Target for not having an accessible site. Target tried to have it thrown out by claiming that the 1990 Disabilities Act only applies to a physical location, but their cries fell on deaf ears.


    Here's a link to the entire AP story, if you'd like to read it.

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20061024/D8KV52R00.html
     
  2. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

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    #2
    Eh... why? If they don't support the technology, shop somewhere else. They're not infringing on your rights by not providing for you if you're blind, they're simply losing potential business. It would make sense for Target to include the technology, but it shouldn't be a legal matter.

    jW
     
  3. ThunderLounge thread starter macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    #3
    You and I might think that, but what about from their point of view?

    What if for whatever reason they want to shop at "Business X" but can't because the site isn't accessible? Sure they could go somewhere else, but what if they don't want to? Maybe they have stock in that business, or maybe they're buying a gift for a friends wedding and they're registered there, etc.

    It's always been somewhat of a gray area in terms of online compliance and the 1990 ACT, but the decision by the judge is what gets me. This has the potential to shake up a lot of folks.
     
  4. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

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    #4
    Again, the company loses business, but the person does have a choice to go elsewhere. It's not like a government site (which are all accessible, sometimes to the detriment of the overall experience) where they need to be able to access it. Like I said, it's in Target's best interest to make it accessible, but it shouldn't be a legal matter in any way, shape, or form.

    jW
     
  5. ThunderLounge thread starter macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    #5
    Not saying I disagree completely, especially over a legal battle. However, it could also be said the same for physical business locations using that logic.

    What is seems the NFB is saying, is that they are one in the same. A brick and mortar shop, and a web shop. Then again, could someone who's deaf sue iTunes? OK, that's absurd. So there is a line somewhere.

    The question is, who's going to write it? The People, or the Government? If it's the latter, it won't be a pretty outcome. That's why it's not only smart to make a business site accessible, it's important as well.
     
  6. faustfire macrumors 6502a

    faustfire

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    #6
    I think this is bulls**t. Maybe people who cannot get a drivers license for some reason or other should sue target because they don't have a store close enough for them to walk to. :rolleyes: (I know, bad analogy) I'm all for making life easier for people with disabilities, but please, the world does not revolve around anyone, so people should stop acting like it. Life is tough, people need to learn to deal with it.
     
  7. Mal macrumors 603

    Mal

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    #7
    The thing is, I don't agree with the regulations for physical locations either. Same argument.

    Basically it comes down to this: You don't have the Constitutional right to shop at a store. If everyone remembered that, there'd be a lot fewer lawsuit, and if the judges remembered that, there's be fewer of those that were won by stupid consumers.

    jW
     
  8. pinto32 macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Ok, suppose a Target put up a twelve inch barrier in front of thier doors. It would be no problem for 90% of the shoppers to simply walk over it. But anyone in a wheelchair or osteoperosis is SOL.

    Obviously, no store would be dumb enough to build a wall around thier store, as not only would it look atrocious, but they would be sued under the ADA. Same thing...a barrier is a barrier. If you still have your doubts, then why do most governments and businesses have TTY lines?
     
  9. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #9
    Last time I checked, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was held to be constitutional. That means, in fact, that you do have a right, guaranteed by law, to be able to shop at a store (or any other public accommodation) without regard to status in several protected classes. One of those protected classes is disability.
     
  10. mac 2005 macrumors 6502a

    mac 2005

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    #10
    Actually, real estate agents have been sued for describing a property as having a pond nearby. "Enjoy soothing water sounds..." A deaf person took exception and found an attorney to take the case. Next thing you know... Cha-ching.

    What I don't understand is how you design a Web site for a blind person or a Web site for a deaf person. If a blind person can sue Target because of its Web site, can't the same person sue ABC TV for similar reasons? Could a deaf person sue NPR News because he or she can't hear the radio?
     
  11. mac 2005 macrumors 6502a

    mac 2005

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    #11
    Agreed. People confuse Constitutional rights -- the things the government can't do to us or must do for us -- as obligations they can impose, usually as it suits them, on private enterprises.
     
  12. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #12
    Which is sad because that limits mom and pop shops that don't necessarily have the funds to go handicap accessible. I'm all for helping the handicap out as well but this is what really burns me up about the government. They step over others' constitutional rights by allowing this to be made into law. The government is supposed to be a small entity to uphold our rights. Part of the problem is that its very overgrown.
     
  13. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #13
    You make sure that a text to speech engine will be able to read all the text correctly. You make sure you have alt tags on all the graphic buttons with descriptive text so that the text-to-speech engine will be able to identify all the buttons on the page, and so on.

    I have a good friend that married a girl with a degenerative eye condition. She is legally blind, although she can read text when it is blown up to 72pt and held about 6 inches from her face. She manages to do very well with email and the web through a combination of zooming in on the page and having parts read to her by the computer.

    There's loads of resources available on how to design for the visually-impaired. A quick google search will reveal all kinds of neat tricks.
     
  14. weldon macrumors 6502a

    weldon

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    #14
    I understand your point, but why pick the Civil Rights Act to make a stand on against big government? This has to be one of the most important pieces of legislation passed in the last century and overall has had a positive effect on American society, even if it did cause a fair amount of pain and grief for everyone trying to comply with it. The price paid for the Civil Rights Act was well worth it in my opinion.
     
  15. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #15
    I'm not singling out the Civil Rights Act. It just happens to be the topic of discussion. I'm just providing a little light on the other side of things. I agree, Civil Rights is very important. Unfortunately, the Act isn't at all fair which is what it is suppose to be.
     
  16. ThunderLounge thread starter macrumors 6502

    ThunderLounge

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    #16
    Also, we're well over 40 years past its enactment. We're dealing with things now that weren't even a twinkle in someones eye at that time. Not to mention todays society is a much different one than it was then as well. Not that is isn't, or wasn't a good idea, but it should be updated to reflect current times so that someone doing a little gold digging can't use it as a crutch. For example the Realtor being sued because of the property description. That's absolutely freaking ridiculous. It's another McDonald's coffee example, and a mockery of the legal system.

    As it relates to this particular case, there is a way to make a visual presentation accessible to a blind person. In my earlier illustration of suing iTunes, there isn't a way to make a presentation to a deaf person other than handing them the lyrics to read. In turn that doesn't do much good, which is probably why you don't see radio stations being sued. Talk radio is another deal, as I suppose it technically could be closed captioned, but it's another case on its own.

    What about home offices? Technically they have a business address, right? If their office isn't accessible, should they be sued too? Regardless of any reform people say is being enacted, the legal nightmares are just getting worse.

    In this example the end user has a choice to go elsewhere, as Mal pointed out originally. So the question is, was the end user caused any harm due to negligence by the company? No, they were not. If it was the only available option for shopping, then that would be different. I still think web standards are the right thing to do, going in hand with accessibility, but it's the legal issue I have the problem with.
     
  17. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #17
    That is exactly the view I have. Well put.

    Also, FYI, the MacDonalds coffee suit is grossly misunderstood. The woman happened to be the ump-tenth person that had been burned by their coffee. The real issue wasn't the coffee burning her lap. What was at the heart of the case was the fact that MacDonalds deliberately heated up their coffee just hot enough to burn a drinkers tongue to mask any bad flavor. The poor woman just happened to be the one that they decided to make a case to stop MacDonalds from that practice.
     
  18. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #18
    No, you have a federal legal right to reasonable accomodation, per the ADA:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Americans_with_Disabilities_Act_of_1990

    If you dislike the Act, petition your Congressperson and tell her you wish to rebuild the "shameful wall".
     
  19. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #19
    I'd be interested in knowing where you heard this. Was it by chance in a forwarded e-mail or did your cousin's wife's sister work for a guy whose nephew had this happen to him?
     
  20. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #20
    If they were to sue every website that was inaccessable, there wouldn't be enough judges in the world to preside over each case and enough lawyers in the world to handle each case. As a company, I despise Target. I worked there for nearly 4 years and it was hell, and typically, any publicity that makes them look bad puts a smile on my face. But this is just a dumb lawsuit. Not doing anything and letting Target lose business is going to hurt the company more in the long run than suing them to get them to change.
     
  21. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #21
    That's what they said about wheelchair ramps.
     
  22. portent macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    It's called the Interstate Commerce Clause. Basically, it says that Congress can do whatever it wants to companies (say, Target Corp.) that do business across state lines. This includes Joe's General Store, too, if it serves customers that come across state lines (which is inevitable) or buys from suppliers in other states or countries (which is also inevitable.)

    Thanks to this clause, businesses are required to serve, say, black people. Or people with disabilities, even though they have to do expensive things like installing wheelchair ramps and grab bars in the restrooms to accommodate them.
     
  23. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #23
    You must've worked for a bad store. I've worked there for 7 years and for the most part like my job and sometimes love it. Of course I'm in management and have one of the fastest moving jobs in retail (logistics), everyday is like a sports game. I also work with a great team who are generally a lot of fun to work with.

    Now I see the ICC as reasonable because if you have enough money to branch out of the state your doing business in then you should accommodate others. The issue of being forced to is a problem but no goverment or "bill of rights"/law is perfect.
     
  24. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #24

    If I was in management, I would've never quit. Management at the store I worked at was sit on your ass all day and order everyone else around, and the only time a finger was lifted by them was to push the button on the walkie talkie to bitch to us about how theres a ton of reshop, backup cashiers are needed and the backroom is filled from end to end with pulls. In my 4 years there, we had maybe only a couple team leads who actually did anything. The higher ups would only come out onto the floor to inspect our zones and bitch when everything's perfect except one box is slightly crooked. Then combine that with the manager who got pissed off at me for calling in on a day that I NEEDED off but they didn't give it to me off (my only time calling in) when later that month, she happened to be sick on the day she was supposed to be back from vacation.

    So yes, I guess you can say I worked for a bad store, although the word "bad" might be a bit of an understatement
     
  25. QuarterSwede macrumors G3

    QuarterSwede

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    #25
    Wow, that sounds horrid. I'd transfer for sure if I was in that situation. Almost all of our managers work harder than the rest of the store and everyone knows it. I'm not an exec yet (I have a BS degree you'd think they'd move me up ... my only beef).

    Right now I am the Flow Team Key Carrier (the highest hourly position in my particular store) and manage ~20 people daily. What I hate is baby sitting the team to get them to actually go at a good rate and not sit there and chat (Why am I sweating when no one under me is?).

    Although, it really does help to have a great store manager and other execs that will back you up. I've had my share of crap managers but the management team we have now is pretty well groomed and have been 100% successful at getting the riffraff managers out the door (surprised and impressed me that they were able to pull it off within less than a year). My STL works his tail off with the best of us but that's because the only thing keeping him from going up for DTL is the salesfloor not being green (every other area is).

    Its funny, we went from a store with major problems (the ETL-LOG quit without warning during 4th quarter last year) to one that runs quite well. We still have some things to fix but the majority of problems are solved.

    I didn't mean to go on so long. I've just worked there a good while and have done almost every job there is so I know how things work rather well. I guess I'm a little more passionate about working there than I thought *feels head* Nope, no fever.

    ps. what region/district were you in? I'm in the very tip (NoVA) of the Southern VA district. If our DTL where the DTL of the store you worked at I guarantee every one of those ETL's would have been canned within a month.
     

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