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To celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), Google is making some significant changes to Play Store to make the place more accessible for people with disability.
Play Store will have an additional label that will make some of its 3.4 million applications accessible for people with disabilities. The label will be in the form of accessibility (a11y) tags, which will appear as chips under the “About this app” section of an application. These tags also categorize the apps based on the accessibility features they have. There are seven categories for them: Screen Reader-friendly, Visual Assistance, Hearing Assistance, Learning Disability, Motor Assistance, and Accessible Communication.
A single app can have multiple chips at once, depending on the accessibility features it offers. For instance, the Android Accessibility Suite App has Motor Assistance, Visual Assitance, and Learning Disability chips. If you tap one of these chips, the page will bring you to a specific tag category.
The accessibility tag categories have different offers now, but Google says it has only “tagged a sample of the apps,” so not everything on the Play Store will have the chips. Nonetheless, Google promises to bring this new label to more apps in the future. When that happens, this will benefit people with disabilities in easily identifying applications that cater to their needs. But beyond that, it will also help regular individuals who like to use and have some accessibility features in the apps they are using. Even more, it would save Play Store users from having to completely install an app just to verify if it really has the accessibility features they want.
Google is just one of the big tech companies that started implementing new accessibility features in their products and offerings to celebrate the GAAD. Netflix recently announced that it is expanding the availability of its audio descriptions and subtitles across its show and movie offerings. Microsoft also joined by rounding up some of its new products for people with disability and the steps it is taking to make technology more accessible for them. It includes the anticipated arrival of its Adaptive Accessories line this fall of 2022 and the launch of the Neurodiversity Career Connector site for neurodivergent job-seeking individuals.