Kindle Fire and Fire HD owners are going to get some exciting new accessibility features during the early part of 2013. These new features are designed to help users who are vision impaired make use of Amazon’s popular tablets. The new features are called Voice Guide and Explore by Touch. These features were previously only available on Kindle Fire HD 8.9-inch devices.
These features are designed to make navigating the seven-inch tablet easier for vision impaired users. With this technology, visually impaired users can enjoy books, and listen to music more easily with Amazon’s smaller tablet models. The larger version has had these features all along, and it’s good to see that Amazon is bringing the features to the rest of its tablet line.
Amazon says that the Voice Guide feature uses tech from a company called IVONA, which is a leading text-to-speech software engine company. Using the voice technology, any action performed by the user is read aloud. For example, when a user launches a book, the tablet announces the title of the book and the fact that book has been opened.
Visually impaired users are able to navigate the tablet via the Explore by Touch feature. Users can swipe a finger across the screen and the tablet will announce whatever they happen to touch. Tapping an item again will cause the device to perform the action. This allows users to scroll through their books and find exactly which one they want.