Department store Target is being sued for discriminating against the sight impaired. The alleged discrimination happened on their website.
At issue is that, while programs that read the text content of online links, which the sight impaired can access with a keyboard, are available, graphic-intensive sites don’t accommodate them.
Target has countered that ADA rules apply only to physical places of business, not virtual ones. They’re probably right.
I’m not generally the type to side with Corporate America, but I can understand the blind were not foremost in the minds of Target’s web designers.
I’m also sure a more text-intensive Internet is not what we all want (it's not a book). Imagine the impact on porn sites alone! (I kid.)
I was in a stadium seating theatre once, and before the movie started, a physically disabled man came in, looked around at the auditorium, then called for the manager.
I couldn’t hear their conversation clearly, but I could tell it was about the fact that the patron could not really partake of the stadium seating experience, because it involved climbing stairs. The manager seemed contrite and understanding, but the patron ended up leaving.
Devil’s advocate question here, and it’s going to make me sound like an insensitive bastard, but here goes: If you can’t participate in something, does that mean the other 99% of people who can shouldn’t be allowed to?
I believe in doing everything possible to simplify and improve the lives of the less-able. Any of us could become one of them any day. But that doesn’t mean sighted people, for example, should feel bad about nor be prevented from making full use of their gift.
Incidentally, I have been in at least one stadium seating theatre that did accommodate the handicapped. The entrance hall to the auditorium was essentially an up-ramp, so when you entered you were at mid-level, not ground level. The handicapped section was right there – the best seats in the house.
I distinguish between willful discrimination and discrimination by ignorance. So should the law. Handicapped groups should have a dialogue with companies that are not meeting their needs (there is no mention of this in the linked article) before heading to court.
I’d hate to be blind, crippled or otherwise impaired. (Well, some kinds of impairment don’t suck). And I sincerely hope all businesses will work to accommodate the handicapped to the greatest extent possible.