There’s no doubt Google Now is really smart, but it’s also rather limited when it comes to interacting with other apps and the content on your Android device.
Sure, it can perform searches, set up alarms, take notes, open apps, and other basic tasks of the like. But once you’ve moved away from the search app, you’re on your own.
When you’re using the smartphone with perfect mobility, that’s not a problem, but users with physical disabilities might disagree. That’s why Google has announced it was beta testing for a Voice Access app that allows users to navigate other apps using only their voice.
While voice control is not exactly a new idea – the concept and the capability has been incorporated on desktops for years – it is new to smartphones. This accessibility feature has been less visible on Android, but Google is working to improve that.
Details about Voice Access are still on the hush hush, but its very brief description paints the picture you’ve imagined. When opening an app, you can simply have the app respond appropriately to your voice commands like “Scroll Down” or “Go Home.”
Each item on the screen has been assigned a number so users can simply say the number to mimic a tap on the desired command. Voice Access has already closed registrations for its limited open beta version because the quota was met in just a few hours.
While most users wouldn’t find Voice Access groundbreaking, the new accessibility feature is one of Google’s finest, allowing users with disabilities to make the most of their Android devices.
While Android will be equipped with even more features for people with disabilities, there are some that go deep into the system level. In other words, app developers need to be aware that their designs may not score very high on the accessibility scale.
To prevent that, Google created the Accessibility Scanner that assists developers by testing their apps against some accessibility requirements. If the app’s score is low in some areas, the scanner can even offer suggestions on how to fix the problems or how to improve so more users can enjoy the app.
While the majority of the population can use technology with no problems, people with physical handicaps should not have to miss out – especially when these very technologies could be tweaked to help improve their quality of life.
So kudos to Google for developing this aspect of Android!
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