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ATI Google Apps Accessibility Evaluation

Google Apps Accessibility in the News

Access Technology Higher Education Network (ATHEN) has released several evaluations of Google Apps to assess the accessibility of the application suite for a variety of disability types. These evaluations involve a broad array of functional tests that are described in detail within the reports below.

On March 20th, the lead author of the ATHEN reports conducted a webinar to discuss key findings and plans for future activities. The recording and slides for this webinar, entitled Report on the Accessibility of Google Apps, are available on the Equal Access to Software and Information (EASI) site.

Google has added accessibility improvements to Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Chat, Google Docs, and Google Sites. The CSU has not tested these improvements. If any campus has tested these improvements then please send the results to the ATI Staff so we can share the information with all our campuses. The University of Michigan has established a Google Apps accessibility page which offers recommendations regarding browser and assistive technology configuration, usage, and workarounds.

CSU Spring 2011 Google Apps Accessibility Evaluation Project

In the summer of 2010, Peter Mosinskis from CSU Channel Islands assembled a team of approximately fifteen volunteers from seven different CSU campuses and one from the UC system to evaluate the accessibility of Google Apps. The team also recruited student volunteers and screen reader users to assist with the testing. Automated, manual, and screen reader testing began the first week of January 2011 and was completed February 4th.

The report has been completed and posted here for your review. The CSU Accessible Technology Initiative (ATI) Staff, ATI Leadership Council, and Google have reviewed the Google Apps Accessibility Evaluation report.

We discovered a number of accessibility issues during our testing. These issues are outlined in the report as well as "workarounds" that can be used to improve the user experience for persons with disabilities. When campuses choose to use Google Apps, they are required to provide an equally effective access plan for persons with disabilities and it is critical for campuses to ensure that the "workarounds" meet the educational needs of the student and/or faculty. The March 15, 2011 USA TODAY online news article "Complaint: Google programs hard for blind students" illustrates possible legal problems that may result from adopting the Google Apps for Education suite.

Questions or Comments about this report may be directed to CSU ATI Staff