We all know Google engineers are working away a stuff that's so amazing they have to wait a couple of years before releasing it otherwise it'll blow our minds up (Gmail, maps, etc).
That said, they've released functionality tucked away inside the search results page that I never knew existed. Full accessibility support.
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When using FireVox the free screen reader extension for Firefox, Google's search results automatically detected the assistive device and changed the experience for me.
Below is a video demonstrating the experience:
I've not looked too deeply in to it yet, but as far as I understand, using the AxsJAX library, Google is able to detect assistive devices and respond accordingly.
Here's a list of what changed from the traditional experience:
- The first result is made to appear much bigger and easier to read
- The screen reader, via ARIA (I believe), jumps to the first result, skipping over the header gumph
- Results are navigable using the cursor keys: up & down
- As the next result is highlighted and before the screen reader announces the detail, an audible cue tells us it has moved on
- If we reach the last result and press the down cursor, it returns to the first result, triggering a higher pitched audible cue, telling me it has started again
All this happens without me having to tell Google that I'm using a screen reader.
I definitely want to see more of this in upcoming applications (note: from what I understand, this is also built in to Gmail, Reader and number of other apps).