Google Continues to Improve Accessibility
Earlier this week, we looked at some improvements Google made to its Hangouts feature in Google+, specifically in terms of accessibility and sign language. They improved video quality and made it so it’s easier to see signing.
Google has also been working on some other accessibility-related features for Google Docs and Google Calendar.
“This fall, as classrooms fill with the hustle and bustle of a new semester, more students than ever will use Google Apps to take quizzes, write essays and talk to classmates,” says Google Accessibility technical lead T.V. Raman. “Yet blind students (like blind people of all ages) face a unique set of challenges on the web. Members of the blind community rely on screen readers to tell them verbally what appears on the screen. They also use keyboard shortcuts to do things that would otherwise be accomplished with a mouse, such as opening a file or highlighting text.”
The company has been working with advocacy organizations for the blind to make its products more accessible, and has already improved keyboard shortcuts and support for screen readers in Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Calendar. On the Gmail Blog, the company provides some examples of how screen readers and keyboard shortcuts have been improved specifically in Google Calendar:
For a complete list os shortcuts and more information about screen reader functionality, you can find more info in Google’s help center.
JAWS, VoiceOver and ChromeVox are all supported by Calendars.
Google says it will continue to improve products for blind users in the weeks and months ahead.