Assistive Technologies for Google Apps


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Recommended Assistive Technologies for Google Apps

Google reports the most success using the following combinations when using assistive technology with Google Apps:

Operating systemScreen ReaderBrowser

Microsoft Windows

NVDA

Firefox

Mac

VoiceOver

Google Chrome

Chrome OS

 

Google Chrome

Google Apps consists of many products with different levels of accessibility. Please keep in mind that not all features in Google Apps are fully accessible when creating your assignments. For example, there is no <alt> option for images in Google Docs. Find more detailed information at Google's Accessibility site. In addition, please consider using the following Alternatives to Google Apps when creating course materials or assignments.

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Alternatives to Google Apps

Before sharing content, collaborating, or creating assignments that require the use of Google Apps, please remember that some users with disabilities may have difficulty accessing content in a particular format. While Google is making improvements to the accessibility of their products, some students may have difficulty accessing materials in Google Apps.  This list of alternatives to Google App Products may help make your course materials more accessible.

Google AppAlternativesNotes

Gmail

Outlook, Apple Mail

 

Gmail can be configured to work with mail clients like Outlook and Apple Mail.

Google Calendar

Outlook, Apple Calendar

Google Calendar can be configured to work with mail or calendar clients like Outlook and Apple Calendar.

Google Hangouts

Skype

Google Hangouts functions well with many assistive tools. The biggest potential barrier will be for deaf and hard of hearing users. For those individuals, Hangout participants should use the chat feature to type everything that is said. Alternatively, a sign language interpreter can be included as one of the Hangout participants, and Google provides the Sign Language Interpreter App Plugin to facilitate this.

Google Drive

Email attachments, Canvas Files, website hosting

Google Drive works well with many assistive tools, and it's unlikely that users will encounter access barriers to downloading, uploading, and sharing documents. However, for individuals who may experience issues with Google Drive, traditional file sharing tools can be used. For example, documents can be hosted for download in your Canvas course space under files, emailed as attachments, or hosted for download on a website or in Box.

Google Docs

Microsoft Word

Content in Google Docs can be copy/pasted into Microsoft Word, and Word documents can be uploaded to Google Drive. Docs can also be downloaded directly from Google Drive as Word files.

Google Sheets

Microsoft Excel

Content in Google Sheets can be copy/pasted into Microsoft Excel, and Excel documents can be uploaded to Google Drive. Sheets can also be downloaded directly from Drive as Excel files.

Google Slides

Microsoft PowerPoint

Content in Google Slides can be copy/pasted into Microsoft PowerPoint, and PowerPoint documents can be uploaded to Google Drive. Slides can also be downloaded directly from Drive into as PowerPoint files.

Google Sites

Blog, web authoring tools

Overall, the site building tools in Google Sites are not conducive for building accessible websites. In many cases, it's better to avoid the site building tools and use the HTML editor in Google Sites to create content. Even still, there are some technical limitations that prevent creating a fully accessible website (most notably for data tables). Alternatively, you can set up a UMD WordPress blog as your website.

*Credit to Texas A&M University for this information.

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