Google Toolbar Adds Accessibility

A recent posting on the Google Blog announced that Google’s toolbar for Internet Explorer added accessibility enhancements. The gist of the posting is that keyboard access to the various toolbar buttons as well as better support for Microsoft Active Accessibility has been added.


This release adds support for Windows Accessibility APIs (used by screen readers, etc.) and enables keyboard navigation and access. From inside a browser with Toolbar installed, the global shortcut Alt+G places your cursor in the Google Toolbar search box. If you’re using a screen reader, you’ll hear “Google Toolbar Search”. Pressing the Tab key brings keyboard focus to the button placed immediately after the search box, and right and left arrow keys move focus between buttons. More information on keyboard access is documented in the Toolbar Help Center.


Using the keyboard access in the toolbar is straight forward. From within Internet Explorer, press alt+g and focus is placed in a search edit box for searching Google. Press tab once and focus moves to a search button. From that point use left and right arrows to explore and access the various toolbar buttons. Enter typically activates the button with focus, while down arrow brings up options for that button. Finally the typical keyboard method for right click/context of shift+F10 or the application key on your keyboard brings up further options on many buttons. It seems like a nice job of improving keyboard access here.

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