Google has released new features to its accessibility suite, namely Google Action Blocks. It is equivalent to making a macro for everyday or repetitive tasks. Using Action Blocks, anybody can create big bulky buttons for specific tasks such as calling or video calling someone, texting someone, playing an audio or video, creating a reminder, opening maps, calendar etc. The idea behind the release is these buttons are much easier for people with some form of cognitive disability use, rather than interacting with their voice or text.
Built with the growing number of people with age-related conditions and cognitive differences in mind, Action Blocks can also be used for people with learning differences, or even for adults who want a very simple way to access routine actions on their phones. Set it up for your family, friends, or for yourself.
Key Highlights: New Google Action Blocks Accessibility Features
Action Blocks may also be useful for anyone who could benefit from an easier way to perform routine actions on their device, including individuals with dementia, aphasia, autism, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, Down syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dexterity impairments, or other conditions. People who use adaptive switches, Switch Access, or Voice Access may also benefit.
Here is a more comprehensive list of chores possible with the help of this app
- Start a call
- Start a video call
- Send text
- Play music and, video
- Open calendar
- Set Alarm
- Open an app
- Open Maps and get directions
- Home control actions like set temperature, switch on and off the lights
- Create a custom action
Google has also created accessibility features in the recent past like Live Caption and Live Transcribe. Live Caption automatically captions videos and spoken audio on your device in real-time and completely on-device in a single tap or click, and so it doesn’t need cellular data or Wi-Fi, and the captions always stay private and never leave the device.
Live Transcribe is an application that automatically transcribes the speech in real-time, allowing you to communicate in situations where it is difficult or not possible to do so.
Coming back to Action Blocks, after it’s installation from Google Play Store, follow the below steps for easily setting up a task. Remember, it uses Google Assistant, so it can type the words too with your voice.
Steps to use New Google Action Blocks Accessibility Features
- Open the Action Block app
- Click on ‘Create Action Block’ highlighted in blue
- Select an action from the list provided by the app, for explanatory purposes we are choosing ‘Make phone call’ task
- In the next screen after choosing the task, rename the task
- Test the task assigned and click next
- In the next screen, you can choose the image and name of the icon by which it appears on the home screen
- Google will create a special widget for you to be placed on your home screen of the phone
- If you want to delete this task, simply open the Action Blocks app, click on that task icon, select delete from the drop-down list and that task is now deleted