University of Minnesota
Accessibility Website
http://accessibility.umn.edu
accessibility.umn.edu - advancing access for everyone
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Google Apps

Google Apps is an online suite of 5 applications:

  • Gmail — E-mail
  • Google Calendar — appointment and resource scheduling
  • Google Docs — document, presentation, spreadsheet creation and collaboration
  • Google Sites — website building and wikis
  • Google Talk — online chat

Accessibility Barriers

  • Google Apps hide, display, or otherwise manipulate screen content using a scripting language called "AJAX" that is only supported by certain browsers and screen readers.
  • The changing of content in a location disparate from the activating control or action may not be perceived by screen reader users and users with low vision, information tracking impairments, or other learning disabilities.
  • Labels for form elements are often reported incorrectly or not at all.
  • Keyboard-only navigation is often difficult or impossible.
  • Collaboration may be difficult for screen reader users and users with learning disabilities, as information may change or pop-up in a variety of locations.

Best Practices

  • Consider the accessibility barriers of the Google App to be used and which types of disabilities may be affected.
  • Allow the use of alternative software to accomplish the same tasks being done with Google Apps.
  • Consider avoiding the use of Google Apps to provide access to educational material, if Google Apps is the only means of access.
  • Consider a change in pedagogy to include small group participation, eliminating the need for an individual with a disability to interact directly with a Google App.