Google’s Latest Accessibility Feature Is So Good, Everyone Will Use It | Co.Design | business + design

Google’s Latest Accessibility Feature Is So Good, Everyone Will Use It

Though it was developed for users with severe motor impairment, Voice Access could revolutionize how anyone uses their phone.

Announced this week at I/O 2016 as something that will ship with Android N, Voice Access is a way for people with severe motor impairment to control every aspect of their phones using their voices. But once you see it in action, the broader impact of Voice Access is immediately obvious.


Here’s how it works. When Voice Access is installed, you can enable it with Android’s “Okay Google” command by just saying: “Okay Google, turn on Voice Access.” Once it’s on, it’s always listening—and you don’t have to use the Okay Google command anymore. With Voice Access, all of the UI elements that are normally tap targets are overlaid by a series of numbers. You can tell Voice Access to “tap” these targets by saying the corresponding number aloud.

But these numbers are actually meant to serve as a backup method of control: You can also just tell Voice Assistant what you want to do. For example, you could ask it to “open camera,” and then tell it to “tap shutter.” Best of all? Any app should work with Voice Access, as long as it’s already following Google’s accessibility guidelines.

Technically, Voice Access builds upon two things that Google’s been laying the groundwork on for a while now. The first is natural language processing, which allows Google Assistant to understand your voice.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
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