- Google is releasing a brand new app referred to as Motion Blocks that allows you to create shortcuts to particular duties that seem as tiles on the house display screen.
- The app was designed to make it simpler for these with cognitive disabilities to carry out duties like listening to music or making a cellphone name, however anybody can use it.
- It is the most recent instance of how giant tech corporations like Google are making accessibility a much bigger focus when creating merchandise.
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Google is releasing a brand new app that can make it simpler to carry out duties in your cellphone that often take a number of faucets or swipes — like making a video name — with only a single press.
The brand new app, referred to as Motion Blocks, was designed to make it simpler for these with cognitive disabilities to carry out capabilities like listening to music or making a cellphone name. The free app is offered instantly for Android units by means of Google’s Play Retailer. The app was in testing final yr, however Google is solely now releasing it publicly.
As its title implies, the app lets you create a shortcut within the type of a “block” for a chosen motion that lives in your cellphone’s dwelling display screen. Urgent an motion block may substitute the method of opening an app, discovering the contact you need to communicate with, and tapping the decision button, for instance. Or opening a music app and discovering the playlist you need to hear.
These buttons may also be custom-made with photographs in order that it is easy to inform precisely what they do at only a look. An motion block for video calling your partner with only a faucet, for instance, may need a photograph with their face on it. The app features a checklist of actions to select from, reminiscent of making a name, getting instructions to a sure place, and turning the good home-enabled lights on and off, amongst different duties.
When creating a brand new motion block, you may also give the button a nickname that is totally different from the particular command. For instance, an motion block that turns off the lights in your kid’s bed room might seem as a button referred to as “Bedtime” on the house display screen.
Though the app was designed to serve these with cognitive disabilities, anybody with an Android cellphone operating Android 5.zero and better can use it.
The launch of Motion Blocks comes as Google and different main tech corporations have been focusing extra on designing merchandise with accessibility in thoughts in recent times.
At Google’s annual I/O convention in 2019, for instance, it unveiled Stay Caption, which offers captioning for movies and podcasts. It additionally introduced Undertaking Euphonia, an initiative that it is partnered with the ALS Remedy Improvement Institute and ALS Residence Initiative to assist Google’s voice-activated expertise higher perceive folks residing with the illness.
Google can also be asserting a slew of different accessibility-related updates on Thursday, reminiscent of new settings for Google Maps that make it simpler to see wheelchair accessible locations and new options for its speech-to-text service Stay Transcribe.
Apple has additionally added a brand new accessibility-oriented function to the iPhone with iOS 13 that allows you to management your iPhone totally along with your voice, whereas Microsoft has quite a lot of accessibility instruments baked into Home windows that make the software program simpler to make use of for folks with imaginative and prescient and listening to impairments.
Nonetheless, regardless of current advances, there’s nonetheless extra to be executed. Firms could possibly be doing extra to assist builders create accessible apps and applications, for instance, as Jennison Asuncion, head of accessibility engineering at LinkedIn, instructed CNET final yr.