Amazon has confirmed that its Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD 7 tablets will become more accessible through the integration of “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch".
With the aforementioned features set to release during the early stages of 2013, Amazon plans to help vision-impaired Kindle owners read books with more ease, as well as assist those with learning disabilities to improve their reading skills.
“We have heard from thousands of customers who are vision-impaired that Kindle has made a difference in their lives. With Kindle Fire HD 8.9” and soon our full line of new tablets, we are continuing our efforts to provide a range of accessibility features—Voice Guide, Explore by Touch, text-to-speech, optional text coloring and adjustable font sizes—for our vision-impaired customers,” said Dave Limp, VP of Kindle.
“We plan to deliver additional accessibility features, so that our vision-impaired customers can have a better experience for reading, communicating and consuming media.”
By leveraging technology from text-to-speech software provider Ivona, the Voice Guide is able to read aloud menus and actions occurring on the device, which, for example, can be a title being opened or closed. The aforementioned features were already supported by the 8.9-inch edition of Kindle Fire HD upon its release.
"Vision-impaired customers can also take advantage of the free Kindle for PC with Accessibility Plugin reading application, which provides an accessible way to enjoy the vast Kindle library on any personal computer," Amazon added. "The application features voice-guided menu navigation, large font sizes, high contrast reading mode, keyboard navigation and accessible shortcuts, as well as text-to-speech reading with adjustable voice settings for customers who have an external screen reader program installed on their PC."