September 5, 2007

Uncommon Sense

Many have complained about the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. It has been used to transform playgrounds, restrooms, entryways and access points all across the nation. The complaints generally focus on the ADA preventing something the majority of people could use because a minority of people cannot. As an example, there is a skywalk over Coldwater Road that students can use to cross over to Bishop Dwenger. Such a skywalk couldn't be built today unless it was wheelchair accessible. To make such a skywalk wheelchair accessible would take quite a bit of land (or the addition of elevators).

Well, now companies are being sued using the ADA Act because their web sites are inaccessible to the blind.
Target Corp. and the National Federation of the Blind are still fighting in court. The Minneapolis-based big-box retailer says that it made sufficient changes to its Web site after being sued by the NFB and blind individuals last year. The plaintiffs, however, maintain that Target has to do more. The company is now arguing that its Web site isn't covered by disability access laws, while the NFB says that it is. A hearing was held on July 31 on Target's motion to dismiss the suit and the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, with a ruling expected later this year.

The thing is, blind people can use computers by adding software that converts the text on web sites to spoken words... but if a web site uses images and not words, then the web site is "inaccessible." So what do you think, should all web sites be prevented from using utilizing images because blind people cannot see them? Aren't we getting rather silly here? Couldn't the blind just as easily argue that websites should not use colors? How far do we go along this path before it becomes the non-disabled who are being held back from the full enjoyment of life?

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