Sued Over Lack of ALT Tags (Attributes) Sued Over Lack of ALT Tags

The National Federation of the Blind and a college student are suing Target and want to establish a class action suit over Target and its lack of accessibility for blind internet users. The suit is centered around’s lack of ALT text in its site’s images. Wonder who’s doing their SEO, as ALT tags (or ALT Attributes) are a very important part of all around site usability and relevancy.

Not to point fingers at the National Federation of the Blind, but if you scroll over the navigational images at the top of their site, there are no ALT tags to inform the user of those images either.

The suit specifically claims the following lacks of accessibility on

* Lack of alt text
* images maps that neither have alt text or a functional equivalent on the page
* requirement for a mouse to perform various functions on the site

One issue brought up on the blog is who is at fault here? Target or is powered by, so who is responsible? are both responsible? a 50-50 split? 75-25? does the engine that is powering the site even allow Target developers make it accessible? Depending on the functionality of the Amazon engine, can it be considered an Authoring Tool and thus subject to the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines? Did Amazon promise accessibility but not deliver? Did accessibility even make it on to the radar when building the site?

Loren Baker
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Loren Baker

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14 thoughts on “ Sued Over Lack of ALT Tags (Attributes)

  1. I believe it’s actually “alt text”, but I think everyone gets the point.

    The fault lies with both Amazon and Target. One thing is for sure, their web groups will be looking at ways to add alt text.

  2. Sounds like a new argument in the SEO field Lee, the Tag Gang vs the Attribute Gang. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Nathan, I have never heard of Alt tags for IE, but no doubt this is just another toy that Microsoft added in an attempt to win the browser wars. Any sensible web designer will ignore it and stick to standards compliant code that can be understood by any browser.

  4. IE wrongly causes ALT attributes to display in a “tooltip” style fashion. This can actually be annoying and even work against usability/accessibility but cover other information on the page. It is supposed to be an ALTERNATIVE to an image.

    The TITLE attribute is the one that is supposed to (and does in Firefox and Safari) function as a tooltip.

    I like mors idea. Let’s starting suing sites for being IE only and the like.

    Ironically, a lot of the assistive technology that blind folks would use doesn’t support IE 7.

  5. i think no one is responsible for this situation. I think they have just forgetten. Because their software is huge so they spent their times to flexibility and security, not for seo.


  6. This is so silly! I don’t think it’s right! Does this mean any website owner can be sued?

    Did you do a follow up article on this I can read?