Using Google Maps in iOS 6 with VoiceOver

iOS & iPadOS
Due to the reported unreliability of the built-in Apple Maps on iOS6, I downloaded the Google Maps app. Most features seem to be accessible - I can set my destination, various profile settings, etc. However, I cannot activate the button to start getting voice feedback from the Google App so that it gives me turn by turn directions when trying to help my wife navigate in the car or when I'm walking alone. After putting in my destination, my sighted wife indicates that there is a "Start" button in the bottom right corner of the screen on my iPhone. When I use VoiceOver to go there, VoiceOver announces this as a "PagingHeading" button. My sighted wife says that within this "button" there is an icon to go to another view/page and also the "Start" button. Using VoiceOver, I can't distinguish between these two buttons and when I tap it, the display only goes to another page but will not start the "turn by turn voice-guided navigation". How do I access this feature and start the app talking like a sighted person would do? If this is not accessible, how do I make Google aware of the problem to get it rectified? Thanks. --Pete



Submitted by Vash Rein on Sunday, April 14, 2013

You can directly report issues to google by going to the ios ap store, writing a review with all of the issues you are talking about as well as tapping into the contact developer tab and writing a email to them. However, I recommend that maybe you try to give Apple maps a second chance. True, at some points, apple maps has had some issues, but you can easily file a report with apple and it will be resolved quickly. Put it this way, Google has a fewyears of progress over Apple and utilizes a great deal of feedback from the users. In order for Apple to reach that level of usability, it needs time ad patience from its users. It may not be perfect, but Rome was not built in a day. Apple is just getting in the game and in a year, has made a good amount of progress. Google is pretty infamous in not putting accessibility in the fore front of their pursuits and using their products despite this might not benefit any of the IPhone users. Till then, why not try to use both? Maybe even pay for Navagan as it is a very useful gps app.

Submitted by Dave on Thursday, April 18, 2013

Hello Peter, Sorry that version 1.1 of Google Maps has some accessibility issues. There were some breaks that were caused late in our development cycle and were not caught until after we had shipped. We are aware of them and actively working on them. Cheers, Dave

Submitted by David Goodwin on Friday, April 19, 2013

In reply to by Dave

Hello Dave.

 Many thanks for reaching out and engaging with our community! It's always great to welcome any developer who is looking to improve the accessibility of their app for blind and low vision iOS users. Due to the great accessibility that is built into the platform, there's a lot of us, and we do appreciate the time and effort that people like you put into ensuring that we have fair and equal access to apps. If you need any VoiceOver users to beta test for you, I'm sure that we could find lots of willing volunteers (smile) Also, if you happen to bump into any colleagues who work on other Google apps, we'd love for you to give them a nudge about accessibility and improved VoiceOver support (smile). Although, to be fair, there has generally been a marked improvement in the accessibility of most Google apps over the past year. Which, of course, has been great to see.

Thanks for the offers for testers. I'll let folks know. Hopefully you will continue to see support for accessibility and VoiceOver support continue to increase. We are working on it. Cheers, Dave

Submitted by Dave on Sunday, April 21, 2013

In reply to by DonBarbieri

Hey Don, We currently do (as of 1.1) have walking maps/directions. Maybe I'm not understanding what you are looking for? Cheers, Dave

Submitted by Hadi on Sunday, July 7, 2013

well, i'm happy that the problem is going to be fixxed by the dev team... but till then (it may be even next year.. lol) any solutions guys? can i do stuff like, turn the voiceover off and press the start button?

Submitted by peter on Monday, July 8, 2013

Isaac said: "Yes you might have to turn off voiceover and press the start button" But how is one expected to do that with VoiceOver turned off and one is blind? I can't believe Google hasn't fixed this - It has been a long time since the "update". One would think that they could post a quick bug fix for this issue.

Submitted by Hadi on Monday, July 8, 2013

uh That comment~ I know i have to do that -as i just mentioned it-, but i was asking that if anyone ever tried to learn the aproximant place of the "inaccessible" button, so that he could advise us? @pete, I think accessibility is just a "minor" bug fix for google, and not worth to actually fix it and release a new version of it. that's kinda sad to know, though.

I agree with the previous comments. Its sad that Google is taking so long to fix a minor accessibility issue with Maps on the iPhone. Its been over two months since this app was actually usable. Hopefully we see an update soon. I did hear they were planning to add iPad support during the summer, so we should expect an update any day now.