Nickie Coby (puppybraille) wrote,
Nickie Coby

Google and accessibility

Google is usually my favorite search engine. It's clean and easy to navigate with a screen reader. But there are several problems with what they've been doing lately as far as accessibility to screen readers and I would assume those who need magnification as well.
First, they had those stupid Captias. I'm a huge fan of trying to kill spam and I think it's great when companies try to keep spammers from using their domains to do their dasterdly deeds. But come on folks! You're excluding a population. You're making it impossible for me to register for something without help. Yes, I've had access to a great set of parents, sister and friends who do this stuff for me. But I won't always have access to them and I know there are many people with a visual impairment of some kind that live on their own. They can't just call someone from the other room and say "come here and read this will ya?"
Now, they're requiring people who want to sign up for a Gmail account to get the invite from a mobile phone. I'm sorry, but this isn't acceptible either.
There are several holes in this. The first is from an accessibility standpoint. Most blind users probably aren't using the phones adapted with Talks or Mobile Speak although I'm sure some are. Okay, I guess Google can argue that it's not their problem because they don't make phones, and that's out of their control. But to me, that's like arguing that a building doesn't have to put in ramps because it's not their fault that wheelchairs can't go up stairs. THere's probably a hole in this argument somewhere if you look hard enough. But even if you were to argue that it isn't google's problem, it'd still be a smart move on their part. When I know that a company has worked to keep/make their products accessible to me as a blind user, I use their stuff. LiveJournal is a perfect example. Yes, they have a Captia. But they do have an audio test. These aren't perfect either, but at least they are trying. I seem to remember them making accessibility changes before. In
This entry I read that one of their goals for changing their skin was accessibility. That's a good thing. Consequently, I'll use their product. I'm not above paying for a service (although now I don't have to). I'll support them and tell others about their product.
I probably won't advertise for Blogger, Gmail or any of those other services if this keeps up. That's just my opinion.
Tags: technology related

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