Eric Stoller's blog

| higher education consulting |

Google Wave and Accessibility

2 comments



Google Wave is “totally inaccessible.” According to Web Accessibility in Mind’s (Web AIM) Jared Smith.

Smith’s list of Google Wave’s inaccessible aspects is quite disappointing:

  • Alternative text is not provided for any images.
  • Background images are used to convey content.
  • Roles, states, and other accessibility properties are not defined.
  • There is no document or heading structure or semantics. None! Not even a list!
  • Form elements do not have labels or titles.
  • Keyboard focus indication is hidden, making keyboard navigation nearly impossible.
  • Most interactive elements are not in the tab order or do not respond to keyboard activation.
  • Keyboard focus is often trapped, requiring the page or browser to be closed to resume keyboard navigation.
  • The application becomes unusable and unreadable when text size is increased only slightly.

I concur with Smith’s hope that Google Wave will be made into an accessible product. It’s too bad that accessibility was not part of the initial framework of Google Wave. How many times do we have to experience something built with either brick/mortar or “1’s and 0’s” that is not accessible for all users? Ableism is so pervasive. C’mon Google…you can’t really be “great” if you’re not making great things for everyone to use.

  • Curt Grymala

    I don’t know why anyone’s surprised by this. Last time I checked, Gmail, GoogleDocs forms, Google Voice and Analytics (among others, I’m certain) don’t conform to most accessibility standards. Why should Google Wave be any different than the rest of the Google commodities?

    I think, in the long run, it would be much easier to start a list of the accessibility standards that Google applications do meet and which apps meet those standards rather than to try to point out all of the standards they don’t.

  • Pingback: Google adds auto-captioning to YouTube » Eric Stoller’s Blog()

%d bloggers like this: