ChromeVox Screen Reader for Chrome OS

Google at last week's Google I/O unveiled ChromeVox -- a built-in screen reader for Chrome OS."ChromeVox is built as a Chrome extension -- this means that unlike most accessibility software, it's built using only web technologies like HTML5, CSS and Javascript. As the built-in accessibility solution for Chrome OS, it can help users with special […]

Google at last week's Google I/O unveiled ChromeVox -- a built-in screen reader for Chrome OS.

"ChromeVox is built as a Chrome extension -- this means that unlike most accessibility software, it's built using only web technologies like HTML5, CSS and Javascript. As the built-in accessibility solution for Chrome OS, it can help users with special needs access modern web apps, including those that utilize W3C ARIA (Access to Rich Internet Applications) to provide a rich, desktop-like experience," revealed Google.

"ChromeVox also comes with an interactive online tutorial that demonstrates how users of spoken feedback interact with webpages. Examples range from static content to interactive applications. You can test these same navigation techniques within your own apps to quickly verify users can reach all portions of your app using the keyboard and obtain meaningful feedback. You can then annotate your app with the necessary ARIA properties and other accessibility enhancements to ensure that blind and visually impaired users gain complete access to your app."

"ChromeVox leverages two of Chrome's experimental extension APIs, the experimental.tts API for cross-platform text-to-speech, and the experimental.accessibility API that lets an extension listen for accessibility events in Chrome's menus and toolbars. In turn, ChromeVox exposes a simple screen reader API to web developers who wish to further customize the ChromeVox user experience," Google said.

Thus, within your application, you can:

  • Automatically generate spoken messages and earcons.
  • Set ChromeVox to synchronize with your application's current focus.

Details on enabling accessibility in Chrome OS can be found on the Accessibility help page, and the Chrome extension is available for download from Wiki page.

[Source: Chromium blog]