[nobe-l] accessibility of Google products

Geogie sydnorhg at gmail.com
Wed Aug 31 04:09:56 UTC 2016

Hey there,
I have some experience with Google tools that I can share. I just finished
working at a Public Charter School as a literacy tutor/teacher for sixth
grade. I'm also blind and have been all my life, and I was the only blind
person working there. We used Google Drive, Docs, Forms and Sheets all the
time. I struggled for the first few months, because I honestly couldn't find
any blind folks who used Google stuff extensively who I could discuss it
with. But here is some of what I picked up from trial and error.
On my PC I used the latest version of JAWS at the time with FireFox. There
is an accessibility mode in the different Google tools that you should turn
on right away. And you'll want to keep it on, because it doesn't work well
at all without it. Google Drive is accessible, but you'll need to tab around
a whole lot. Same situation with Google Docs. I also found that the speech
will lag a bit, especially inside of a Doc or Sheet. It's not much of a lag,
but it's enough that it drove me crazy. But you can use the same commands
from Word when in a Doc, and the same ones from Excel when in a Sheet, so
aside from the lag it's not bad. Google Forms is very accessible most of the
time, but if you run into trouble with something in a Form, one great
work-around is to have the form sent to you in the body of an email. This is
one of the options when you make and send a Form, but it's not the default I
don't think. I never had any trouble with Google Forms once I had them sent
this way, and I received four or five every week.
I would definitely recommend using the iPhone aps. I found them very
navigable with VoiceOver. I liked the Docs and Drive apps, but did not find
Sheets to be accessible. If you open a Google Sheet in Safari, then it's
pretty easy to navigate by moving by rows. For some reason I can't get the
roter to give me the rows option when in the Sheets app, and that was a big
drawback. Also, one very important feature for me as a tutor was the
comments feature. Unfortunately, after a recent update, the comments feature
is not accessible at all in the Docs app. It's a shame, because it used to
work very well, and I would type comments to my students about there work
using a Bluetooth Keyboard. Another useful feature when teaching that is
missing in the Docs app is the extended time breakdown of recent edits. On a
computer, a teacher can pull up a list of when all of the changes were made
to a document. Great way to keep an eye on a student's progress on an
assignment. The app doesn't allow for this detailed time log, but it will
tell you what time the most recent edit occurred.
Sorry if this is too much Google info! I just want to make sure you don't
have to figure it out from scratch like I did!
-----Original Message-----
From: NOBE-L [mailto:nobe-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of David Andrews
via NOBE-L
Sent: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 10:30 PM
To: National Organization of Blind Educators Mailing List
<nobe-l at nfbnet.org>
Cc: David Andrews <dandrews at visi.com>
Subject: Re: [nobe-l] accessibility of Google products

Google has been doing a great deal of work on the accessibility of these
products. While not perfect, they have improved a lot.  Use Google (LOL) and
search for accessibility topics with the products, there is stuff out there.


At 08:38 PM 8/30/2016, you wrote:
>Thank you for asking this. Whoever answers, please share wisdom as far 
>as both jaws and window eyes. We are heavily into google this year too, 
>and I am struggling a bit.
>Kathy Nimmer
>Even in the valleys, keep believing in the mountains.
> > On Aug 30, 2016, at 9:01 PM, Craig Cooper via NOBE-L
> <nobe-l at nfbnet.org> wrote:
> >
> > Greetings,
> > Today, during our teacher meetings, we had an extensive discussion 
> > on using various Google products, including Google Docs, Google 
> > Sheets, Google Forms, and Google Apps.  These products are widely 
> > used in schools, as they allow teachers to be able to do a number of 
> > creative and interactive lessons, along with making it easy for 
> > teachers to collaborate on documents.
> > It can be a bit overwhelming, learning the products and determining 
> > whether they are accessible with screen readers.
> > I would love to hear your experiences with these various Google 
> > products.  Do you use them in your teaching practice?  Are the 
> > iPhone apps or PC Google products more accessible?
> > Thank you so much.
> > Craig Cooper
> > Teacher: U.S. History, World History, and English III Brookings 
> > Harbor High School

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