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Google Apps Accessibility

April 3, 2011

The National Federation of the Blind is concerned by the adoption of Google Apps Education suite by some large universities such as New York University and Northwestern University.  Apparently the NFB doesn’t think that applications like GMail are accessible enough, and this may cause discrimination issues for blind students and employees.  It shows that issues we discussed in Week 6 are still worth discussing.  Organizations like NFB are advocates for people with accessibility issues, but librarians should keep up with this sort of news as well.

Read about it here.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 7, 2011 11:32 am

    I agree that universities and K-12 schools shouldn’t adopt a software suite that is inaccessible to blind people, but in addition to badmouthing the universities, I would like to see some statement from the NFB against Google for making inaccessible products. But then again, you get what you pay for: Google Apps for Education is free.

  2. April 8, 2011 12:47 pm

    Wouldn’t it make more sense for the organization to demand that the app be updated with accessablity functions than attack the schools for using something that lowers costs? Maybe I don’t understand the process very well, but it seems like Google is really responsive to things like that.

  3. April 8, 2011 4:39 pm

    I agree that Google should be the one held accountable here. Universities and K-12 schools are using Google Apps because they’re free, and probably not because they’re actively trying to shut-out blind students. Google would do well to make some products, or update current ones, to be accessible for blind people.

  4. Tara permalink
    April 8, 2011 9:58 pm

    I agree with Heather – I think it is important schools use software that is accessible to the blind, but it is also important to remember that Google provides free applications and many educational institutions are very short on funds these days. If the NFB wants to be truly effective, they might want to consider working with Google to help them align their products with the needs of the blind, or helping schools gain the necessary funding to appropriately accommodate the disabled.

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