New Accessibility for Google and Apple Users

Both Apple and Google have started promoting some new tools to make their phones, and Google Maps, more accessible to Disabled people.

Title: Google sign - Description: Photo of the space outside of one of Google's buildings, with a large sign letting people know that Google is based there.

Google: For neuro-diverse people and those with learning difficulties
Image by: Thinkstock

Google is introducing new features to make it easier for neuro-diverse people and those with learning difficulties to use a smart phone.  

This new app for Android phones, tablets and laptops, called “Action Blocks”, is designed to make common smartphone tasks — like calling mum or turning the lights off — quicker and easier.  It was announced on World Accessibility Awareness Day, but they didn’t say when you will be able to buy it.

Every day, people use their phones for regular tasks—whether it’s video calling family, checking the weather or reading the news. Usually, these activities involve several steps e.g. you might have to scroll to find your video chat app, tap to open it and then type in the name of the contact you’re looking for.

With the new app, you can create a one-touch button, on your home screen, to complete actions that usually need you to go through several steps.  So, you can get your phone set up to let you do things like making calls, sending texts, playing videos and controlling devices in your home, with just one click

Why not give it a try, when is it available to buy, and let us know what you think.

Apple: For Everyone who uses one of their Accessibility Apps

Title: Apple sign 

 Description: A photo of an Apple shop front, above the door, where they always have the apple logo of an apple with a small part missing on the right-hand side..
(Image by: Laurenz Heymann/Unsplash)

Apple said that it is introducing a dedicated support team to address accessibility questions as well as a new support site and how-to videos focused on using accessibility features.

The company is also now offering one-on-one virtual coaching sessions for Disabled students and their teachers who are engaged in remote learning.

The developments, which build on existing accessibility features within Apple products, come as social opportunities and education have largely moved online due to coronavirus concerns, the company said.

Apple said it is also promoting a collection of apps designed to address communication, fitness, gaming and other interests for Disabled people in its App Store. 

The specialised customer support for Disabled people can be accessed through Apple Care by phone, online and through chat.

 

 

 

Google: For All Disabled People

Separately, Google also said that Google Maps will have an option called “Accessible Places.”  When they click on this option, users see a wheelchair icon clearly showing if the place they are looking up has an accessible entrance.

As well as details about entrances, Google Maps will also have information about whether a place has accessible seating, toilets or parking.  Google Maps will also let you know if it has confirmed that a business or other venue doesn’t have an accessible entrance.

“With the introduction of this feature, it’s easier to find and provide wheelchair accessibility information to Google Maps.  That benefits everyone, from those of us using wheelchairs and parents pushing strollers to older adults with tired legs and people who have heavy items with them,”

wrote Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, a software engineer with Google Maps, in an article about the new development.  

“And in this time of COVID-19, it’s especially important to know before you go so that you won’t be stranded outside that pharmacy, grocery or restaurant.”

Google said that, so far, it has accessibility information for more than 15 million places around the world, a figure that has doubled since 2017.

Google has also said it is improving Live Transcribe, an app that provides real-time transcription for conversations, and Sound Amplifier, which makes the sounds around you clearer.

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