Historic event: Google expands “accessibility” to include cognitive disability

I’ve never seen anything like this from Microsoft, Apple, or Google — until today …

Action Blocks: one tap to make technology more accessible

we’ve been experimenting with how the Assistant and Android can work together to reduce the complexity of these tasks for people with cognitive disabilities…

… Googler Lorenzo Caggioni used the Assistant to build a device called DIVA for his brother Giovanni, who is legally blind, deaf and has Down Syndrome. DIVA makes people with disabilities more autonomous, helping them interact with the Assistant in a nonverbal way. With DIVA, Giovanni can watch his favorite shows and listen to his music on his own. ..

… Action Blocks is the first of our many efforts to empower people with cognitive disabilities, help them gain independence, connect with loved ones and engage in the world as they are. 

The product is still in the testing phase, and if you’re the caregiver or family member of someone with a cognitive disability that could benefit, please join our trusted tester program. Follow us @googleaccess to learn more.

I’ve been making noises for years that smartphone accessibility should go beyond hearing and vision to cognitive disabilities. The silence has been complete. I thought action would require litigation or regulation.

I’m so pleased Google is taking this step. They went first. Nobody can take that one away! I am disappointed that Apple has done nothing. Maybe Google’s lead will move them. I have many many ideas Apple is free to use.

My book project is about iPhones, not Android phones, but if we were using Android phones I’d sign up for that tester program.

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