Laura D’Aquila, software engineer at Google, visited Hofstra for the second time to discuss the search engine’s new and upcoming accessibility features in products such as Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets.
“There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to accessibility,” D’Aquila said. “There are a number of different types of users you have to take into account when you’re developing your products, so be mindful of the entire user group.”
Her biggest project of the moment? Closed-captions on Google Slides.
“Presenters using Google Slides can set it up so the computer’s microphone can listen to words they’re saying and transcribe those words into real-time captions. I actually use this feature for all my presentations,” she said.
Her talk was part of the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science Executive Speaker Series which presents speakers from engineering and computer science fields to share career experience with Hofstra students and the larger community.
With a master’s degree in engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science, D’Aquila knew she wanted to enter the world of accessibility engineering after her research on hearing-impaired individuals during her undergraduate.
“I encourage people to try out assistive technologies first-hand,” she said. “Your phones and computers already have many of these built in. And, you should always be looking through the lens of how things can be improved.”