Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Kindle accessability

I think there's something wrong with my Kindle. I'm trying to give it a good charge and hope that helps, but so far it's not really doing much. It's had this little glitch where it turns off randomly since I got it. I don't mean going on standby with the screensaver thing, which many ereaders do. I mean actually just suddenly going from being in the middle of reading something to being completely turned off (without even so much as a "turning off" - which is what I usually hear when turning it off). But that wasn't really causing me more than a minor inconvenience from time to time, so I ignored it. Plus, since I got my Kindle Keyboard when Amazon were no longer making them, I got it off ebay, and with that there was no guarantee it was definitely brand new (and I'm pretty sure it wasn't, but was just "as new"). It's worked hard for me in the pretty close to 2 years I've had it!

Luckily, many of my ebooks are from Smashwords where they have multiple formats, so while I figure it out I don't have to ignore the pile of books waiting for me to read them, since I still have things I can read using my computer. Many others need a Kindle though. Before anyone mentions it... The Kindle for PC thing doesn't work. Well, I mean, it does work, but JAWS (my screen reader) won't read the text of the books, and the text to speech feature isn't part of it.

Anyway, just in case I have no luck persuading my Kindle to work, I contacted Amazon. They think it might be dead too, but I managed to find out some interesting information for if - as we suspect - I need to replace it.

It turns out Amazon have now started thinking about accessability for the visually impaired. Most likely because Apple were stealing their customers. But, regardless of the reason, they are.

I got the following information from them about it:

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With accessibility features, you can navigate your Fire with special gestures and read aloud the selections you make onscreen.

Fire 2nd Generation and Fire HD 1st Generation have the following accessibility features:
- Voice Guide allows you to hear spoken menus, selectable items, and descriptions when touching the screen.
- Explore by Touch allows you to use special gestures while navigating your Fire.
- Orientation Lock disables screen rotation.

To turn on accessibility features:
1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Quick Settings, and then tap More.
2. Tap Accessibility.

Fire HD and Fire HDX have the following accessibility features:
- Screen Reader allows you to hear spoken menus, selectable items, and descriptions when touching the screen.
- Reading Speed allows you to adjust the speed of the speaking voice when Screen Reader is turned.
- Explore by Touch allows you to use special gestures while navigating their Fire.
- Screen Magnifier allows you to zoom in the screen.
- Use Large Font Size increases the size of menu items.
- Closed Captioning adds captions to videos when available.
- Convert Stereo to Mono plays all audio through a single channel.

To turn on accessibility features:
1. Swipe down from the top of the screen to open Quick Actions, and then tap Settings.
2. Tap Accessibility.

To turn on Screen Reader and Explore by Touch from any screen, press the Power button until you hear an alert, and then place two fingers (slightly apart) on the screen and hold for five seconds.

To learn more about accessibility on our all-new Fire devices, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html?docId=1000756063

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The above is the contents of an e-mail I was sent to confirm what we discussed on the phone.

I thought I'd share the information for the benifit of anyone interested, or anyone else who may need to know about the accessability of ereaders for blind and partially sighted book lovers.

5 comments:

Diidii said...

Finally Amazon are getting their act together with regards accessibility it seems. When I approached them last year they as good as told me it wasn't much of a feature in their Kindles. A reader can make the size bigger but that was about it.

Victoria Zigler said...

Yeah, I know. They've had a bit of an attitude change when it comes to caring about accessability. That's why I think they sorted the features because they wanted to stop Apple stealing their customers. My theory is that they realized the visually impaired population makes up a decent enough chunk of those who want to read ebooks that they would benefit if they could keep some visually impaired customers.

Intense Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Intense Guy said...

I'm thrilled the technology is here today for you Tori - imagine what things would be like if it were pre-recording tape days? Shudder.

Victoria Zigler said...

Iggy:
I know... I always ran out of books to read before ebooks became available. I don't mind re-reads, but having something new to read is always best when the option is available, so I'm glad not having any new books isn't an issue these days!