Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Google makes bold accessibility statement -- but it's not accessible

Google likes to show seasonal or holiday variations on its simple colorful logo. Today's choice is breathtaking:

(Click to see full-size image)

The logo is the word "Google" in Braille. Click on the logo itself, and you're sent to information about Louis Braille's birthday:

Very daring, and very cool. A sighted person only knows he or she's at Google's site by looking at the Address bar, and maybe learns a bit about accessibility of Web sites.

But what about someone who uses a screen reader for the blind? Obviously a blind person can't see the image of Braille letters. The ALT tag for the logo image causes this text to display when you mouse over the logo:

Happy Birthday Louis Braille

I wonder how many sighted people were confused by Google's well-intentioned stunt? Did they know they were at the real, authentic Google home page? I wonder how many people with vision impairments were confused as well? Time to ask my friend Mike Hudson to check it out....

Google even made their bold statement on their "results" page or hit list:

(Click to see full-size image)