Use Hangouts Chat with accessibility features

 You can use Hangouts Chat with a screen reader or keyboard shortcuts. For example, you can send a direct message, create or join rooms, or reply to a message or conversation.

Use a screen reader

On your computer, Chat works best with the following browsers and screen readers:

  • ChromeVox—You don't need to do any extra setup to use Hangouts Chat with ChromeVox on Chrome OS.
  • NVDA—Mozilla® Firefox® is the recommended browser. For the best experience, NVDA should be in focus mode.
  • JAWS—Firefox is the recommended browser, along with the latest version of JAWS. For the best experience, JAWS should be in forms mode or the virtual cursor should be turned off.
  • VoiceOver—Chrome Browser is recommended. If you use Apple® Safari® instead of Chrome, go to the advanced settings and turn on Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage. For the best experience, turn off the VoiceOver Quick Nav feature.

Review the recommended screen readers documentation for the most up-to-date details and instructions, including shortcuts.

Use Chat keyboard shortcuts

To show a full list of keyboard shortcuts in Chat, press ? (Shift+/).

Navigate around Chat

  • Use the Up and Down arrows to go to the direct message or room you want and press Enter to open it.
  • By default, the focus is on the message or conversation box. To read messages in a direct message or room, press Esc to exit the box and then use the Up arrow to go through the messages.
  • Rooms have 2 levels:
    • Level 1 is the list of conversations.
    • Level 2 is messages within a conversation. Use the Up and Down arrows to move through the level and the Left and Right arrows to change the level.

Send a direct message

  1. For Chrome OS and Microsoft® Windows®, press Ctrl+P. For Apple® macOS®, press +P.
  2. Enter the username or use the Up and Down arrows to move through the suggestions list and press Enter.
  3. Enter the message and press Enter or Tab until Send Send is highlighted and then press Enter.

Create or find a room

  1. For Chrome OS and Windows, press Ctrl+O. For macOS, press +O.
  2. If you need to create a room, enter the name and press Enter.
  3. If you need to find and join an existing room, use the Up and Down arrows to move through the list of rooms, press Tab to highlight + or Open, and then press Enter.

Start a new conversation or message within a room

  1. For Chrome OS and Windows, press Ctrl+S. For macOS, press +S.
  2. A new conversation or message box opens.
  3. Enter your message and press Enter.



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