Collaborative Editing for All: The Google Docs Example

  • Giulio Mori
  • Maria Claudia Buzzi
  • Marina Buzzi
  • Barbara Leporini
  • Victor M. R. Penichet
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6768)


Collaborative software tools allow people to share documents and knowledge via Internet, in a simple, economic and efficient way. Unfortunately collaborative software often relies heavily on visual features and dynamic technologies with user interfaces that are difficult to use via screen reader, or are sometimes even inaccessible for the blind.

In this paper we illustrate and discuss results of an accessibility inspection of the main collaborative functions of Google Docs using the JAWS screen reader. Results highlight several difficulties encountered when interacting with elements of the Google Docs interfaces. Content perception is often incomplete, since many elements or changes occurring in the collaborative environment are not intercepted by the screen reader and announced to the user. In addition, the behavior of the collaborative functions analyzed (as well as the rendering) changes from one web browser to another. Some general guidelines are discussed, for designing user interfaces of collaborative editors that are more usable when interacting via screen reader.


groupware collaborative editing accessibility blind screen reader 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giulio Mori
    • 1
  • Maria Claudia Buzzi
    • 1
  • Marina Buzzi
    • 1
  • Barbara Leporini
    • 2
  • Victor M. R. Penichet
    • 3
  1. 1.CNR-IITPisaItaly
  2. 2.CNR-ISTIPisaItaly
  3. 3.Computer Systems DepartmentUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaAlbaceteSpain

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