Google+ Hangouts has a new “handicap accessible” engineer in Mohamed Mansour, a programmer who recently realized how hard it could be for blind people to use Google+ Hangouts when he was attempting to communication over the popular platform with a blind war veteran.
In a blog post Mansour wrote:
“Today I was in a hangout, where I met a blind war veteran. It was really inspiring to see him use such technology. But it was really hard for him to use it since it wasn’t accessible friendly. I was writing on the chat on the left, and it was really difficult for him to read the text. I am really into Accessibility, and I worked on it a lot in Chromium in the past, and I really wanted to help him.
So I told Tim, “what if the chat spoke to you?” Tim said, “that would be awesome”. When I saw the big smile on his face, I had to do it! So I created this extension for Chrome! “
The new extension is known as Accessible Hangouts and can be downloaded for free from Google Chrome browsers.
By providing text-to-speech not only can names and messages be read aloud as they are typed into the programs chat box, but it can also allow blind users to know who is entering and exiting the hangout platform.
Currently available as a third-party extension, Mansour is hoping that Google will soon integrate the feature into Hangouts so it becomes accessible to the general public.
Here’s a a demo video of Accessible Hangouts in action:
[iframe src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/ZNh2C66SJGM” width=”480″ height=”360″]
Are you impressed with Mohamed Mansour’s accessibility option for Google+ Hangouts users?