Google Sites is a web-based tool designed to assist in the creation and deployment of websites. The Google Sites editor interface allows text, pictures, links, and other standard features to be added without knowledge of HTML (although the ability to directly enter HTML still exists). General information on using Google Sites with assistive technologies can be found on Google’s Use Google Sites with a screen reader page.
Content can be made out to be moderately accessible by following web accessibility standards (see Information for Content Creators section below); however, Google Sites web pages have issues adhering to these guidelines. Reference the list below when using common web page elements with Google Sites:
- Text and Images: No specific issues with Google Sites, as long as web standards are followed.
- Headings: The headings for the page and site name are not editable and set to heading 2. There is no heading 1 by default on the page, and the user interface only allows for headings 2-4 (although the user can enter headings 1-6 in the HTML editor). The site navigation block cannot have headings added to it.
- Links and lists: No specific issues with Google Sites, as long as web standards are followed.
- Images: Alt tags can be added when initially placing an image with the user interface, but only within the HTML editor once placed.
- Tables: With the user interface, tables can only be used for layout purposes and cannot be made accessible. In the HTML view you can add change td tags to th tags, as well as add captions, but there is no ability to add summary, scope, id or header attributes.
- Embedded Google Apps: Other Google Apps can be placed within Google Sites. Embedded applications have the same accessibility issues as they do as standalone applications.
Alternatives and/or Workarounds
Due to the accessibility issues that exist with Google Sites, it is recommended that web developers that utilize a screen reader use other web publishing services such as CU Boulder’s Web Express or Legacy Web Publishing System.
Information for Content Creators
When creating web pages with Google Sites users should research accessibility standards prior to and during the site creation process. The following list references a few of these tools:
- Introduction to Web Accessibility
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
- Wave Web Accessibility Checker
- WebAIM Color Contrast Checker
- University of Michigan: Making Accessible Websites with Google Sites
Information for Content Consumers
Additional Accessibility Information
How to get Help
OIT has partnered with Disability Services to provide assistance for accessibility issues related to OIT supported services. If you need assistance, please contact the IT Service Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-735-4357.
We want to hear from you about this service. If you’re having problems using this service or you have more information about the accessibility of this service that we should share with others on this webpage, please let us know by contacting the IT Service Center at email@example.com or at 303-735-4357.
You can also give Google feedback regarding accessibility of their applications and services using Google's accessibility feedback form.