Thursday, December 28, 2006

Speech-friendly Google Maps

Google Maps now accessible to blind users ...

"Google used their blog on Boxing Day to announce a new speech-friendly interface for Google Maps.

The new interface does away with graphical maps and concentrates entirely on giving directions and directions which can be cleanly read out by a screen reader or presented in a Braille browser. The UI (user interface) works for Google Maps US and European versions of the site such as Google Maps UK. Google often rolls out enhancements only to the US version of their service first.

The speech-friendly interface is not the only foray into accessibility that Google has made. The search engine launched its accessible search option in the middle of July this year which re-orders results to favour sites which are more accessible than others.

The new version of Google Maps presents the speech-friendly directions in a similar table to the original Google Maps but uses the entire screen. This technique is similar to Google’s approach for Accessible Search where the search results appear to look the same to a normal organic search. The search engine has deliberately kept the visual output the same even though accessibility improvements have been made in the code. Google’s clean look and feel has become very much part of its brand. There are also Usability benefits in keeping a uniform feel to navigation throughout the site."    (Continued via Big Mouth Media)    [Ergonomics Resources]

Google Speech Maps - Ergonomics

Google Speech Maps

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