Unless you count the time Ford arranged for a blind man to drive a Mustang on the company’s proving grounds, speed and special nods to accessibility don’t often go together. Today, however, Google made its speedy browser, Chrome, more accessible by introducing a new category of featured extensions.
ChromeVis, which was designed to improve the visibility of text, is perhaps the main attraction in the new "Accessibility" group. Engineer Rachel Shearer explains in the video below how it offers all sorts of thoughtful touches that go beyond basic magnification.
Then, as Jonas Klink, a product manager, noted on the Google Chrome Blog, "You will also find extensions like Chrome Daltonize that can help color blind users to see more details in web pages or gleeBox that provides alternatives to actions traditionally performed via the mouse such as clicking, scrolling and selecting text fields."
Klink also wrote, "To encourage more developers to incorporate best practices in accessibility when designing extensions, we’ve open sourced the code behind Chrome Vis and created relevant documentation."
So Google’s effort is likely to be the beginning of something big rather than a one-time acknowledgment. Or even a two-time acknowledgement, considering that a few more extensions are supposed to be on the way. And all sorts of people, including those who are just tired of seeing black-on-gray text or don’t like to reach for the mouse, should benefit.
We’ll try to provide an update when Google makes another move in this field.