Google Accessible Search

G oogle released a new product called Accessible Search, a “web search for the visually challenged.” Though result pages are somewhat less cluttered compared to normal Google results, the point here is not so much to create accessible results formatting, but to rank accessible results higher.

Google writes:

Google Accessible Search looks at a number of signals by examining the HTML markup found on a web page. It tends to favor pages that degrade gracefully – 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 improves search results based on specialized interests. ...

We take into account several factors, including a given page’s simplicity, how much visual imagery it carries and whether or not it’s (sic) primary purpose is immediately viable with keyboard navigation.

Web accessibility is making your website accessible to all kind of users, disabled or not, regardless of what browser they are using.

I will emphasize that accessibility is for all, not for a select group of persons. Because if this is how it is treated then it becomes burdensome for designers/developers. Imagine designing only for a selected audience (nothing wrong with that if that is your purpose) then your site will be have limited use.

Should designers ask for a higher fee because they know accessibility? NO. But they can be given preference when a company is selecting their web designer. Remember that accessibility can directly mean higher sales because more people can access their site and there is a higher percentage of buying something if you can see/ access it (obviously!)

Having laws to make developers comply is a push approach. A pull approach means having the designers comply because there are benefits. When people know that there are business benefits because of accessibility then they will comply, with or without laws.

Related Links - Slashdot, Google Blogoscoped

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