[nobe-l] accessibility of Google products

Albert Rizzi Albert at Myblindspot.org
Wed Aug 31 14:33:13 UTC 2016


Just wanted to mention that I am aware of a new Google Docs Add-On called Grackle Talks that is an accessibility checker for Google Docs.  It helps users check their documents for typical accessibility issue and assist them in correcting them.  It can also generate tagged PDF output from the Google Doc as well.  This is a helpful tool for Google Users!  The Add-On can be found on the Add-On store.  Here is a link to the Add-On.


-----Original Message-----
From: NOBE-L [mailto:nobe-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Geogie via NOBE-L
Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 12:10 AM
To: 'National Organization of Blind Educators Mailing List' <nobe-l at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Geogie <sydnorhg at gmail.com>; 'David Andrews' <dandrews at visi.com>
Subject: Re: [nobe-l] accessibility of Google products

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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