Google Chromebook – Is it accessible?

Mark from our Digital Enablement Team recently put together a guide on how to use Google Chromebook if you are living with sight loss. In this blog he also shares tips and what Henshaws are doing to support the Greater Manchester Digital Taskforce.
Read what he had to say below.

Chromebook with Henshaws user sat behind it

COVID-19 has pushed many more people to get online or to use the internet in new ways than ever before. But it has also further highlighted and deepened the divide between the digital haves and have nots.

Many activities, information and services have moved exclusively online without offering offline alternatives or with offline alternatives being limited or restricted.

Henshaws have been delivering technology solutions for decades. In the beginning we had Windows, linked to a third-party piece of software, to ensure visually impaired people can access the Personal Computer (PC), now we have lots of commercial giants like Microsoft, Apple, Android and Google, just to name a few.

In Greater Manchester we have the Greater Manchester Digital Inclusion Taskforce, and I’m proud to say that Henshaws, are counted within its ranks. The Task Force, has a bold ambition to make Greater Manchester a 100% digitally-enabled city region. To deliver this ambition the Greater Manchester Digital Inclusion Taskforce was set up, bringing together our digital ecosystem of industry, Voluntary and Community Sector, public sector partners, local  government, schools and health to work together to fix the digital divide across Greater Manchester. The main aim is to increase the communities digital skills through training and support, increased access to organisations, spaces, devices, connectivity and data.

As part of our commitment to sharing good practice and digital inclusion we were approached by Trafford Libraries to look at the Google Chromebook. They asked if we could support their staff with the accessibility features for somebody living with sight loss. The council had recently introduced a loan scheme and they wanted to be in a better position to help somebody that was partially or severely sight impaired. To be honest, I been asked by lots of our VIP’s (visually impaired people) recently if the Chromebook is worth buying, and if it is accessible? The reason for Chromebook interest is… they are very affordable!

The short answer is, yes, the Chromebook does have very good accessibility features and is a cost-effective solution.
In my opinion, it’s not as intuitive as other platforms, such as Apple, but some versions of Chromebook are more cost effective.

Chromebook doesn’t necessarily provide the array of software found on MacOS and Windows and lots of Google solutions are web based.

Chromebook with Keyboard area in view

Top Tip: I would recommend you have a hard think about what applications you need, and ask the retailer if these solutions come free or need to be paid for separately. The cost of your Chromebook could easily creep up once you start purchasing essentials from their Play Store.

We have created a couple of guides that highlights the Accessibility features for somebody that is partially or severely sight impaired.

Download Chromebook guides

If you would like information about our Digital Enablement Team, please call 0300 222 5555 or email info@henshaws.org.uk

You can also access our Knowledge Village to learn about other solutions for maintaining your independence if you are visually impaired.

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charlotte.brown
Charlotte is the Marketing Manager for the Knowledge Village.