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Google Accessible Search

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A special feature available on Google is the search box especially designed to prioritize webpages that are easily accessible to blind or visually impaired individuals.

Google performs a search identical to the normal organic search. But in ranking the relevant pages it gives priority listings to those webpages it deems preferable for the visually impaired. Google does not filter any content out in performing an accessible search.

Google examines the webpage's HTML markup and favors webpages with few visual distractions and pages that function well with the images turned off. It considers the simplicity of the page and the quantity of visual imagery present.

To understand what types of pages get preferred treatment, the page theme should be apparent by using keyboard functions only - no mouse. There should be good, quality textual content with minimal extraneous content. Try browsing websites with a monochrome display to gain some perspective on accessible search.

Alternatives to Boolean Search

An alternate retrieval methodology is the Vector Space Model. With this method some of the problems such as synonymy and polysemy were addressed.

In the Vector Space Model all text is transformed into numeric vectors and matrixes. By using matrix analysis the key features, characteristics and connections are evaluated. Some advanced models can also analyze the semantics of the document. It can then return those webpages which are related to the query semantically ( in meaning or context ). Because of this ability to analyze the webpage semantics - this can be a very potent search methodology.

In returning the relevant webpages it is common for the search engine to express the expected relevance to the query in terms of percentages. For example, a page may score a 96% relevance to the keyword query. The webpages are usually listed from high expected relevance to low.

Another method of search sometimes employed is a Probabilistic Model. In this method, probability and statistics are utilized in calculating the relevance of a webpage to a search query. This is done because, in the opinion of some, a complete numerical computation process to list related documents is an inefficient use of computer resources.

Some downsides of using a probabilistic approach is the return of irrelevant documents or an overall fuzzy retrieval, especially where the search terms have polysemy.

Next, let's see what can be done with entering the right words into the search box.

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