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Google Accessible Search Released

timothy posted more than 8 years ago | from the what-about-one-for-people-like-me dept.

134

Philipp Lenssen writes "Google today released Accessible Search, a Google Labs product aiming to rank higher pages which are optimized for blind users. Google asks you to adhere to the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines if you want to make sure your pages are accessible (and thus, rank better on Google Accessible Search). I wrote a small tool to compare results of default and accessible results."

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Hmm... (0)

archcommus (971287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750707)

I wasn't aware websites were optimized for blind people.

Re:Hmm... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15750727)

I wasn't aware websites were optimized for blind people.

Many aren't at present, that's the whole point of making it easier to find those that are. Of course, making pages as device independent as practical helps many others as well as the blind.

Re:Hmm... (5, Informative)

Shimdaddy (898354) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750764)

Blind people can use screen readers, but if you bury your content in flash or in images without alt text, it makes it very difficult (impossible really) for the screen reader to know what to say. Also, if you position everything in tables and it loads in a weird order but looks right when it hits the screen, it presents problems, since the reader won't know that the <td> 5 rows down actually explains the <th> 3 columns over.

CSS can help with this, as it keeps the formatting away from the content, but you still have to keep your .html (or .php or whatever) source files nice, clean and logical. A simple test is, if you can read your source file easily (ie in notepad or vi or whatever) then you're probably ok.

Re:Hmm... (1)

jaweekes (938376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751236)

So having all your script read on one line is a bad thing?

Writing ASP script I always add " & vbcrlf" at the end of a "Response.write" line of code. Makes it a lot easier to find errors anyway...

I know, Perl, PHP, RoR is better. (Added for karma. Why not??) :-D

Re:Hmm... (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751666)

I am curious as to whether you use ASP volunteerily or mandatorily.

Re:Hmm... (1)

jaweekes (938376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751720)

We have no policy either way, although it's hard to get anything else installed on the servers. They are also going though a "server consolidation" effort, so there are not many boxes left to "play" with anything else.

Re:Hmm... (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751849)

Disclaimer: I'm still learning CSS, so be gentle if I am mistaken... :)

CSS can help, but there's a reason why people use tables rather than CSS to lay out web pages: it works. There are a lot of caveats with CSS. As other posters have noted, IE doesn't follow the W3C standards, and therefore tends to display a lot of content defined with stylesheets in unexpected and not altogether wonderful ways. On the other hand, if you rewrite your CSS to work in IE, other browsers don't always work well. However, I have yet to see a browser that choked on a straight HTML table layout (granted lynx/links butcher the layout, but the content is still there).

Furthermore, consider a simple web page with a rather standard layout: a title/logo section at the top, a navigation column to the side of the main content (doesn't matter which side for this discussion), a main content section and a copyright section at the bottom. This type of layout is very simple with a table: use the <tr> tags to separate the title bar, the navigation/content and the copyright, and use the <td> tags to place the navigation menu and the main content next to each other within the middle <tr> tag. With CSS, however, you place the various divisions where you want them. Unfortunately, if your content is dynamically generated, you won't know beforehand how far down the page your copyright notice should be. While you can use the overflow property to scroll the main content while keeping the rest of the page fixed in place, this is rather ugly, and wastes even more of your page with scroll bars. For an example of what I mean <shameless plug> you can take a look at one of my web pages [element-o-p.com] . I tried to use CSS exclusively for layout on this site. I've since reverted to using tables on most of my web pages, since, IMHO, it just works better for 99% of what I do.

While there probably is a way around this problem, I haven't figured it out yet, which leads to the third problem with CSS. While it's really powerful, and can do some seriously cool stuff (click here for examples [csszengarden.com] ), it's not nearly as easy or intuitive as straight HTML. For professional web developers, that's okay, but for a lot of people, it's more hassle than it's worth.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15752400)

While there probably is a way around this problem, I haven't figured it out yet, which leads to the third problem with CSS. While it's really powerful, and can do some seriously cool stuff (click here for examples), it's not nearly as easy or intuitive as straight HTML.
HTML table layouts are neither easy nor intuitive. And they fail the Lynx test.

Re:Hmm... (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750783)

Well, I assume blind people use text-readers as one of their tools; So this pretty much would make any Flash-based site useless.
I also think proper html-tags might help, so they can easily distinguish content from options/framework.

Re:Hmm... (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750979)

Well, I assume blind people use text-readers as one of their tools; So this pretty much would make any Flash-based site useless.

You do not know what you are talking about. Period.

One has been able to make accessible flash for at at least three years [evolt.org] . I was too lazy to look for older citations. That was flash 6; 8 has far more accessibility stuff from what I understand.

Please STFU. TYVM. HTH, HAND.

Re:Hmm... (1)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751052)

You're pathetic :) Have a good day.

Re:Hmm... (1)

tehwebguy (860335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751118)

calm down k

Re:Hmm... (4, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751303)

Flash's accessibility features are not terribly helpful. They don't adhere to any standards, and require you to run particular software (they rely on Microsoft Active Accessibility, for example) to be compatible with them.

No, before you go around spouting "STFU" at other folks, make sure you're able to back up your claims. Just becuase a company says "our stuff has accessibility features" doesn't mean they DO, or that they are useful to people who would need them.

PS: I just tried to find out more about their accessibility features, but they use Flash to explain that, and I don't have sound on this machine... kind of useless.

Re:Hmm... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751983)

But on the other hand, they do offer accessibility, and it does work. It might only work with a certain subset, and so on, but that has always been true of flash, so having it be true of flash accessibility is just not a serious issue. If you're willing to use flash, you've already made the statement that you're willing to exclude a certain percentage of users. Meanwhile, the accessibility flash provides is sufficient to fulfill the legal requirement (for those sites which are required to be accessible, that is) and again, if you're willing to use flash, you don't really give a shit about accomodating border cases anyway.

Re:Hmm... (4, Insightful)

statusbar (314703) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750791)

There has been standards for blind web browsing for many years! The problem is that hardly anyone use them, even a lot of government web sites which by law must be accessible.

The amazing thing is that google, by page-ranking these pages higher, I believe it will do more to improve web accessibility than any law or standards organisation could.

--jeffk++

Re:Hmm... (3, Interesting)

Dasaan (644170) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751445)

Which raises an interesting point. What would happen if Google were to rank pages with valid html slightly higher that pages that don't validate properly?

Re:Hmm... (1)

Jetson (176002) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751741)

The amazing thing is that google, by page-ranking these pages higher, I believe it will do more to improve web accessibility than any law or standards organisation could.

Now if only they would do the same thing to down-list sites that are "Optimised for IE6" (or any other browser). The standards already exist, but for most content creators there is no incentive to follow them as long as the majority of their visitors are happy. Google is uniquely capable of reducing the number of visitors....

Re:Hmm... (2, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750922)

Perhaps you need to open your eyes then.

A well designed standards based website is built in a uniform standard way and contains all the hints required for a screenreader to pickup on.
Badly designed sites use lots of custom content and stupid user interface elements which make it difficult to access (both from a blind screen readers perspective and usually from a normal users view.

Still missing the point. (0)

jZnat (793348) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750708)

Accessible pages typically mean you don't rely on tables to present your content, yet Google still does. Otherwise, very nice to see.

Re:Still missing the point. (4, Interesting)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750973)

It depends. If you actually talk to a blind person, tables aren't as annoying as people using characters between links. For instance, doing navigation with a pipe (vertical bar) or some other character sounds strange to them. I worked for someone who was blind and owned their own business for a time. He said cnet was one of the most annoying web properties for him to use. At the time their navigation sounded terrible and was quite randomly placed. He also didn't like navigation at the top as much except on the first page. Worst of all, he hated hearing. about us vertical bar products veritcal bar etc...

Oh and he used Internet explorer. His software tied in with that so it looked like an ie hit and even tried to load all the crap everyone else deals with in IE. He did IE on windows using a dell.

Re:Still missing the point. (1)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751543)

huh, I never thought about how a blind person my be experiencing my pages... and I've almost always used vertical bars to separate navigation links! Even still my page seems to pop up earlier in the "Accessible" search, probably because it conforms to W3C strict.

Anyone know of any resources for improving your sites for the visually impaired, or even some sort of tool that will let me experience my sites as a blind person would... it might help for some perspective.

And here I thought I was getting the best accessibility by simply ensuring compatibility across browsers. I guess there's almost always something more we can do.

Re:Still missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15752695)

Turn on Narrator or equivalent. Turn off monitor. Have fun!

Re:Still missing the point. (5, Insightful)

IdahoEv (195056) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750998)

Indeed. Point 5 of the guidelines:
Tables should be used to mark up truly tabular information ("data tables"). Content developers should avoid using them to lay out pages ("layout tables"). Tables for any use also present special problems to users of screen readers (refer to checkpoint 10.3).

Even Google's ultra-simple front page violates this guideline, despite zero need to do so.

Point 3 of the guidelines says this:
Mark up documents with the proper structural elements. Control presentation with style sheets rather than with presentation elements and attributes.

But if you dig into the source of google.com, you see cruft like this:
<br><font size=-1><font color=red>New!</font>
Google fails rather dramatically to implement any web standard, not even including a doctype. These problems aren't limited to their front page, either. news.google.com is just as bad or worse.

This is really a shame. The content that google presents is lightweight and free of the layout challenges that can sometimes make web standards difficult to follow: Google should be the perfect test case for perfect standards and accessibility. Instead, it's a throwback to 1996 web design. That they're launching a tool to test accessibility to the blind is incredibly ironic.

Re:Still missing the point. (2, Funny)

daeg (828071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751053)

I found it amusing that the main page of the "accessible" search page uses:
document.f.q.focus();

Re:Still missing the point. (1)

Articuno (693740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751165)

At least they are honest: http://blog.outer-court.com/accessible/?q=google [outer-court.com] They don't put their own page on the top, as it isn't very "accessible"... :-)

Re:Still missing the point. (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751385)

I'll take your word for it that this is the case, I have little experience with how it works, but it seems to me that they could make another goodle, like www.google.com/blind and in this there could be nothing which would impede blind users, so simply a search box at the top right (or where ever it would be best)... surely that would be a really helpful tool to go with this and take no effort at all. But I'm no expert so I might be missing something.

Re:Still missing the point. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15751536)

And this is reflected on the search as well.

http://blog.outer-court.com/accessible/?q=search [outer-court.com]

Searching for "search", google doesn't even show up in the acessible list.

Re:Still missing the point. (1)

CopaceticOpus (965603) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752174)

Amen! Google is AWFUL about basic web standards. You'd think they never heard of them. Considering some of the philosophies they espouse, you'd think they could devote some tiny effort towards embracing these standards.

How long would it take a good Perl developer to proxy the Google search page, and to produce validating results which look identical in all the major browsers? Probably less than a day. Of course, Google would need to take more time to optimize it, but they've had years to do this. Get with it dagnabit!

Re:Still missing the point. (2, Insightful)

PietjeJantje (917584) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752195)

The reason is of course not that Google cannot make a page without the use of tables or the font tag, but that the pages work with even the oldest of browsers (except IE 2.0 which doesn't do tables). You can't DIV or CSS your way around that. Big sites like Google and Yahoo have always been breaking rules, either for speed (not using quotes etc.) or for backward compatability. W3C is nice but doesn't earn you money.

Re:Still missing the point. (1)

Sparr0 (451780) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752503)

For a page like the google front page that gets maybe a billion hits a day I can completely understand ignoring a few standards to cut even 100 bytes off the total size of the page. That would reduce their traffic by 100GB/day.

Random hole digging post (0, Offtopic)

aersixb9 (267695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750715)

Yeah, so it's off topic. Anyways, as I'm sure you all already knew, layer 5 of the earth has no rocks! (Unlike layers 3 & 4) Layer 5 appears to be bright red clay, that probably hardens into brick (although I don't have a pure sample yet) ... although layer 4 kind of looks like brick when it's cooked, too....anyways, there's no rocks in layer 5, which makes digging much, much easier. For those of you not familiar with the layers of earth, each layer is ~ 1 meter deep, so I'm around 15 feet in. Does anyone want to respond with what color layer 6 is, and if there's rocks or not? Also I'm curious about layers 7 - 6000, too. Finally, does someone want to donate some TNT to the earth exploration and digging project? Or a website, I should make one of those.

Accessible Content (5, Insightful)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750717)

From the Accessible Search FAQ:

How can sites make their content more accessible to the blind?

Some of the basic recommendations on how to make a website more useable and accessible include keeping Web pages easy to read, avoiding visual clutter -- especially extraneous content -- and ensuring that the primary purpose of the Web page is immediately accessible with full keyboard navigation


I wish more sites where like that. Do you want info? You get it right there, without all the mumbo-jumbo associated with most current websites.

Re:Accessible Content (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750808)

I am not visually impaired, but since I'm surfing with out-of-date or text-only browsers every now and then, I get similar issues that I'd like to add:

Get rid of flash/java/javascript for anything related to navigation on the site! These things are nice for showing a movie, or a small program, but not for main content and navigation

A completely cluttered page with an option added afterwards to see it in larger fonts is still a cluttered page! Once I saw a site for local elections where there was a link to the part of the site for visually impaired people (large font page), but you needed to find the link first, which was still in small fonts, hidden on the page somewhere.

If you use the ALT-tag for pictures, use it wisely. Don't put alt-tags saying 'picture' or 'link'. Until now I liked the pages that didn't use the alt-tag better, as 'left-arrow.gif' 'home.gif' are still more intuitive then non-saying alt-tags (of which there are way too many).

Re:Accessible Content (3, Insightful)

Igmuth (146229) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750971)

Once I saw a site for local elections where there was a link to the part of the site for visually impaired people (large font page),
Wait... are you saying that they had an entire seperate page that they made simply made the font larger? That is insane. The idea of accessible web pages is that if people need a larger font size, they should be able to select that larger font size in their viewer of choice, and it shouldn't break your page. (I.e. no images as text, etc)

Re:Accessible Content (1)

Rigrig (922033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752841)

Get rid of flash/java/javascript for anything related to navigation on the site! These things are nice for showing a movie, or a small program, but not for main content and navigation
What's wrong with using javascript to replace a default menu with a drop-down menu? My site with javascript disabled has a single link to a foto page, which lists all available albums. With javascript enabled, the link still points to that page, but mouse-overing it also opens a menu with direct links to the various albums.

Re:Accessible Content (3, Funny)

Ryan Stortz (598060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751083)

I tried searching for Porn and the 5th link down was to this article [theregister.co.uk] on the Register that claims Porn makes you blind. :(

Re:Accessible Content (1)

Awod (956596) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751222)

If only you were blind...

Re:Accessible Content (1)

Alexandra Erenhart (880036) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751277)

I can always close my eyes... is the only sense you can actually choose to use it or not.

Falun Gong Show (1, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750723)

As opposed to the inaccessible search one gets on http://www.google.cn/ [google.cn] ?

http://www.google.cn/search?hl=zh-CN&q=falun+gong+ is+good&meta= [google.cn]

Re:Falun Gong Show (2, Insightful)

AtOMiCNebula (660055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751693)

Let's take a hypothetical situation. You live in a communist country (China), and are trying to do some research on a paper for your studies. You need to pull up some information on a completely legitimate topic (as per China's regulations). What would you use to find this information? Would you, as a Chinese person, whine and moan and boycott Google because they were censoring your results? Would you refuse to use them, because you know full well that if they didn't censor their results, there'd be no Google for you at all?

I'm not trying to say Google is justified here. But, at some point you have to draw the line. China is who you should be griping at, not Google. Google is still trying to help the people of China, they just aren't legally allowed to help them as much as they can help people in other countries.

So, I'll ask again. Isn't some of Google better than none?

Re:Falun Gong Show (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15752873)

As I understand it, "some of Google better than none" isn't the issue; google.com is still accessible within China, and less than 1% of Chinese users use google.cn. I guess I've never really understood why everyone gets so pissed about the whole China thing.

At some point it doesn't matter... (3, Interesting)

MudButt (853616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750769)

I somehow think that a search for "Adobe", "Photoshop", etc. will still give you adobe.com as the #1 result, despite its accessibility problems [contentquality.com] .

Re:At some point it doesn't matter... (1)

skraps (650379) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750854)

Far from it... try it for yourself with the compare tool [outer-court.com] that was linked in the summary.

Re:At some point it doesn't matter... (5, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750866)

Photoshop, blind, hum ... well

Re:At some point it doesn't matter... (1)

Karthikkito (970850) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750888)

I wonder if their algorithm involves both relevance as well as accessibility so that a highly relevant site might be able to be ranked first even if it's not as accessible as the alternatives.

Re:At some point it doesn't matter... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15751115)

More irony: Searching for Google [outer-court.com] gives Wikipedia's article first place.

Same with M$. In fact, just about anything that has an article in Wiki goes first.

Microsoft.com NOT "accessible" (4, Interesting)

AugustZephyr (989775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750788)

Re:Microsoft.com NOT "accessible" (0, Redundant)

MudButt (853616) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750817)

What do those links have to do with the accessibility of the sites you mentioned? You just linked to an accessible version of google.

Re:Microsoft.com NOT "accessible" (2, Informative)

MrP-(at work) (839979) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751513)

you seemed to have missed the point of this service.. its not just that the google site is accessible, it's that google actually sorts the results showing more accessible sites first.. meaning google says when searching "microsoft" there are more accessible sites than microsoft so it displays them first, whereas searching for slashdot or digg shows slashdot and digg as result 1 meaning google considers the two sites to be accessable

one of the best tool ever (5, Interesting)

mu22le (766735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750794)

I didn't get it initially but this is one of the best tool google ever gave us, most spam sites designer do not care for standards and are left out of the 'accessible' results. I think I'm going to switch to the new sevice soon.

Re:one of the best tool ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15750931)

Accessible porn?

are you blind? 12? just dumb? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15751235)

I'm guessing from reading the shitty grammar and speeeeelllng in your post that you're part of the vast untapped RETARD-AMERICAN market in need of this service. Indeed, the best ever for fuckstains like you!

Re:one of the best tool ever (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752037)

Unfortunately, I'm sure that's next on their list. :(

It always makes me laugh (1)

Zabu (589690) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750855)

Googling for braille shows the Ebay sponsored link "Looking for Braille?"
Another great Ebay sponsored link can be found googling for "Conflict Diamonds"

This could backfire (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750861)

With Google's "Accessable search", sites will be able to tell from their weblogs how many visitors are coming in via the "accessable search" route. So it will be possible to figure out the financial benefit of web accessability. If it turns out to be low, even for pages that Google thinks are "accessable", there's a business case for not bothering with "accessability".

Re:This could backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15750876)

Nice thinking!

Re:This could backfire (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751000)

Good point! Don't forget to factor in the cost of prosecution under anti-discrimination legislation if you plan on doing business somewhere like the EU or USA which makes accessibility a requirement though...

Re:This could backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15751129)

sites will be able to tell from their weblogs how many visitors are coming in via the "accessable search" route.

Sites can't tell how many visitors are coming in full-stop. Visitor counts are snake oil.

So it will be possible to figure out the financial benefit of web accessability. If it turns out to be low, even for pages that Google thinks are "accessable", there's a business case for not bothering with "accessability".

The financial cost of web accessibility, for the vast majority of websites, is zero. So accessible websites would actually have to cause harm to not be worthwhile. And even in the cases where accessibility costs money, I doubt it will cost as much as being sued and having to do the accessibility work anyway - you are aware that a lot of countries require accessibility by law?

Re:This could backfire (2, Insightful)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751214)

In fact, the opposite seems to be true - the Olympics [contenu.nu] was successfully sued [tomw.net.au] over their website being inaccessible, and so was Target [sfgate.com] . As a consequence, it seems, more and more business are finding reason to make a case for web accessibility [wordpress.com] - whether they consider themselves a target or not.

ADA does not require accessable private websites. (2, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751671)

The Olympics was an Australian case. Target was not "successfully sued"; that's still pending. Southwest Airlines won a case over that issue, Access Now vs. Southwest. [bytowninternet.com] ; their "virtual ticket counter" does not have to be handicapped-accessable. Access Now appealed, and the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit rejected the appeal. [findlaw.com] That's the only final US court decision on the subject to date.

As the court put it, it's up to Congress to change the ADA if Congress wants it to apply to the Internet.

Re:ADA does not require accessable private website (1)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752072)

Nothing in your parent post mentioned the US specifically at all. So why are you now using that to make your case for why accessibility doesn't matter? Just because the US hasn't specifically passed legislation addressing the issue doesn't mean it isn't one.

The point I was trying to make is that it would be shortsighted and possibly very stupid for major companies to be ignoring web accessibility.

Wrong (2, Interesting)

Supersonic1425 (903823) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751605)

A common misconception is that website accessibility only benefits blind people. Accessible, semantically-structured websites are good for many things, most notably Search Engine Optimisation and cutting down on bandwidth. How's that for financial benefit?

Re:This could backfire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15752607)

There are as many blind people in the world as there are Brazilians (~160 million, see epidemiology [wikipedia.org] section of Blindness entry on wikipedia). Many of these people use the internet. It doesn't make business sense to ignore such a large segment of the population.

MC

w00h00 - text-based search engine (3, Funny)

guruevi (827432) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750869)

Finally I can start using Links2 or even Lynx to start browsing or any other curses based browser... mmm... gopher. Will work perfectly with my pine mail and telnet based IRC.

I really commend google for providing us and maybe even forcing webdevelopers to use decent, W3C compatible standards. This means soon enough, we'll have websites that aren't IE compatible.

 

Re:w00h00 - text-based search engine (1)

BalanceOfJudgement (962905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751151)

This means soon enough, we'll have websites that aren't IE compatible.
Ah ha! So that's Google's master plan! Pretty good plan if you ask me.. make the web better AND get rid of Microsoft.

I like MS technologies as much as the next guy (.NET has some pretty good stuff) but.. I think they're a dinosaur and dinosaurs tend to stifle innovation.

Too good to be true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15750897)

Unfortunately, it will soon be spamdexed. As another poster suggested, even sighted people will use it because it will be less likely to contain spam. So the spammers will pounce on it and fill it with their useless crap. I don't think the big name companies like Coke, Adobe, Microsoft, etc. will do it. But you know those weird jibberish websites will.

No sponsored links (2, Interesting)

martinag (985168) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750900)

It seems I'm not being served any sponsored links on this one. Nice. I also note that searching for "white house" will put the Wikipedia article above the official home page, as opposed to what happens on the regular search.

this is good not only for... (2, Insightful)

vindimy (941049) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750901)

blind people. i think we all can benefit from this simple and straightforward representation of search results. i actually like the new accessible interface. it was a kind decision by google to not put any ads in their accessible search. i think more people will use the google accessible search than just the blind people.
so, has anyone tried using any of the screen reading software to test whether search results are actually readable without looking at the screen?
and also what about keyboard shortcuts? since blind people can't use mouse, there must be some other way for them to find a search box / search result, right?

Opportunities for the blind (2, Informative)

krell (896769) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750915)

There are always sites like www.aintitcool.com that prove that some places are willing to give employment opportunities for the blind by letting them engage in web site design.

Google Accessible in not according to W3C standard (4, Interesting)

giriz (966704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750957)

Re:Google Accessible in not according to W3C stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15751105)

The irony is, its pretty damn close. None of the errors on that page would require more than 5 minutes to fix. Its all minor syntax crap.
Trying a search [w3.org] does significantly worse, although there are probably only 20-30 unique errors and the rest are repetitions.

Re:Google Accessible in not according to W3C stand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15752779)

That is because google aims for overall compatability, that often means using dated markup and various standards violating hacks to ensure compatability with all major browsers. In a perfect world HTML would be standardized, but in this reality its not even close.

What? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15750982)

Optimizing websites for the blind is about as intelligent as optimizing music for the deaf...

Re:What? (4, Interesting)

illuminix (456294) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751096)

My son is blind. He uses the web with a reader, and loves google. He searches for music, among other things. It's pretty amazing how effecient he is with it, given he can't see. Some sites work better than others. It is possible to optimize a site for the blind. You're ignorant.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15751249)

I think the GP was going for a porn joke (but failed).

Re:What? (4, Insightful)

Arker (91948) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751273)

Optimizing websites for the blind is about as intelligent as optimizing music for the deaf...

That's utter nonsense. First off, you think blind people can't process information? WTF?

Second, it's not even about 'optimising for the blind' so much as simply 'using (rather than abusing) the web.' The web was designed from the start to deliver information in a neutral format so that the user-agent (browser) could then deliver that information appropriately. This may mean laying it out on a screen (of unknown dimensions and capability,) or it may mean speaking it aloud, or whatever. Proper web design is accessible to everyone. The errors that make sites inaccessible to the blind are the same errors that make them annoying and sometimes unusable to the rest of us as well.

Keep in mind that you cannot dictate layout and use html properly and you'll have no problem. Ignore that fact and you shut out a lot of people, not just the blind.

Re:What? (3, Informative)

Rifter13 (773076) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751496)

When I worked for Albertsons.com, we accidently created a site that worked well for the blind, and even received some recognition for it. After the initial release of the site, and finding out how some blind people were using it, we actually had a lady talk to our develoment staff about optimizing the site even further, which we did.

It is a VERY good feeling to have, when someone that is in their 40s tell you how grateful they are for your service, since it is the first time in her life, she was able to actually shop for groceries. Adding alt text to images, that TELLS people what the image is, is a huge help. It is very simple things, that you do in HTML to make it possible. If you go in aiming to create well-formed HTML, you are about 80% there, by default.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15751291)

You are a complete dumbass.

If you do believe that, then you need to be put in a mental institution.

If it is what you say, then slashdot isn't for you because slashdot must not be "optimized for dumbasses that deserve to die."

Image ALT Tags (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 8 years ago | (#15750989)

Image ALT Tags are useful for more than text-based browsers - they also help blind users surf the web. When images are used as links, the ALT text can help a blind user know what they're getting into before following the link. ComputerWorld had a decent article on websites and their accessibility - they found that most online shopping websites (Like Target or Walmart) don't have any helpful information in the filenames or ALT tags of their images, making it much harder to shop online.

Google InAccessible Search Released (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15750994)

Is it just me or is the server reporting that the URL can not be found?

AdWords (1)

blacknblu (988181) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751014)

I wonder if this will impact the paying advertisers. As long as your money is green, you can cut to the beginning of the line.

Wondering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15751022)

How will people make P$RON more accessible. :)

Anon /. It has to be FUNNY +5 or /. readers need to read use the new google tool

What was that again? (0, Redundant)

nick1000 (914998) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751057)

Apparently Google accessible search(GAS) is not that accessible.
http://www.google.com/u/accessible?cx=accessible!& q=google+accessible+search&btnG=Search [google.com]

Assuming that this actually works and GAS is easy to use for the disabled then shouldn't it return itself as a top result.

Damn, I'd better get to work updating my site! (2, Funny)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751147)

From what I've read of the guidelines, my website gopher://gopherrulez.org [gopherrulez.org] just won't cut it!

targeted marketing... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751294)

So does this mean instead of "grow your manhood in just 2 weeks with these pillZ" they're going to get "get your eyesight back in just two weeks with these sweet pillZ"?

Perfect application! (2, Interesting)

KrugalSausage (822589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751297)

Has anyone ever had the problem of trying to find song lyrics and being bombed with pages full of nonsence?! First time I tried with this interface I got the exact results I was wanting. So I know now that this is better for lyrics... what else would it be better for?

This may even be used to prevent blindness.. (1)

brainnolo (688900) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751347)

Given the amount of flashy sites around here it could almost prevent blindness

For Thruly accessible webpages (3, Interesting)

guabah (968691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751368)

The w3c check is not an acurate measure on how thruly accessible the pages are

I now this because I have friends who are blind and frecuently use screen reader applications

If you really want to make sure your pages are accessible then download the trial version of Jaws for Windows [freedomscientific.com] wich is the defacto standard screen reader. This trial is limited to 40 minutes per session, but those 40 minutes should be enough to test your webpages.

As mentioned in posts above, make sure the content can be reaced quickly by readers.

Re:For Thruly accessible webpages (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751738)

The w3c check is not an acurate measure on how thruly accessible the pages are

I now this because I have friends who are blind and frecuently use screen reader applications

Yes and no. On the one hand, WCAG does have acknowledged shortcomings and it's certainly no guarantee. But aural browsers and screenreaders tend to be absolutely awful when it comes to supporting the markup that's intended to help them. They aren't designed to read accessible websites, they are designed to scrape as much meaning as they can out of inaccessible websites.

So from a practical perspective, yes, you need to test in individual assistive user-agents if you want your website to be as usable as possible by disabled people. But when the markup is fine according to the W3C and assistive user-agents get it wrong, it's usually because the developers of the assistive user-agents haven't even heard of the W3C.

Great (1)

kurtis25 (909650) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751506)

This is very good and useful for the sight impaired and for those who like to avoid websites which are design impaired. I do however wonder how relevant this is, I could achieve similar results with an RSS reader, Firefox and/or a few GreaseMonkey Scripts. Compared to a normal webpage it would seem easier for the Reader to speak the print version so I could use the Firefox extension that forces CNN stories to open in print view. I could also subscribe to just their RSS feeds and get the stories I want on text only pages; the same is true of blogs. I'm sure there would be a way to add RSS feeds to lyric websites, and then Google could put an RSS feed search together. This seems like a better (more forward thinking solution). *disclaimer I have never used a reader nor am I a web guru this is an idea.

Google.com not accessible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15751563)

If you search for "google" on http://labs.google.com/accessible/ [google.com] it does not show up. In fact, a search for "google accessible" does not find the google accessible page.

Natural conclusion: Google accessible is not...accessible :o

Porn? (1)

chis101 (754167) | more than 8 years ago | (#15751684)

I bet porn for blind users isn't quite as good.

mod 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15752257)

Confirming the and excit1ng; www.anti-slash.org GNAA on slashdot, most. LLok at the numbers. The loss

"Tab order" for links? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15752300)

I'm not visually or manually impaired, but I did wonder when my mouse recently stopped working, and I had to rely on keyboard alone -- why does the layout of /. mean that I have to hit TAB dozens of times, rolling down through the sidebars on both sides, before the browser will select the first article? I'm pretty sure it is merely a side-effect of the arrangement of the HTML (i.e. the default tab behaviour in the same order), but is there a way to override this and designate the "tab order" of links, kind of like fields in a database form? I expect this could be very helpful for people using some types of interfaces. (And, yes, I realize the behaviour is somewhat browser-dependent, but I'm talking about "hints" in the HTML that could be applicable for a variety of software tools.)

I'm looking through the W3C guidelines on this subject now, but they are rather long enough that it will take me a while. If anyone knows the answer, I'd appreciate it.

Re:"Tab order" for links? (2, Informative)

WerewolfOfVulcan (320426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752643)

Actually, many modern screen readers have the capability of analyzing the HTML document and creating an alphabetical list of the links on the page that they can navigate.

Here's a list [freedomscientific.com] of Features and Enhancements for the latest versions of JAWS (a widely used screen reader). Reading through them will give you some idea of how screen readers operate. There's a lot more to it than you think.

Here's a clip from one of them:

HTML and the Internet
Improved Performance on the Web

With the new Internet and HTML support in JAWS 7.10, you will experience increased accuracy, improved navigation, and better text recognition when reading Web pages or other virtual documents.
Visible Focus Rectangle

When you press TAB or SHIFT+TAB to move to links and buttons in Internet Explorer and Firefox, the focus rectangle is now visible. This rectangle is useful to sighted users because it visually indicates the location of the cursor. The focus rectangle does not move when you use the arrow keys or Navigation Quick Keys to read.
Route the Virtual Cursor to the JAWS Cursor

You can now press INSERT+NUM PAD PLUS in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and virtual documents to route the Virtual Cursor to the mouse pointer. Using this command moves the Virtual Cursor to the current location of the mouse pointer and can help sighted users navigate Web pages. In addition, routing the JAWS Cursor to the Virtual Cursor (INSERT+NUM PAD MINUS) is much more accurate and moves the mouse pointer to the exact character the Virtual Cursor is located on.
Route the PC Cursor to the Virtual Cursor

You can now press CTRL+INSERT+DELETE in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and virtual documents to route the PC Cursor to the Virtual Cursor. Using this command moves the PC Cursor (and the application focus) to the current location of the Virtual Cursor. Visually, the page will scroll so that the area containing the Virtual Cursor is visible on the screen. This command is the opposite of the Route Virtual to PC Cursor command (INSERT+DELETE).
One Setting for Controlling Page Refreshes

There is now only one setting for controlling page refreshes. Previously there were two settings, one for controlling page refreshes caused by the browser, and another for controlling refreshes caused by embedded ActiveX controls, such as Macromedia Flash. These have been consolidated into a single option for controlling both since it is often not apparent which is causing the page to refresh.
Improved Detection of Dynamic Page Updates

Previously, if script code was used on a page to control visibility without the user actually interacting with the page, JAWS would not detect the page update and would either show content that was not really there or not show content which was made visible. This should no longer occur.
Enhanced Screen Tracking

The screen no longer scrolls up or down erratically while you are using the Say All command or navigating by other means. The screen only moves when the content about to be read is not visible.
Document Presentation Mode Line Length

You can now define how long a single line will be when viewing an HTML page in Document Presentation Mode. This can help you read lengthy tables easier because all the content from each row in the table can fit on a single line. The increased line length stops JAWS from rendering rows across multiple lines. When you exit Document Presentation Mode, JAWS will render the page using the normal maximum line length.

The default line length in Document Presentation Mode is 400 characters, which is enough to fit most table rows on one line. To change the line length, open the Utilities menu and choose Configuration Manager. Then, open the Set Options menu and choose HTML Options. Enter a new line length in the Document Presentation Mode Maximum Line Length edit box located on the Text tab.

Finally... (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752474)

a slap in the face of Macromedia Flash.

ie - fiefox (1)

NaeRey (944457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752611)

Just noted that when you search for Internet Explorer, it returns as 3rd:
Mozilla Firefox
Official site of the open-source browser. Includes product downloads, release notes, features overview,...
www.mozilla.com/firefox/ - 14k - Cached - Similar pages

unlike normal google.. ?

Google Suggest (Skor: +5 Hopefully Funny) (1)

in_repose (985442) | more than 8 years ago | (#15752641)

But will this accessible search come with the SUGGEST flavor?
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