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Exclusive: Google’s new plan to help designers make more accessible products

Exclusive: Google’s new plan to help designers make more accessible products
[Photo: courtesy of Google]

Google wants to help online creators make a more inclusive internet, one that is accessible to the billion-plus people in the world who have some form of disability.

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To mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Google is launching a new resource center to help creators, marketers, and designers build more inclusive products and designs that address the needs of users with various kinds of disabilities. For instance, there internet users who navigate the web without sight or hearing, and those who use shortcut commands like ctrl + alt + delete with one hand or no hands at all. There are people trying to use Google products with impairments and disabilities that most people are privileged enough not to even know about.

However, designers, developers, and business owners who want to make their products more accessible may feel overwhelmed by the task. That’s where Google’s new resource center comes in.

Now online creators, such as designers and UX engineers, can download the Google Primer app, and search “accessibility” to find five-minute lessons that help them better understand accessibility. The app will also teach interested parties practical tips to start making businesses, products, and designs more accessible—like key design principles for building a more accessible website.

If you don’t think your audience cares or needs to know about accessibility, keep in mind that when you make something more accessible, you can improve things for everyone. For instance, closed captions started out as a way to make movies and TV shows accessible to viewers with hearing impairments, but they are also great for anyone stuck trying to understand plot points in The Americans while sitting in a crowded room.

That’s part of why Google makes accessibility a core element of every product they design—it’s just good business sense. “Building products that don’t consider a diverse range of needs could mean missing a substantial group of potential users and customers,” Google said in a statement.

Visit the Google Accessibility page and the Android Developers site for free tools that can help you make your site or app more accessible for more people.

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