Making Google Maps more accessible

It has become very popular to use the Google Maps API to add maps to websites. While the maps work fine for most users, unfortunately Google Maps does not by default work without JavaScript—when there is no JavaScript support, you don’t get a map.

Fortunately it is quite easy (but not very common) to provide a fallback for users who do not have JavaScript enabled in their browser by using the Google Static Maps API.

The Google Static Maps API lets you embed a map as a plain image in various formats. The developers guide explains the many options you have when it comes to configuring the static maps.

So next time you use the Google Maps API to put a map on a website, take a couple of minutes to add a static fallback for users without JavaScript.

While we’re on the topic of making Google Maps work for more people, I recommend reading Patrick H. Lauke’s article on creating Keyboard-accessible Google Maps. Making Google Maps usable without a mouse requires a bit of hacking, but the end result is well worth it.

Posted on December 1, 2008 in Accessibility, JavaScript