Archive for June, 2008

Goosh: An Alternative Google Interface

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Stefan Grothkopp has written an unofficial alternative interface to Google. It uses Javascript to create an interface similar to a Unix shell, with a text input box at the bottom of the screen and results displayed above.

The advantage is that you can use single letters or words (“news”, “images”, etc.) to search Google’s other sites, and Wikipedia as well. This is simpler for some people than using the Google Toolbar application.

Search hits are shown using table markup, so screen reader users can move through the results quickly with table navigation commands. However, it currently only shows the top four results for any search.

The service is still in beta testing, but anyone interested can try out the Goosh interface.

Making Popular Web 2.0 Sites More Accessible

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Web designer Christian Heilmann has reworked the interfaces for Youtube and Flickr. (“hacking the API” sounds so ugly! …) He has simplified the screens and added several accessibility features, most useful for users with learning disabilities or visual impairment.

Easy Flickr has a very simple search interface. Pictures are displayed one at a time. (Keyboard-accessible Next and Previous buttons were added shortly after the original launch of the service.) Easy Flickr can be hosted on other servers (using PHP and cURL). The author provides background info about Easy Flickr.

Easy Youtube is more robust. It offers accessible controls for the media player, a more manageable display of search results, and even a way to send someone a specific playlist. It requires users to have Javascript running. Web administrators can download the player and host it on their web servers. Heilmann’s June 12 update contains all the details on Easy Youtube.