Thursday, July 27, 2006

red diamond Google offers search for the blind

Google has a new lab project "Google Accessible Search" which ranks the results for ease of accessibility.

This new service (currently on Google Labs) adds a small twist to Google web search: in addition to finding the most relevant results from Google as usual, Accessible Search further prioritizes results based on the simplicity of their page layouts. When you search from the Accessible site, you'll get results that are prioritized based on their usability. This tends to favor pages with few visual distractions, and pages that are likely to render well with images turned off. Google Accessible Search is built on Google Co-op's technology, which emphasizes search results based on specialized interests. (from Friends of Google newsletter)
Search for "tutorials" on Google (regular) and you find 468 millions of results and on top are some that are reach in graphics. The first item is Section 508 compliant. However, the second item, Sun's Java tutorials violates this important accessibility test.

Search for "tutorials" on Accessible Search and you'll find a different set of supposedly clear cut text based websites with no or little images. In my test this is not to obvious. Number one, the University at Albany, has only a header image. However number two,, does create pop-ups, is quite image rich and fails the Section 508 test as well.

I'm not sure if this is so helpful for blind people or those with other impairments.


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