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Google Apps Accessibility

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Google has expressed a commitment to accessibility and provided instructions for how to use accessibility features of their products. However, Google Apps currently possess accessibility barriers.

The University of Minnesota Accessibility Standard illuminates helpful best practices. They are to:

  • Consider the accessibility barriers of the Google App to be used and which types of disabilities may be affected.
  • Allow the use of alternative software to accomplish the same tasks being done with Google Apps.
  • Consider avoiding the use of Google Apps to provide access to educational material, if Google Apps is the only means of access.
  • Consider a change in pedagogy to include small group participation, eliminating the need for an individual with a disability to interact directly with a Google app.

Tools and Tips

Greg Kraus of North Carolina State (NCS) University has developed a Google Doc to Microsoft Office Bookmarklet. It is a useful tool to convert a Google doc into a Word document. As the NCS web page states:

Some assistive technology users are unable to use the Google Docs user interface. Often times it is more convenient for them to download the Google Doc into its corresponding Microsoft Office file format. It is possible to do this from within a Google Doc by going to the application's "File" menu and choosing "Download as". However, even this task can be difficult for some assistive technology users because of the lack of support for their assistive technology within Google Docs. This tool provides a convenient way to download a Google Doc into its corresponding Microsoft Office file format.

According to Google documentation (PDF) people using assistive technology to interact with Google Apps will have the best experience using Google Chrome with the ChromeVox screen reader extension.

For further information please consult the Google section of the accessibility page of the Web Design Reference site.

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