Google Chrome Launches New Accessibility Features

Google Chrome has launched new accessibility features to allow users to access websites they are interested in. In this video you will learn about ChromeVis for users with low vision to magnify and change the color of selected text.  ChromeDaltonize can help color blind users to see more detail in websites, and gleebox provides alternatives to actions traditionally performed vis the mouse such as clicking, scrolling, and selecting text fields.

To view Closed Captioning, click on the “CC” in the lower right corner of the video.

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  1. Rachael — Wow, that video was both encouraging and discouraging to a low vision user (me). Chrome Vis looks very interesting, and has potentially useful features, but it wasn’t clear to me at first glance where it is, how to set it up, etc. A little more dumbing down to us mere users would be helpful. I’ll go try to find it, and try it. The initial fear of the keyboard commands is that we who use accessibility software are up to our eyeballs in an additional layer of passwords, codes, key commands, etc. Even a thin new learning curve layer is daunting for me at least, and what is most appealing is the system that works without having to go back to school. Sure, we’ll learn it if we have to, but those who have accessibility “issues” are also looking for the shortest route between two points. The second half of the video, I assume, is for programmers. At least, I hope so, since I was totally lost in the computer jargon, the upshot of which, was to turn me away from what looks like a complex fix. I have long used a magnification and text reader called ZoomText that is a marvelous but buggy one-stop accessibility program from a low vision person like me who spends 10 hours a day online. Problem is that, while Zoomtext works with IE and Foxfire, it crashes (for me) or freezes constantly in Chrome and Gmail. I was dvised by my low-vision IT assistant just yesterday to stop using Chrome because it is not friendly to accessibility software. That’s sad, since I love Chrome and the growing family of Google products. But now when I access my Gmail, I do it through another browser because Google seems to care much more about innovation (which is great) but not so much about the impact that endless innovation has on those of us out there who just want to get the job done. Every layer of innovation requires the creators of accessibility software to have to keep pace, and keeping pace with Google (with three versions of Chrome as I’m told) is no easy task. So once again, we accessibility types end up with a software that works great in IE or Foxfire, but when “move up” to Chrome — it’s crash-city. It appears that the Chrome answer, rather than be friendly to accessibility products, is to once again be innovative and come up with their own accessibility tools that work in, and only in, Chrome. So I’ll try Chrome Vis, but when I really want to get some work done (because Zoomtext is clearly a more effective all-around product for my needs) I’ll have to shut off Chrome, go back to the tried and true browsers — and make a living. I look forward to the next range of Chrome app bells and whistles like I look forward to the next James Bond film, but if you really want to help out The Unaccessibles like me — try playing well with others too. That is, ultimately what accessibility means — not a cool new secret decoder ring and a backstage pass, but a key to the front door that everyone else is using.

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