Targeting Accessibility

The National Federation for the Blind is suing Target for having an inaccessible web site for blind people. This is good. If all goes well, this will lead to the private sector having to take greater responsibility for their web sites and creating them to be accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 compliance isn’t that hard to achieve.

About Will Chatham

Will Chatham is the Security Assessment Engineer for Arbor Networks. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. He started as a web developer, moved into Linux system administration, and ultimately found his place as a security professional. Having most recently conquered the OSCP certification, Will continues to hack his way into various things in an effort to make them more secure.
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  1. I assume that blind computer users have software that loads websites and reads them to the user. Does Target’s website block the use of this software, or is the NFB saying all websites have to provide this website reading service?

  2. Your assumption is correct – screen readers are one type of assistive technology for people with vision problems.

    Target’s web site is not written in a manner that allows screen readers to navigate the site. In the most basic sense, any visual element on a site needs to have an alternate form that the assistive device can use. For example, an image on a page needs to have a description associated with it that a screen reader can read.

    So, if Target’s navigation menu is all images with no alternate descriptions, blind folks are out of luck, as they have no clue what the image links to.

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