Did you know ? May 21 was Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) or World Accessibility Awareness Day, an awareness day on the accessibility of digital devices for people with disabilities. And to mark it, Google announced a series of new accessibility features on its ecosystem.
A new application for easy access to Android features
Google has just launched a new application called Action Block on Android. Available on Play Store, it is compatible with devices running Android 5.0 or newer. Action Block was created to help people with cognitive impairments or age-related cognitive impairment to perform tasks more easily on their smartphones. Indeed, some actions that may seem simple to us on our smartphones are not for these people. And to help them, Google’s new app allows you to create maps that are shortcuts to actions on the operating system. As you can see in the animation below, a map can for example be a shortcut to quick contact, to launch the camera and take a selfie, etc.
Updates for Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier
The Live Transcribe and Sound Amplifier apps were created by Google to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Live Transcribe transcribes conversations so that the user can read and respond to these transcripts. This application now has a feature that emits vibrations when the user name is spoken. It is also possible to add words that are not in the dictionary and the application offers a 3-day archive which allows the user to review the transcripts of previous conversations. Google is also announcing support for new languages.
As for Sound Amplifier, it is an application that captures sound with the microphone of the smartphone, in order to optimize it for the hearing impaired user. For World Accessibility Awareness Day, Google announced that this app now supports Bluetooth headsets. In addition, the user can also use the Sound Amplifier to optimize the sound from an audio source such as a television (by placing the smartphone near the television and listening with a Bluetooth wireless headset).
On Google Maps, places accessible by wheelchair can be highlighted
If Google Maps already made it possible to know if a place is wheelchair accessible, a new functionality of the navigation application will make it possible to highlight these places. Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, developer at Google, explains that when this feature is enabled, "A wheelchair icon will indicate an accessible entrance and you can see if a place has accessible seats, toilets or parking. If it is confirmed that a place does not have an accessible entrance, we will also display this information on Maps. "