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Tech Talk

Now available. The Android Braille Keyboard Recently, Google added to its Android mobile operating system a powerful accessibility tool that can be used systemwide: the braille keyboard. The feature, Android’s answer to iOS Braille Screen Input, is accessible via the TalkBack screen reader that is built in to the operating system, and allows users to put their braille skills to use in efficiently entering passcodes, composing messages, and completing forms. No longer is a third-party application needed to supplement the accessibility feature, and the addition comes along with a number of other accessibility improvements we’ll explore in future bulletins.

Zoom, Google Meet – Accessible with Screen Readers?

Many meeting platforms provide a simple way to join over the phone, both traditionally and with so-called one-tap mobile links. One-tap links are formatted so that they include the PIN needed to join the meeting; they eliminate the need to enter the PIN and can facilitate and expedite the process of joining a call.

It felt like Zoom did a takeover in the last year as it became the chosen platform for meetings for many businesses and organizations and many private and public universities. Luckily, Zoom is accessible to users of screen readers, and it includes a number of useful keyboard shortcuts. There are accessible mobile apps, and Zoom is screen-reader friendly via app or desktop. Meetings can be joined by phone. If you join by phone, two features available on video are available to you: raising and lowering your hand and muting and unmuting yourself. Hit star 6 on your phone’s keypad for the mute button and star 9 for raising or lowering your hand. Link to Zoom Here.

Another popular meeting platform is Google Meet, Google’s online meeting platform for business and organizations. Google Meet, in contrast to Google Hangouts (which we’ll discuss next week), includes a number of features important for online presentations and meeting security. The online interface is free to use until the end of September here. There are useful keyboard shortcuts to control the camera and microphone, and there is even a command to announce the current speaker. Learn more here; note you must scroll down to the section on Google Meet, as this is a list of important shortcuts for the G Suite as a whole.

Send questions concerning the accessibility of the platforms with JAWS, contact [email protected]. Send questions concerning the accessibility of the platforms using NVDA, contact [email protected]. Next week, we will explore more platforms and describe how to host your own meetings on all of them.