Technology October 25, 2020
Google’s new Chromebook update promotes accessibility for disabled people
Google has introduced new updates for Chromebooks to help people with low vision and learning disabilities, an initiative that was much needed in the accessibility technological space.
A nine-month long pandemic has set a new trend across the world. People are now working from inside their homes. For those with disabilities, accessibility still remains a major issue when it comes to working with technology. Tech giant Google has now introduced new updates for Chromebooks to help people with certain disabilities to make their work environment accessible and productive. Read on to know more.
Latest update from Google
People with visual impairment will now be able to change color of the cursor in order to improve their visibility on-screen. A feature mainly for those with low vision and certain learning disabilities, this indeed gives a personal touch to the Chromebook. Pointers can also be adjusted according to the user’s convenience.
In a statement issued last week, Google said, “With select-to-speak, people can select text on the screen to speak aloud. “You now have the option of shading background text that is not highlighted, which makes it easier to focus on the words being spoken”.
ChromeVox is a built-in screen reader on all Chromebooks. Screen readers are critical for computers that are blind and weak. So Voice switching on ChromeVox automatically changes the screen reader’s voice based on the language of the page.
ChomeVox will detect which voice you must use when reading it aloud if the page is in English or Spanish. They have reportedly added voice customization options, Smart Sticky Mode, and improved navigation in ChromeVox menus.
A much needed technology
Over time, technology which has largely remained inaccessible to people with disabilities are now finding ways to make things easier.
Maitreya Shah, who is visually impaired, is a disability rights advocate from Gujarat who finds the latest update from Google interesting.
“This is a great initiative because they are including other disabilities apart from low vision. They have elements specifically related to screen-readers which are ideally good. It is better that they are developing their own screen-reader and own system altogether because as people with blindness, the number of alternatives that we have except combination of Windows and Jaws are rare. If Google is developing their own screen reader and a compatible system altogether, it is going to be better. It will be like Android and iOS with an in-built screen-reader software. It will create a whole new stand-alone solution for people with disabilities”, says Maitreya.
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