Currently, the presence of a web browser on our computer has become essential to be able to access all the advantages that the Internet offers us. Among them, Chrome is the most used worldwide with a market share of around 70%. One of the keys to its success is its support for using various extensions that integrate perfectly and provide it with greater functionality.
In order to help people with problems, Google’s browser has its own accessibility features that can be improved through add-ons to maximize this section, in order to be more effective for certain types of users.
Accessibility options in Chrome
When we talk about accessibility we refer to functions that have been developed to improve the handling and display of web pages for people who have certain types of problems, by adapting certain parameters. In this way it is achieved that despite these deficiencies the use of the browser can become as practical as possible and without limitations.
To do this, the Google browser has its own accessibility section that we can access by clicking on the icon with three points that we find in the upper right. This opens a drop-down menu where we will select the “Settings” option. In the new screen, click on “Advanced settings” that we find in the left column and click on the “Accessibility” section.
Now on the right side of the screen we can see a series of functions that we can enable to help us improve interaction with the browser.
- Automatic subtitles : it allows us to create subtitles for audios and videos in English automatically.
- Subtitle Preference : Takes care of customizing the size, color, style, and transparency of the subtitles. We can also change the background of the legend, as well as dim the content of a window.
- Briefly highlights a selected object : when activated every time we click on an element in Chrome, it remains highlighted for a short period of time so that we know that we have already selected it.
- Scroll through pages with a text cursor : allows us to scroll through the different websites using the keyboard instead of the mouse or trackball.
Finally, it allows us to add more accessibility features by opening the Chrome Web Store and choosing from its wide catalog of extensions designed for it, and we’ll review some of the most important ones.
Color blind solutions
In the event that we suffer from problems derived from color blindness, we can use one of the following extensions:
Color enhancer, ideal for colorblind people
There are users who may have problems correctly displaying some web pages, especially if they have a very wide range of colors, in space if they are similar to each other, so it will be difficult for them to differentiate them. For them, this plugin allows them to partially change the colors of the web so that they can improve their visibility.
Once installed, we just have to click on its icon to be able to adjust the color perception automatically. It also has a Settings section from where you can select the row with the most blurred stars and adjust the color through a slider bar so that they are fully visible.
With these simple adjustments, the web will be much easier to navigate when we have problems with color vision. We can download this plugin for free .
High contrast, inverts color schemes
For those users who use Chrome and have certain vision problems, this extension can be of great help, since it will allow us to change or invert the color scheme of any website, making it much easier for us to read . This plugin makes colors invert , so black becomes white and vice versa, allowing you to customize your site settings. It even supports keyboard shortcuts to quickly change colors while browsing.
Beyond changing the default colors of a website, what the extension does is apply filters to the page to invert almost all the content except for the photos. Some built-in pages like “New Tab” or “Chrome Settings” are not affected and cannot be changed.
By installing this add -on and clicking on its icon, high contrast will be enabled, showing the color scheme for the website that we are viewing. By default the color is inverted, although we can choose to leave it in normal mode, with high contrast, in grayscale, inverted grayscale or yellow on black.
If our vision problems are related to dyslexia, these Chrome add-ons will help us:
Helperbird, complete all-in-one suite
It is an all-in-one complement with all kinds of tools with which to customize the website according to our needs. In this way we manage to improve both accessibility, reading, writing, studying and productivity. In case we have dyslexia problems , it has more than 14 types of fonts designed for reading on the web, as well as overlays, text to speech, dyslexia rules, etc.
This extension has other accessibility tools, from changing the size of the cursor, of the shortcuts, the reader mode to eliminate distractions, support for sign language, among other features.
Helperbird has a free version that we can install from the Chrome Web Store and that includes a good number of functions and features.
OpenDyslexic, increase the readability of dyslexics
This open source extension has been specially created to increase readability for readers with dyslexia. It does this by changing all the text on a website to a new font so that they can quickly identify the words on the page, making it easier to read.
To use OpenDyslexic once installed, we must click on the direct access that we find in the upper right part of the browser. This will open a floating window where we must click the switch on the right “Off” to transform the text of the web page.
In this way, the font adds a weight to the bottom of each character which makes each letter more easily distinguishable and more difficult to transpose. In addition, constant weighting also guides the reader’s eye as they move through passages on the page. We can install it for free by clicking on this link to the Google extensions page .
For those users who have problems with hearing loss, these extensions can be of great help:
Substital, subtitles for movies and series
This extension is responsible for adding subtitles to any video, movie or series of the most used streaming platforms. Whether for entertainment, language learning or accessibility for deaf or hard of hearing people. For this, it has an integrated search function from which to search for subtitles, allowing us to synchronize them manually through its slider in case they are not synchronized.
We can also change the subtitle font size, text color and background color. It offers compatibility with more than 90 languages, even those that have special characters such as Arabic or Greek. They even have a Telegram channel where you can ask questions and make suggestions.
We can install subsital for free from the Chrome store itself.
eLang, translate text and subtitles
This plugin takes care, once installed, of translating text and subtitles with video navigation. It fits perfectly on our desktop, offering translation features for subtitles. In this way, it can be of great help both for students and for people who have any type of hearing disability.
It allows you to navigate through the videos using its “repeat” and “repeat slowly” functions in the phrases. It also search through subtitles, pauses automatically and intelligently when we navigate in a video and can translate up to 28 languages.
If we want to use eLang, we can install it for free from this link to the Chrome website.
Other accessibility features
Next, we are going to see a series of extensions for Chrome that will also be in charge of adding accessibility functions when using the Google browser.
Text cursor navigation, mouse alternative
It is likely that when browsing the Internet we use an external mouse, the laptop’s trackball or even a stylus and our own fingers in case we have a touch screen. But with this extension we will also be able to navigate using the arrow keys on the keyboard with which we will be able to move around the page. It will only be necessary to click anywhere to move the cursor to that location.
Once installed, we just have to click on the carrot icon that we find in the extensions section at the top right and then press the F7 key. We can also select part of it or access the links by pressing the Enter key as it focuses automatically, and we can move to the next focused control by pressing the Tab key.
It is therefore a good alternative to the classic mouse when accessing and browsing our favorite websites. Just go to the extension’s website to install it for free.
ATbar, increases the accessibility of a website
Sometimes the appearance of the websites we visit may not be entirely to our liking, so we can use a toolbar like ATbar, which allows us to change the way we see or interact with any website. With it we will obtain different functionalities that we would usually only obtain through different configurations.
With it we will be able to modify any website to our liking, changing its appearance, superimposing colors, increasing or decreasing fonts, etc. It also incorporates spell checking in forms and word prediction when typing. Therefore, this is a tool that can be very useful for users with low visibility, dyslexia, and other difficulties when reading. It can also be useful if we only want to reduce the brightness of black text on bright white backgrounds that can be annoying.
If we are interested in this useful toolbar, we can download it for free from Chrome’s own WebStore .
Zoom for Chrome, increase font size
We are talking about a supplement that can be ideal for people who have various eye conditions. For example, such as lazy eye, amblyopia, or simply having difficulty reading content on a screen. With it we will make reading a little more comfortable by using the zoom button and the scroll wheel with which we can zoom in or read any type of web content .
This is a lightweight and useful extension. It is specially designed to get a better experience when using the zoom on the screen, since we can change the magnification factor from 1 to 400. Just click on the Z button and it will scroll up or down with the movement of the mouse. This automatically changes that website that we are seeing.
It also allows you to save the zoom value of any website automatically, so that when we return later. Likewise, we can always restore the default zoom by clicking on the Reset button. To install it, just click the Add to Chrome button.