Saturday, April 26, 2014

Accessibility Features with Chrome

Google has incorporated web accessibility within its use of Chrome Browser, Chrome Extensions and other Google Apps for Education to help with our diverse learners.  

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 are important to all our students. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make Web content more usable to all students.

Google's Administrative Guide to Accessibility is a summary of accessibility information for Google Apps. It is to help understand the current state of accessibility for each supported application in the Google Apps suite and how it can meet the needs for all students. This guide’s main focus is on accessibility needs of blind and low-vision users. Deaf and hard-of-hearing users can benefit from the accessibility features of other Google products at the Google accessibility site.

The Chrome browser supports assistive technology including some screen readers and magnifiers. It offers people with low vision a number of tools, including full-page zoom and high-contrast color.The reader for Chrome that is already installed on Chromebooks is ChromeVox. ChromeVox is a screen reader for Chrome which brings the speed, versatility, and security of Chrome to visually impaired users.

Chrome Extensions are extra features and functionality that you can easily add to your Chrome browser to customize it with functionality you need. There are many extensions which improve accessibility or which help developers create accessible web applications. They are easily added to your Chrome Browser by going to the Chrome Web Store. There are many extensions to choose from. Over 300k use the extension Smooth Gestures.

There are many Google Apps for Education accessibility resources. Google Search, Gmail, Calendar, Docs and Sites, Maps and ebooks are just a few. Accessibility resources for these above apps and more are easily added to the Chrome Browser. Google provides 508 VPAT Documents to show the compliance on the above listed Apps for Education. Google continues to develop and test extensions for the Web that help disabled learners.

Meddaugh, JJ. "A First Look at the Accessibility of the Google Chrome Operating System." 14.5 (2013).