Friday, July 21, 2006

Google Accessible Search

Google Labs have come up with yet another search solution. This time it's for the visually challenged and is simply called Google Accessible Search. It's still in development, hence the Google Labs placing, but Google see it as an extension of their overall mission to better organize the world's information and make it universally accessible.

They've worked with a number of organizations to determine which websites and pages meet their criteria for accessibility, where the blind and visually challenged can experience using standard online technology. This takes several factors into consideration, such as a page's simplicity, how much visual imagery it carries and whether or not it displays properly with images turned off and can be navigated using the keyboard.

UK legislation already exists to ensure that government and public service web sites conform to recognised accessibiliuty guidelines. This technically now covers any site providing a service to the public so it really encompasses everyone. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) publishes numerous guidelines including Web Content Access Guidelines that attempt to assist web designers achieve accessibility.

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