In July, I attended the annual conference held by the American Council of the Blind (ACB). I was struck by something I heard from people there: their experience using the web was very different from mine not because they were blind, but because the technology and web tools available to them were unlike the ones available to me, as a sighted person. While the Internet provides many benefits to modern society, it has also created a unique set of challenges for blind and low-vision users who rely on assistive technologies to use the web. We’re committed to making Google’s products more accessible, and we believe the best way to understand the accessibility needs of our users is to listen to them.
This week, we’re announcing a survey that will help us better understand computer usage and assistive technology patterns in the blind community. Over the past three months, we’ve worked closely with the ACB to develop a survey that would give us a greater understanding of how people choose and learn about the assistive technologies they use. This survey will help us design products and tools that interact more effectively with assistive technologies currently available to the blind community, as well as improve our ability to educate users about new features in our own assistive technologies, such as ChromeVox and TalkBack.
The survey will be available through mid-September on the ACB's website and by phone. We encourage anyone with a visual impairment who relies on assistive technologies to participate; your input will help us offer products that can better suit your needs. For details, visit www.acb.org/googlesurvey.