Tech giant Google has beefed up its Google Primer app with lessons on making your app or website more accessible to disabled users. The new lessons include things running the gamut from basic user interface and website design to marketing campaigns and assistive technologies. All of these lessons are available for free, and are designed to teach business owners, developers, and website owners how to cater to a wide range of disabled audiences in the simplest way possible. The teachings actually tie into Google's other accessibility teaching resources, which are available on the Google Accessibility page and the Android Developers website.
According to Google, a great number of apps, services, and websites actually lose customers because their services aren't designed with accessibility tools and disabled users in mind. If a disabled user can't actually engage with your content, they'll almost certainly leave the site and lose you ad revenue, or decide against making a purchase. Thankfully, many of the ways to cater to these audiences can be pretty simple. As an example, a site with an intro video that guides users into the actual content may not have subtitles enabled by default. This alienates deaf users, as well as users who aren't disabled but may be in a public place that's either crowded or extremely quiet. On the flip side, having text formatted in a way that trips up screen readers or having navigation buttons and sections that are unintuitive and hard for a blind use utility to find will alienate blind or low-vision users, and could also work against users who are trying to access your content in a hands-free or eyes-free manner, such as by using Google Assistant while driving. The new lessons in Google Primer, along with the related resources in the Google Accessibility page and the Android Developers website, go over a variety of common pitfalls like this and how to correct and avoid them.
Google has been pushing for accessibility in its services for some time, and has made major changes to certain parts of its product line over the years to accommodate disabled users. One of the more major examples in recent memory is the Android setup screen when powering on a new or freshly wiped device; prior to Android 7.0 Nougat, low-vision users would need help to set everything up and get their device going. From Nougat onward, however, accessibility is put first, allowing disabled users to choose the size of display elements to fit their vision. Presumably, there will be more moves like that, and like the one being announced today, that make Google's product line accessible and useful to as many people worldwide as possible.