Google Docs is a great collaboration tools and many students in the universities and schools use the service to collaborate. Suppose there are six students jointly working on a report and one of them is visually impaired or has low vision. What option does he have? Without the service being accessible he would either have to totally rely on the remaining five members of the group or he would have to work all alone. The usability and accessibility experts working in the field of disability often complained that popular services like Google Drive and Google Docs were not very accessible. In fact, Laura Patterson, the CIO of the University of Michigan had publicly condemned Google for not meeting accessibility standards back in 2012.
According to this The Next Web update Google has made considerable improvements in both Google Drive and Google Docs to make the services more accessible. Braille display has been introduced. A wide range of screen readers can now read not just the normal docs but also text appearing within images. There are voice alerts when multiple authors are working on a single document.
Here is a small video explaining the recent accessibility changes in Google Docs and Google Drive.
The major changes, according to this Google blog update are:
- Support for alt text on images in Docs, so you can tell a screen reader what they should say to describe an image
- Better support for using a keyboard to edit charts and pivot tables in Sheets
- Additional screen reader improvements specifically for Docs, Sheets and Slides, including support for spelling suggestions, comments and revision history
- The ability to quickly search the menus and perform actions in Docs, Slides and Drawings (and soon Sheets and Forms)—even if you don’t know the action’s key sequence