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.
I recently received an invite to the Google Wave beta. The day after I received my invite, I demoed Google Wave to some of the faculty at OSU. We started brainstorming ways in which we could use Google Wave. (It should be noted that the limitations of Blackboard were frequently mentioned in this conversation.) I immediately started pondering how Google Wave could be useful for Academic Advisors in academic advising.
The initial question after I showed my Google Wave account on the big screen was quite simple — what is it? The answer is very complicated. Google Wave is a new way of communicating and collaborating that uses a lot of the elements in current web tools.
Google Wave overview:
Google Wave has the potential to be an exciting new web tool for group advising, content repurposing via Wave embeds, classroom discussions, shared academic advising knowledge bases, collaborative document creation/sharing between advisors/students and distance advising.
The list of Google Wave possibilities is seemingly limited to one’s imagination and creativity.
Google has a new app called “Wave.” It’s billed as communication and collaboration tool. I would say that it’s probably going to be the tool of choice in the next 5 years for anyone who uses Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, WordPress, any IM Client, etc. If Google Wave catches on, Zuckerberg will wish that he’d sold Facebook when he had the chance.
Microsoft is the “new” IBM. They just don’t know it yet. Sorry Redmond.