Some very good news from Reuters (via John Blossoms’s Content Blogger), Google is testing more accessible Web search for the visually impaired.
At Google Labs, you can now find Google’s Accessible Web Search for the Visually Challenged . It doesn’t look that different from the regular Google Interface, but the difference appears to happen behind the scenes. According to the Accessible Search FAQ, it goes beyond finding the most relevant results by finding the most accessible pages from the normal web search result set.
I tried a few searches, and they confirmed that rankings do change, and sometimes significantly, for those searches. I’m seeing sites that were constructed with accessibility as a major goal move up considerably in rankings.
The FAQ tells us that it looks at HTML markup, and
…tends to favor pages that degrade gracefully — pages with few visual distractions and pages that are likely to render well with images turned off.
The official Google Blog provides a little more information – Finding easy-to-read web content
The FAQ also points to the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 as a place to go to learn about making your site more accessible to visitors.
Nice going, Google.