We're counting down the top 10 biggest and most influential stories of 2014 on Blind Bargains. This year's panel included Jeff Bishop, J.J. Meddaugh, Jamie Pauls, Alena Roberts, and Joe Steinkamp. Next up, an entry from Google at number 9 which doesn't directly involve Android.
Google's latest Android release failed to make our top 10, namely because it's a rather underwhelming release, especially when it comes to accessibility. But another of Google's teams has been pumping out serious improvements to a product which is used on multiple operating systems.
A mere 18 months ago, Google Docs access was a joke to say the least. Perhaps a few features worked on the Chromebook, but you'll have to ask the three blind people who own them to let you know about that. It's frustrating to say the least to tell your colleagues that you can't collaborate with them on a document because the platform is inaccessible.
A lot has changed since that time, and it's evident the Docs team is taking user feedback into account. With each progressive release on iOS, Android, and the web, more features were honed and improved. The latest version of Docs for iOS uses the familiar rotor for text navigation. And web support now works with more screen readers including NVDA and Window-Eyes 9. There's still work to do, especially when it comes to braille on mobile devices, but Google is following through on the commitment and promises they made, at least when it comes to Docs. Now if only this attitude would spread companywide.
Google Docs is number 9 on our list for 2014. What will be next? Stay tuned to find out.
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.