New accessibility features for Kindle e-readers
While developing VoiceView for Fire tablets, we were also working on bringing VoiceView to our Kindle e-readers. Kindle e-readers are beloved by our customers because they are purpose-built for reading and create a haven so customers can lose themselves in their books. We are excited to say that, today, we have brought VoiceView to our Kindle e-readers, starting with the Kindle Paperwhite, so that visually impaired customers can enjoy reading on our Kindle e-readers, too.
VoiceView for Kindle, which uses Amazon’s natural language text-to-speech voices (formerly known as IVONA) lets visually impaired customers read millions of Kindle books and navigate the Kindle Paperwhite via speech feedback. Like VoiceView on our Fire tablets, VoiceView for Kindle supports linear and touch navigation, and the same broad range of speech feedback rates and earcons. Likewise, we developed a tutorial with multiple lessons that users can return to at any time.
Visually impaired customers will be able to use VoiceView for Kindle with the new Kindle Audio Adapter—an Amazon-designed USB audio dongle—to connect headphones or speakers, which then allows the ability to listen to and navigate the user interface, in addition to listening to books. The Kindle Audio Adapter was designed specifically to be used with VoiceView for Kindle. U.S. customers can purchase a bundle of both the Kindle Audio Adapter with the Kindle Paperwhite, and VoiceView for Kindle will be available in the future with other Kindle e-readers as well. Customers who purchase this bundle will receive a credit back on their account to cover the cost of the Kindle Audio Adapter, so they won’t have to pay extra for accessibility.
We’ve also launched other features to enhance a customer’s reading experience. Based on customer feedback, we made a new font available on the latest generation Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage, Kindle Oasis, and the Kindle reading app in iOS—it’s an open source font option called OpenDyslexic. We also offer the ability to increase the font size of book text, adjust line spacing and margins, and change the format of the text. Kindle also includes a feature called Word Wise, which makes it easier to quickly understand more challenging books with short and simple definitions that automatically appear above difficult words so customers can keep reading with fewer interruptions. And Immersion Reading, available on Fire tablets as well as iOS and Android, is a powerful tool for young readers, students and readers with disabilities. It gives customers the option to read and listen to books simultaneously with real-time text highlighting. Customers can access this feature by adding professional Audible narration to over 70,000 Kindle titles.
For the accessibility team, it’s still day one at Amazon. We have so much more planned, and the whole team is looking forward to the journey ahead.