Google Docs update helps visually impaired people use the service

Google’s online editors can now be used by visually impaired people. Especially for them, a tool was added to instantly turn on the Braille display, voice the text, and comment on it.

Google has improved access to its services for visually impaired and blind people – they have added a tool to instantly turn on the Braille display in documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and pictures. They also updated the navigation through the service – now the user can hear where his cursor is located, both the text itself and comments to it are voiced. The company noted that images, typos, and grammatical errors are now being verbalized using “new assistive technologies”.

This technology is similar to that previously added to the stock Android TalkBack screen reader. There, a built-in on-screen touch keyboard with braille font appeared, which is available for mobile devices on the Android operating system versions 5.0 and higher.

In order to use the new function, the user needs to open a document, spreadsheet, presentation, or picture on a computer. From the Tools menu, select Accessibility and turn on your screen reader along with the braille display. If you enable support in one of the editors (in documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or pictures), it will automatically work in the others.

The Braille keyboard is based on the font of the same name – it is a raised dotted font, where letters and punctuation marks are indicated by six tactile dots in a different sequence. The company has already built a Braille keyboard into the core Google toolbox.

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