If you have never had to use the accessibility features on your computer or your device, you may not know how visually-impaired users read information on their computer or how they navigate around the screen. If you are someone who needs that assistance, Google Docs has just stepped it up with an update that brings improved braille integration.
Google Docs Update
Google announced this week that it’s making substantial improvements to Google Docs to make it easier for those who use assistive technologies, such as braille displays. The changes include new keyboard shortcuts, improved navigation, and more reliable verbalizations.
Google encourages the users of assistive technology who work in Docs to enable braille support.
The following changes have been made to the braille support feature in Google Docs:
- The shortcuts Ctrl + Alt + H (CMD + Option + H on Mac) will toggle braille support in Docs, as well as Sheets, and Slides.
- When you are navigating around your screen, the shortcuts will announce your cursor’s location.
- Navigating through long documents and lists has been made more reliable.
- Images, misspelled words, and grammatical errors are now verbalized.
- Navigation and verbalizations have been improved when navigating through tables and selecting content. This includes cell contents.
Using the Braille Improvements in Google Docs
The integration is available with supported screen-reading tools. This includes ChromeBox on ChromeBooks, NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) and Job Access with Speech (JAWS) on Windows, and VoiceOver on Mac.
To be able to use the updated braille navigation in Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides, you need to have the latest versions of the browsers and assistive technologies that you use.
The feature will be on by default if you have braille support turned on. If you’d liked to learn more about using a braille display with Docs editor, visit the Help Center.
The update started rolling out to Rapid Release domains on August 31, 2020. Scheduled Release domains can expect the full rollout to begin on September 17, 2020.
It’s a great world we’re living in when those with visual impairments aren’t hampered by their disability and can use a computer or a mobile device at work or at home.