This post will focus on the accessible forms of cloud storage which are available. Most of the storage options I will discuss below have Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android versions. I believe cloud storage is a very versatile option for someone using assistive technology. When using an accessible storage provider, a file can be created and saved on one device, and is immediately available on another device thanks to cloud storage.
Due to the ever changing nature of technology, I have no prior experience of using some cloud storage providers discussed as they were either:
1. Not available while I was part of a college or university course.
2. The cloud storage provider was not accessible to my knowledge at a specific time.
For anyone that may want a greater understanding of what the terms KB, MB, GB, and TB actually mean, I would encourage you to read the breakdown at this link.
Option 1 – Dropbox:
Dropbox is by far the most popular and widely used cloud storage option available. After you install it, Dropbox is basically another folder on your device. If you install Dropbox on two devices (i.e. Device A and Device B), if you store a file or folder on Device A, it will automatically appear on Device B. Dropbox offers 2 GB for free, and you will get more storage space for every person you introduce to Dropbox via email.
I have experience of using the Dropbox website, standard Dropbox folder on my Laptop and MacBook, and iOS versions of Dropbox. In particular, the iOS Dropbox application is 100% accessible and has a very simple interface. The Dropbox website is ok, but I can always get things done a lot quicker with the iOS application or the actual Dropbox folder on my laptop/MacBook.
I would be very surprised if your lecturer/teacher does not ask you to use Dropbox for completing group projects, and even if they don’t, I would suggest that you do. When you have Dropbox setup, which is very simple, you can share a folder with other people. This is a great way of making sure that all group members have the latest version of your project, and they can make any alterations they would like.
Option 2 – Google Drive:
Google Drive offers a larger amount of storage in comparison to Dropbox, and the iOS application is accessible. I have not used the web interface of Google Drive, but I’m sure it is accessible. There is also a method to use Google Drive on your laptop, and this method creates a folder like in the case of Dropbox. Due to Dropbox’s popularity in my college/university, I do not have extensive experience in using Google Drive. However, this does not mean it is not a viable cloud storae option.
Option 3 – Box:
The people behind Box would disagree with the following statement, but I feel Box is essentially the same as Dropbox. Box offers a lot more storage for free, and the iOS application for Box is accessible overall, but there are some areas which could be improved. For example, all the necessary actions can be performed using the iOS app, but the labels on some buttons are not exactly straight forward. Box is one of the cloud storage providers which I did not use while I was at college/university. I didn’t use Box at that time as it was inaccessible, but the people behind Box have resolved the accessibility issues at this time.
Option 4 [ iCloud Drive:
iCloud Drive is part of a much larger iCloud eco-system. As this is a newer development in terms of iCloud offerings, I do not have a lot of experience using this cloud storage option. In my opinion, this option is best suited to iOS and Mac OS users. For example, if you are using the most up-to-date versions of Apple’s Mac software (10.10 Yosemite) and iOS 8, iCloud Drive will be included in the file explorer of your Mac, and available within the sharing options of iOS devices.
Option 5 – Microsoft One Drive:
As the title might suggest, One Drive is offered by Microsoft and is part of all Windows 8/8.1 PC’s and Laptops. I have very little experience of using One Drive. It is accessible, and it appears to be similar to Dropbox when accessing it through a PC or laptop. There is also a Microsoft One Drive iOS application. The storage offered is greater than that of Dropbox, but unfortunately I can’t comment further as I haven’t used it extensively.
I believe that any of the above cloud storage options (except iCloud Drive), could be used for sharing files between devices for personal use, or used within a group situation at college and/or university. As ever, if you have any questions please get in touch; I’d be delighted to hear from you.
Sadly, I was unable to find a popular song from musical theater that referenced clouds a lot, but the following song by Katy Perry does mention clouds in the chorus.