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A Cautionary Tale of Inaccessibility:
Target Corporation

Resources for Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for Your Organization provides case studies showing the positive business benefits of accessibility. This page is an example of negative consequences of not making your website accessible.

“Precedent Establishes That Retailers Must Make Their Websites Accessible to the Blind Under the ADA”
(National Federation of the Blind (NFB)9)

About the business

Target Corporation originated in 1902 under the banner of the Dayton Dry Goods Company; the name Target was not adopted until 60 years later when the Dayton Company opened the first outlet bearing that name. Today Target operates some 1600 stores throughout the continental United States as well as Hawaii and Alaska, offering discount consumer products and recently launching fresh food offerings and general groceries nationwide. In 1999 Target moved into online sales with the launch of Target.com, and in 2005 Target broke the $50 billion annual sales barrier.2

Site visitor numbers

Approximately 934,265 visitors daily 3

What happened?

May 2005

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), a non-profit organization representing blind people in the United States, based in Baltimore, Maryland, notified Target Corporation that its website, Target.com, was not accessible to blind and visually impaired users. Key issues cited were:

Target Corporation would not commit to any action to remedy this.1

January 2006

The NFB filed a lawsuit alleging that Target.com's lack of accessibility violated:

September 2006

A Federal Judge ruled that the lawsuit can proceed past Target Corporation's motions to dismiss the case. The Judge found that California anti-discrimination law covers websites whether or not they are, or are connected to, a physical place, and that those aspects of Target.com's services that are sufficiently integrated with those of physical Target Stores are covered by the ADA's non-discrimination provisions.4

August 2008

Target Corporation settled class action lawsuit with the NFB.5

Results

References

  1. Out-Law.com, February 2006. Target sued over web accessibility (www.out-law.com/page-6634)
  2. Target Corporation, September 2009 (accessed). Target: Our History (sites.target.com/site/en/company/page.jsp?contentId=WCMP04-031697)
  3. Web Traffic Agents, September 2009 (accessed). Target.com Site Metrics (www.webtrafficagents.com/WebSiteValue/www.target.com)
  4. Sliwa C & Rosencrance L, September 2006. Court: Accessibility lawsuit against Target can proceed (www.computerworld.com/s/article/9003129/Court_Accessibility_lawsuit_against_Target_can_proceed?taxonomyId=62&pageNumber=1)
  5. Magain M, August 2008. Target Settles Accessibility Lawsuit for $6 Million (www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2008/08/29/target-settles-accessibility-lawsuit-for-6-million/)
  6. Holding R, October 2006. Missing the target (www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1544275,00.html)
  7. Disability Rights Advocates 2008. National Federation of the blind v. Target (www.dralegal.org/cases/private_business/nfb_v_target.php)
  8. United States District Court, Northern District of California. National Federation of the Blind et al., plaintiffs, v. Target Corporation, Defendant (Case3:06-cv-01802-MHP Document214 Filed 08/03/09)
  9. Legal Precedent Set for Web Accessibility, September 2006.
    (web.archive.org/web/20061205232104/http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/060907/cgth051.html?.v=55)