Amazon is bringing "Voice Guide" and "Explore by Touch" - two new accessibility features previously available on Kindle Fire HD 8.9" - to its new standard definition Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD 7".
These features help vision-impaired owners of Amazon's devices to more easily navigate the menus and content on the device, enjoy books and audiobooks, and listen to music. These features have been available with Kindle Fire HD 8.9" since its release and will be made available on the standard definition Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD 7" early next year.
Voice Guide leverages technology from IVONA, which delivers pronunciations to read aloud menus with Voice Guide and books with text-to-speech for Kindle Fire tablets.
With Voice Guide navigation, any action performed by the customer on the device is read aloud. This mode also provides immediate feedback to visually-impaired individuals for their actions on the device. Additionally, vision-impaired users can navigate the touchscreen with Explore by Touch. In this mode, users are able to swipe their finger across the touchscreen and as they touch an item, the system announces what item has been tapped (e.g. when touching a book in the library the book title is called out loud). A second tap on the item will perform the default action on the item (e.g. a second tap on the book would open it).
Other Kindle reader features vision-impaired users and those with learning disabilities can take advantage of on the all new Kindle Fire tablets include:
- Text-to-speech - simultaneously reading along with the synchronized text.
- Adjustable fonts - users can select from multiple font settings, including large font sizes for low vision, and adjust margins to allow for less text to appear on a page.
- Modify the text color to appear as white over black, black over white or sepia.
- Built-in dictionary for instant access to look up new or difficult words.