Google announces Action Blocks, a new accessibility tool for creating mobile shortcuts

The Google Today announced Action Blocks, a new arrival tool that allows you to create common multi-step task shortcuts with the help of Google Assistant. In this regard, Action Blocks are no different from shortcuts on iOS, for example, but Google specifically views this as an accessibility feature for people with cognitive disabilities.

“If you booked rideshare using your phone recently, you will likely have to go through several steps: open your phone, find the right application, move between screens, select the appropriate options, and enter your address in the input box,” writes the software accessibility engineer to Google Ajit Narayanan. . “At every step, the app assumes that you are able to read and write, find things by trial and error, remember your choices, and focus for a sustainable time period.”

Research by Google shows that 80% of people with severe cognitive disabilities, such as advanced dementia, autism or Down syndrome, do not use smartphones, partly due to these barriers.

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Game blocks are basically a sequence of commands for Google Assistant, so whatever the assistant can do can be written using this new tool, regardless of whether that initiates a call or plays a TV program. Once you set up an Action Block, you can create a shortcut with a custom image on the home screen of your phone.

Currently, the only way to access Action Blocks is to join the Google Trusted Tester program. It is not clear when this will be presented to a wider audience. When you do that, I’m sure a variety of users will want to use this feature.

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