Further adventures in indifference

As opposed to just adding it to the comments in my original post, I decided to post the continuation of my email conversation with the unnamed executive at my former employer about the Target.com lawsuit as a new entry. This is mostly for Derek’s amusement, but I thought of a few other things to say on the subject as well.

We’ll start with his response. This is copied directly from his email; I take no credit for the spelling, grammar, etc.:

I understand all that you are saying. The difference I see is a “public” building like a Target store is an impediment of it doesn’t have a ramp, etc. and it does matter. It is a physical, public places that discriminates if they don’t have the ramps, etc.

I just see the web as slightly different. While ‘public’ in a sense, it is just as easy for a disabled person to find a web accessible site as it is to find a non-accessible one. You don’t have to drive or walk anywhere. Just click on a different URL. If Target discriminates against people with disabilities it is their problem, not mine.

So if Target doesn’t make their site accessible, they lose for all the reasons you state. And why do I care if Target loses out on all the things you mention? It is just as easy to click on walmart.com or wherever to find the accessibility you need.

And my response to his:

I agree that it is not your problem as a citizen of the USA/world/universe/whatever. And, personally, I could care less if most major corporations blipped out of existence. But we (as marketers and people responsible for our clients’ online marketing/branding/presence/etc.) need to be aware of this and know that overcoming this “obstacle” does not take much and that the benefits far outweigh the time and money involved. We need to be able to work with our clients in their best interests, guiding them down the right path from a business standpoint, even if the benefits are not immediately apparent to them.

Now I’m not condoning the lawsuit, but it also helps from a PR standpoint not to get sued by a group of citizens with disabilities. After all, who’s going to look like the asshole there?

After hitting send, I (of course) thought of a bunch of other stuff to say. I will spare you the entirety of my thoughts save this one:

It is not just as easy for a disabled person to find a web accessible site as it is to find a non-accessible one. There is a real dearth of e-commerce sites on the web that are accessible. That is a major part of the problem. Perhaps if more e-commerce software companies took a page from Karova, users surfing the web with disabilities or (shock) JavaScript turned off might be able to choose to shop somewhere other than a Target or a Wal-Mart or any other store which does not meet their accessibility (or availability) requirements.

Anyway, he hasn’t responded to that last email and perhaps he never will. After all, I gave my notice the next day. And, no, this exchange was not responsible for that in any way.

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