A Search Engine For The Blind: Google Unveils Accessible Web Search

Dennis Faas's picture

Google has just unveiled Accessible Web Search, a search engine for the visually-challenged. Here's how it works:

  1. Regular Google sorts search results primarily by how relevancy, but Accessible Search takes it a step further by also listing pages will that will be easy for the blind to navigate.
  2. To meet Google's Accessible Web Search criteria, a web Site has to be "visually simple." That means it should contain few images, work well even if those images are turned off, and can be navigated primarily with a keyboard. (Source: google.com)
  3. Before Google Accessible Web Search, searching the Internet had long been a futile task for visually-impaired people.

David Faucheux was one of those people. He is blind and writes for Blind Chance, an audio blog for visually-impaired people. His experiences with traditional search engines have not been positive. "I do a Google search," he said, referring to the regular version of the page, "and usually after the first several hits, I don't continue to look for anything." (Source: news.com)

Ironically, Google agrees with Faucheux:

"In the past, visually impaired Google users have often waded through a lot of inaccessible websites and pages to find the required information," the company admits on its Accessible Web Search FAQ page. "Our goal [with Accessible Web Search] is to provide a more useful and accessible web search experience for the blind and visually impaired." (Source: google.com)

About the new service, Faucheux stated, "I hope they can make things easy to use." (Source: news.com)

Google Accessible Web Search can be accessed here. For more information on computing for the blind, check out this very informative article from the Infopackets archive:

Computing For The Blind

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