iOS User Experience of Google Accessibility

iOS and iPadOS

Overall, I have found the iOS Google apps to be very accessible/usable with VoiceOver. For example:
Google+, Snapseed, Photos, Google My Business, Inbox, Chrome, Hangouts, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Search app, Play Books, etc.

It would be great to have a discussion and have input from others:
who have Googlefied their iOS experience and
how you find the VoiceOver accessibility of Google apps works for you?




Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, December 5, 2015

The last time I used google plus it didn't work at all. Google drive works sort of and google photos sucks. Google mail works but there is no way to find the mark as not spam button as that seems to disappear at times. It's odd. Over all google is good but it could b e a lot better.

@KE7ZUM Thanks for sharing your experience with 4 Google iOS apps!
Have you tried the new Google+ version 5.0.x that was released a couple of weeks ago? It was redesigned with great accessibility throughout.
Inbox by Gmail is a great accessibility productive and fun way to Gmail with its custom actions, bundles, and suggested reply.

Please try these 2 new apps and share your experience... Could you please share more details on what is not working well with VoiceOver and Drive/Photos?

Submitted by OldBear on Sunday, December 6, 2015

In Docs, I have difficulty navigating with a bluetooth keyboard, so have to use up and down flicks on the touch screen when editing. In other words, I can't find a way to use the keyboard to move word by word or character by character., etc.
It also seems like I've come across unlabeled buttons in some of the apps; either Drive or Docs or both.
I only use IOS 9.1 on an iPhone. Those are the first issues that come to mind. I tried to clarify that a little with edits, so hope it makes sense.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Sunday, December 6, 2015

In reply to by OldBear

Have you tried using keyboard quick-nav and VoiceOver rotor to navigate by words/character? Press left and right arrows together until you hear quick-nav on, then right and up arrows until words/chars, and up or down arrows for previous.
Could you please share steps to reproduce for these unlabeled buttons in Drive/Docs?

I was mistaken about the buttons, sorry.
When I use keyboard quick-nav it only reads the screen elements, such as the bold and italic buttons if the rotor is set to words, outside the edit field containing my document, but not the words or characters of my document.
With quick-nav off the up and down arrows will move and read lines, but the left and right arrows will not read characters. It may be moving by character, but it isn't speaking just making a sound. Edit fields in most other apps seem to move by character with left and right arrows and also speak those characters.
I have to flick up and down on the screen to move around in the document, instead.

I just thought of something, I might not be getting into the edit field correctly when I'm using the keyboard because I was having to activate it by tapping on the screen. Maybe I'm not hitting the up and down arrows together well enough. I'll play with it again in a little while.

Thanks for sharing more details for this productivity/usability bug with Docs an external keyboard not reporting word/character when using left/right arrow.
It will be interesting to see if this happens with selecting text when holding shift with left/right arrows.

Submitted by Betsy on Sunday, December 6, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

I loved Google Drive until recently. Its very different now. I'm finding it difficult to use with Voiceover. But I don't know if it is no longer fully compatible with Voiceover or if there are things I need to learn to do. I so wish apps and operating systems did not continually change.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Sunday, December 6, 2015

In reply to by Betsy

Could you please share more details on tasks you are finding difficult with VoiceOver? Maybe, we could provide helpful tips.

I've looked at it again and I am having trouble activating quick-nav with a single push of the left and right arrow. It says quick-nav off when I push it, and it does this a few times before finally saying quick-nav on. This is probably a bug with the Zagg keyboard or IOS. I was focused on trying to write and didn't notice it at first. This was causing me to go outside of the edit field, into the buttons.
It would be nice to be able to navigate (quick-nav off) with the left and right arrow keys by character in edit mode with speech feedback, instead of having to switch back and forth between quick-nav off and onn, though.
Thank you.

Agreed that left/right arrow keys should just "work" in Docs edit mode to navigate/speak characters/words. Since you mentioned that flicking up/down works, I was curious if quick-nav did same.
I did a search in AppleVis and this seems to be confirmed by others when using Bluetooth Braille display/keyboard.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Sunday, December 6, 2015

The app I deal with the most is Youtube, which I use almost daily. I wouldn't say I'm the biggest fan of the layout, but I don't have any problems with the accessibility of the app - you can actually seek around videos which is not accessible on the Android version. I have also used hangouts recently and again the accessibility is outstanding to the point that if someone sends you a sticker, VoiceOver tells you what it is. I also use the google search app occasionally to do voice searches that Siri has problems with, and again that works quite well. Another app I used to use was Play music which, at least back then which was almost a year ago had no accessibility problems as well.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Sunday, December 6, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I've actually found myself still going to Google Voice Search more than Siri since it just gives me results Siri will not. Overall, my iOS experience with Google products is decent. What isn't decent is the terrible braille support on Android, which it feels like will never get addressed. If Google would ever get any of my business, this would have to change, as I'm primarily a braille user. But to bring it back to iOS, Inbox also seemed nice from when I looked at it, and Google Drive seemed usable the last time I used it. I have not tried Docs or any of the others.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Sunday, December 6, 2015

Thanks everyone who shared their iOS Google apps accessibility experience!
It seem the general impression is the VoiceOver user experience is good/decent. However, there is always room for improvement, so what are your thoughts of what Google can do so their iOS apps accessibility would be better/great for us?

Submitted by Chris on Sunday, December 6, 2015

In the Google search app, some buttons just say button. These buttons need to be labeled as I have no clue what they do.

Submitted by Maria Reyes on Monday, December 7, 2015

Two annoyances with Docs are:
When you share a doc then you have to touch around the screen to find the person you want to share that doc with, then when you double tap on that person's name, you have to feel around the screen until you find the share button. Also, when you are deleting something in a doc, all you get from VO is Selection deleted. I wish VO would tell me the letter or letters i'm deleting.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Let's sstop picking on Docs, pleas... :)
It'd be great to know all VoiceOver user experience with other iOS Google apps: the Play Books/Music, YouTube Main/Kids/Music/Gaming, Google+, Photos, Snapseed, Keep, Inbox, One Today, Hangouts, Chrome etc.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Is no news good news? Every iOS Google app Blind VoiceOver user is happy with their user experience! :)

Submitted by Bobcat on Saturday, January 2, 2016

I need to report a bug in the YouTube app but don't know where to send it. I hope they are responsive and not dismissive as I get discouraged when I submit bug reports and get no feedback or a form letter.
I hope Google has a good accessibility team that listens to us.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Saturday, January 16, 2016

This is your opportunity to provide feedback and identify issues or problems you are having with the accessibility of Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive. The goal of this quick survey is to identify pain points, feature requests for mobile, ratings on your current experience and a general comparisons of mobile vs. desktop.

The results of this poll will be compiled and shared with the Google Accessibility Team.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Most of the apps mentioned above have been updated with accessibility improvements.
One noteworthy one is: Google app — Search made just for mobile, Version 12.0, Feb 1, 2016.
All of the Now Cards are VoiceOver accessible in this update...

Submitted by Francisco crespo on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Since last releases of Google Maps for iPhone, I'm not able to get detailed walking directions when reading a route planed to be done with public transportation. As soon as I can do it again, would be great to get more information of interest to a blind person, such as cardinal directions
I was never able to see what my current location is from Google Maps, and tactile map exploration would be an other great feature to be aded.

Submitted by Scott Davert on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I think I'm not the only one who is wondering, what's going on with Crhome? Has this been addressed or will it be? I assume, given your recent posts, you are somehow now tied in more with Google.

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

YouTube, Version 11.03,, Feb 2, 2016
- Fixed Like/Dislike buttons bug with VoiceOver

Chrome - web browser by Google, Version 48.0.2564.104, Feb 8, 2016
• Fixes VoiceOver not working correctly

Submitted by kevinchao89 on Friday, April 1, 2016

Based on lack of activity on this forum - I assume the subject is true of the products and services discussed...
If not, please provide detailed specifics with repro steps.

Submitted by riyu12345 (not verified) on Friday, April 1, 2016

I am unable to play videos one after another when using the IOS app. I can when going to on firefox. Is there a way around this? i like the youtube app but i'd like it even more if I can just sit back and have videos play to me one after another.