Many of us probably don’t think of the blind and the Internet in the same sentence, but there are tools available to the blind and others with vision disabilities so that they can visit, read, and shop online.
This fact was made clear to Target just last month as they settled a class action lawsuit with the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) for the amount of $6 million.The monies will be placed in an interest-bearing account, and members of the case brought against Target in California can make claims.
Target has until Feb. 28, 2009 to make their web site more accessible to the blind, particularly for those who use “screen-reading software” which reads aloud the text content of a web site. Some popular programs for screen reading include JAWS for Windows and the PAC Mate portable Braille reader, both from Freedom Scientific.
The class action suit was centered on the Americans With Disabilities Act, a law enacted in 1990 that requires retailers and other public places to be accessible to people with disabilities. Target tried to make the case that law only covered “physical spaces” such as their stores and offices.
Most people would interpret that the same way, but in 2000 the law was amended to apply to governmental and other institutional web sites also.
Over next few months, the NFB will work with Target to make their web site more accessible.
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