I agree that businesses should make things accessible, but this could result in a nightmare of lawsuits flooding sites.

Federal Court Rules Online Businesses Must Comply with ADA; Mindshare Interactive Campaigns Advises Accessibility Audits

September 08, 2006 12:04 PM US Eastern Timezone
Federal Court Rules Online Businesses Must Comply with ADA; Mindshare Interactive Campaigns Advises Accessibility Audits
WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sept. 8, 2006–A new federal ruling issued yesterday raises the bar for online businesses, requiring them to meet the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act just as offline business have been required to do since the law’s passage in 1990.

Mindshare Interactive Campaigns, LLC advises all businesses and organizations, which offer goods or provide services through websites or interactive means, to conduct accessibility audits of their online practices to see whether they might be in jeopardy as a result of this week’s federal appeals court ruling.

“What this means is that any place of business that provides services, such as the opportunity to buy products on a website, is now, a place of accommodation and therefore falls under the ADA,” said Kathy Wahlbin, Mindshare’s Director of User Experience and expert on accessibility. “The good news is that being compliant is not difficult nor is it expensive. And it provides the additional benefit of making accessible web sites easier for search engines to find and prioritize.”

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled yesterday that a retailer may be sued if its website is inaccessible to the blind. The ruling was issued in a case brought by the National Federation of the Blind against Target Corp. The suit charges that Target’s website is inaccessible to the blind and therefore violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the California Disabled Persons Act.

Mindshare’s Kathy Wahlbin has more than 10 years experience consulting with clients using technology for business improvement. She has won awards for design and implementation of accessible Web sites from Knowbility’s Accessible Internet Rally (AIR). As the Director of User Experience Services, she uses accessibility as a cornerstone to effect change.

Mindshare Interactive Campaigns (www.mindshare.net) helps organizations leverage the communication opportunities created by technology. Since 1997, we have worked around the world with many of the leading corporations, associations, non-profit organizations and governmental entities to accomplish complex objectives. Mindshare’s award-winning efforts have set the standard for innovation, creativity, and results.

Mindshare is headquartered in Washington, DC with offices in Austin, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

If you are interested in discussing accessibility for your news article on this issue, contact Kathy Wahlbin at kwahlbin@mindshare.net or via telephone at 512.652.5613.