Heystek Raises Target Website Accessibility Concerns

Last week reported on the fact that the Target corporation has refused to make their website accessible to the visual impaired. Their reasoning is basically that the 1990 ADA Act does not require them to do so. Thus they would rather pay to fight a legal case than comply with the requests to make their website more accessible to millions of disabled and elderly people. This is particularly concerning because the relative costs of making their website accessible is pretty minor and it would probably be mitigated by increased usage by disabled and elderly customers.

Councilmember Lamar Heystek, brought up as a suggestion the city council author a letter to the Target corporation requesting that they make their website accessible to the visually impaired.

Councilmember Don Saylor began to ask questions as to whether other corporations do this and whether the City of Davis does this. In fact, the City of Davis does have a fairly accessible web site thanks to the efforts of the Human Relations Commission and the work of local activist, Anne Evans, who brought this issue to the attention of the HRC.

Councilmember Saylor may want to take a look at the City of Davis website where they have a lengthy explanation of this.


The City site has been developed to be “text-only” friendly and considerate of users accessing the site with special devices whenever possible. We use descriptive alternative tags (ALT tags) to supplement graphics. If you turn off image loading in your browser, the pages of the site can still be navigated and viewed. For use with special devices, the site has been tested using Bobby.

Adobe PDF documents can be converted to HTML or ASCII text using Adobe Accessibility Tools.

Accessibility is an important issue for our webpages. We are working hard to meet W3C Accessibility Guidelines and Section 508 Accessibility concerns.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): The City of Davis has a strong commitment toward meeting the goals of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. We follow practices to make our web site compatible with text-based and speech-based web browsers, and to provide information useful to those who are unable to easily access basic City information by other methods. Should you have an ADA-related concern about our web site, please let us know by contacting webmaster@ci.davis.ca.us

Now the Section 508 Accessibility requirements are as follows:

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. Inaccessible technology interferes with an individual’s ability to obtain and use information quickly and easily. Section 508 was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and to encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508 (29 U.S.C. ‘ 794d), agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information that is comparable to the access available to others. It is recommended that you review the laws and regulations listed below to further your understanding about Section 508 and how you can support implementation. (Source: Section 508)

The City of Davis website is now in compliance with Section 508. There is no reason why Target should be in compliance with these requirements—their addition is not an expensive undertaking and there are many Americans right now who cannot have access to these websites. It would be like constructing a building that you cannot enter if you have a wheel chair. In the year 2006, this seems to be common sense. Hopefully once Councilmember Saylor educates himself on this issue, he will recognize this as well.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting


  • David Greenwald

    Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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