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Kindle accessibility and the visually impaired

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Showing 1-25 of 63 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Nov 2012 09:03:43 GMT
Diane Marks says:
When is Amazon kindle going to ensure that all their kindles including their new kindle fire hd is fully accessible for all visually impaired and blind users? I am using a kindle keyboard currently but would love a kindle fire hd. problem - it doesn't have voice guide or text to speech of any description on it. So how do we blind users use it? I think this stinks Amazon. you are making a mint in this country and you can't even be bothered to ensure that we blind users of your kindle products have access to them. Do you think we blind people don't read?
pull your finger out and get on with it. all your kindle products should be fully accessible from the time it is designed to the time it is produced.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 09:06:06 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 09:31:25 GMT
Damaskcat says:
While I don't have a Kindle Fire I have read on here that the Kindle Fire does have text to speech on it.

Kindle Paperwhite does not have audio capability so it doesn't have text to speech.

You can play audio books on the Fire.

Does anyone do voice recognition software for Android devices? I think this is perhaps the question you need to ask.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 09:20:53 GMT
Denis Powell says:
For a single product to be fully accessible to all people it would require a large keyboard with large keys complete with Braille and sophisticated software for speech recognition. Such a gadget wouldn't be purchased by many so production costs would be significant. Any gadget, like the Fire HD, for which a large part of it's appeal is the high quality screen for visual media would have, for a blind person, expensive features which aren't needed.

Make a business case to Amazon showing that a device designed to your specification can be produced and sold in sufficient numbers to be profitable, or petition the Government to subsidise the cost.

Both the above would be more likely to result in success than posting here, sadly.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 09:55:08 GMT
I think your remarks are ridiculous. Where does it state that Kindles are created with blind and visually impaired users in mind?

I take it you have also posted this on the Nook, Barnes and Noble, Sony and Ipad forums too?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 10:04:48 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 10:44:10 GMT
K. A. Newton says:
This was exactly one of my arguments when Amazon stopped selling the Kindle Touch.

Also so many stroke victims with use of only one hand used the Touch with Text to speech so that the page turner worked automatically - they didn't have to listen to the robotic voice as the volume could be turned down.

Amazon does not officially read all the messages on this forum and all the helpers are unpaid Kindle Lovers so any comments should really be made to Amazon itself.

I personally bought a new Kindle Keyboard so I can still have the audio aspect if my Touch should ever die on me. I have got used to the WiFi and the 3G of the Keyboard but £149. was a lot to pay out for the audio. I think they should have kept the Kindle Keyboard WiFi version when they got rid of the Touch. By the way the Touch which has audio function is still being sold in places like Tesco etc.

You can listen to Audible Limited's audio books from the Audible Manager page on your laptop that you download when you join them and the audio books are downloaded on to it. Your laptop lets you listen to narrated stories spoken by human beings. I often have a book being read to me in this way while I browse for more e-books or simply browse the web. Or you can sit back in your armchair and listen to your laptop reading to you from across the room.

You just click on the book of your choice on the Audible Manager page and listen. I have to admit the titles are in quite small type.

You can buy audio books from Audible Limited without having a monthly contract but you pay full price. It is cheaper with the contract. I have £7-99. a month taken from my card on the same date each month and I can choose any book for that £7-99. even choose a £20-00. or more book each month. The first two months were £3-99. each. then it goes up to £7-99.

I get an e-mail when my monthly credit is given to me and I can look at what is offered and if I want I can leave it till more books come in. If I want two books one month - I choose the most expensive for my £7-99 credit and pay proper price for the second one. (the cheapest).

I understand there are other formats of account but I have not investigated that yet.

I have also downloaded some books from my Audible Manager page on to an mp3 player. Some mp3 players can not be used with Audible Audio - I know SONY is one brand which is not compatible.

Audible Limited seems to put copies or links to the books I have bought off them on Windows Media Player as well on my laptop.

Recently I had to strip my hard disc and found I had lost the Audible Manager page. No problem I just signed in and downloaded it again and also downloaded again for free all the books I had already paid for.

The larger books are split up into sections and each section takes less than 5 minutes to download. For instance the Alan Turing Biography had four sections so downloads in less than 15 minutes in total but there is more than 30 hours reading time. When one section finishes being narrated you do have to click on the next section to listen to that.

I have downloaded audio books formed of mp3 files from the Amazon Website - they have gone into Windows Media Player too. The covers mixed in with the music albums.

If you have enough vision to rip audio books from audio book cds using Windows Media Player you can listen to them via your laptop. Though audio books files don't take too much computer memory eventually this can become a problem. A normal cd player with a good tone would be perfect instead but I am sure you know this.

Hope this has helped.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 10:13:23 GMT
PFK says:
Diane I too am concerned about this and contacted Amazon about it. They said they would pass on my comments to their business division. May I suggest that you also contact them? The more visually impaired people who point out that they are making new products LESS accessible than the old ones, the better chance we have of them making future changes in our favour.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 10:32:40 GMT
Damaskcat says:
I suspect that as long as any company has one product which is accessible to visually impaired people then they are probably doing as much as can be expected of them. Currently the Fire and the Kindle Keyboard have text to speech and audio.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 11:18:28 GMT
Diane Marks says:
Well Baldeep maybe you shouldn't be so ignorant and research your remarks properly before you make comments. Firstly, we have the disability discrimination act which says that resonable adjustments need to be made for disabled people in the UK. Secondly, if the IPhone and IPad and nearly all of Apples products are accessible then why can't a big corporation like Amazon do it? Why is it that disabled people are always forgotten until someone starts kicking up a stink? You need to wake up and smell the coffee Baldeep, and realise that those of us who are disabled want equality in technology. If a totally blind person like myself can use a touch screen on either an Ipad or an Iphone how difficult is it for other mainstream companies to do it. Time for the world to realise we are not second class citizens and we deserve to be treated on an equal fotting. We are not asking for specialist technology but for integration.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 11:47:00 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 11:49:08 GMT
Damaskcat says:
The Fire and the Kindle Keyboard both have text to speech. Kindle Keyboard also has a voice guide - not sure about the Fire. Both Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Fire will play audio books. I'm not sure where discrimination comes into it.

Does anyone know whether there is voice recognition software available for Android devices? If there is then there is your answer for potentially all Android devices.

Reasonable adjustments may not be reasonable if they would result in everyone paying much higher prices for devices which include features they might never use.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 11:59:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 12:05:42 GMT
Lucy Lou says:
I think you're being too sensitive Diane, not to mention obnoxious. The fact is you forget your own words. "Nearly all" apple products cater for some degree of disabilities yet you forget that nearly all of Amazon products do too.

Why is it that those waving the uphold disabled peoples rights flag are both ridiculous in their reactions as well as have a selective memory?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 12:08:11 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 12:08:22 GMT
S O says:
Most Android devices have an Accessibility option buried in the Settings menu that will turn on a robotic voice that talks you through where you are etc. I would imagine the Fire HD is no different, since it has to be compliant with current disability "discrimination" laws and issues.

Additionally, I found this in the Play store, you might be able to side-load the .apk file onto the Fire. I don't see any compatibility information and I own an Android phone running Gingerbread and a tablet running Icecream Sandwich registered to my Play account, so I'm assuming it's going to be compatible with anything running any version of Android, including the Fire.

Your responses are rather rude, nobody here is doubting, questioning or dismissing your disability or your concerns. Chill out :)

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 12:26:27 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 12:28:24 GMT
K. A. Newton says:

Diane was only obnoxious to Baldeep and when I reread his comment I had to agree with her.

I am getting a bit more aware of disabled rights as my hearing is destined to go a lot less because of genetic condition. (same condition as one of the male investigators on US - CSI).

It is a pity that Amazon cannot invent a USB plug-in Audio gizmo that would work with Kindle for PC and other similar apps so blind or visually impaired people could listen to Text to Speech Books at home without a Kindle.

Posted on 15 Nov 2012 12:34:17 GMT
Lucy Lou says:
Yes, that kind of thing has already been invented. It's a set of wireless headphones.

The thing is people are too adept at moaning about what something doesn't do instead of looking at an adequate solution that is available. The OP is being selective in her whinge.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 12:40:31 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 12:41:28 GMT
K. A. Newton says:
No Clagg,

The headphones can only listen to robotic text to speech when used to attach to a Kindle that has Audio.

They can also be attached to your laptop but you cannot listen to text to speech on your e-books when they are on Kindle for PC. You can only read books on there.

I'd like a gizmo that plugs into my laptop which will allow the e-books on Kindle for PC (the ones T to S enabled) to be heard read out by the robotic voice. Merely plugging in headphones into the laptop cannot do this.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 14:26:57 GMT
S O says:
I *think* the default Windows voice thingie in Control Panel will read out things from Kindle for PC...It's the same idea as I mentioned above for tablets and phones and things. Designed for visually impaired users so they know what's on the screen. There are a couple of programs you can download to do it too, and set them to read what you're looking at, but you'd have to turn the pages yourself if you were following along

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 14:32:56 GMT
K. A. Newton says:
I'll have a go at that.

I like Text to speech on a Kindle as I can prop up my Kindle and have the pages turned automatically while I read the page (robotic voice turned down low) thus keeping arms and hands warm under the bedclothes.

I have a prop-up case for my Kindle Touch and my Kindle Keyboard so I can do this.

Posted on 15 Nov 2012 14:45:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 14:45:37 GMT
Lucy Lou says:
Ah, I see what you're getting at now.

I love the reasoning KA.

Would audible books not be a good idea to ensure you keep your hands warm? :)

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 15:02:03 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 15:04:07 GMT
K. A. Newton says:
I already am a member of audible. I can listen to their books on my laptop - sitting back in my armchair with a glass of wine.

I have also downloaded from my Audible Manager page several books to an mp3 player for when I am out and about or in bed. When I switch off and later switch back on it asks if I want to start again or to read from the point I switched off at.

Audible books cost me £7-99 each month and but there are so many cheaper or even free e-books with text to speech for the Kindle.

I tend to buy biographies or autobiographies or huge tomes (well they would be in hard back) off Audible - not always what you want to read in bed.

The next Audible book I plan to buy is the third of a trilogy by Philip Pullman (each book stands on its own as a story) then over the next three months I am going to get a book a month of his trilogy "His Dark Material" narrated by himself.

I am part way through the dramaterisation cd set of "His Dark Material" I bought off Amazon but Brian (Donny Lad) says the trilogy read by the author himself is particularly excellent.

Each part of the trilogy in narrated audio form is app. £20.00. but with my membership will only cost me £7-99. a month for the three books. One a month.

I got a few shorter and cheaper books off Audible in their sales. Three men in a boat was hysterically funny when read out aloud. Also Wind in the Willows read by Derek Jacobi which was wonderful to listen to but unfortunately only just over an hour long. Might suit a child as some can listen for an hour without getting twitchy.

Posted on 15 Nov 2012 15:07:35 GMT
CBRetriever says:
how on earth could a touch screen be made accessible for the visually impaired?

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 15:08:13 GMT
Damaskcat says:
I've been scratching my head over that one :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 15:09:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 15:10:14 GMT
S O says:
Ours not to reason why :)

Edit - Just had a thought. You can turn on a visual cursor in developmental tools (on my Tab, anyway) to gauge how accurate finger presses are by watching where the cursor points when you poke stuff. Would probably work with the Accessibility voice options

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 15:48:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 15:48:44 GMT
CBRetriever says:
warm - cold - warmer - hotter - voila!

Posted on 15 Nov 2012 16:11:41 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 16:14:31 GMT
Steven says:
this is a difficult one... before I go any further i should say to any poster who i haven't spoken to before that I'm blind myself so have an interest in Diane's post.

that said, I'm pretty much with Clagg on this one. Amazon have a product that is fully accessible for blind users (the KK) and, as has been pointed out, the Fire has text to speach (although without voice guide it's usefulness for completely blind users would probably be pretty low. by ensuring that they have one product that is accessible Amazon are doing a lot more than most companies. to the best of my knowledge no other ebook reader has such features so Kindle is way ahead of the rest. I take your point re Apple, who are indeed excellent but given the number of books the text to speach feature on my KK have opened up to me that weren't available as standard audio books, you won't hear me complaining.

as to the disability discrimination act (now the equality act 2010) i don't think it applies in this case. think of it logicly, you can get microwaves that have touch screens, should we su the manufacturers?

I'm going to get flamed for this but rants like the op don't do a lot for disability equality as they antagonise and get backs up. the point raised was a fair one and there was no need for the aggressive nature of the post (in my view of course!) though it is frustrating when things don't work as we would want them to. :)

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 16:16:02 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Nov 2012 16:23:19 GMT
Steven says:
to be fair to Diane, the Ipad is accessible via a voice guide type feature which can be found in the accessibility menu.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Nov 2012 16:17:38 GMT
Steven says:
and this is the pertinent point I think. I'd be very concerned if Amazon stopped producing the KK without putting accessibility features in to one of the other ekindles.
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Discussion in:  kindle discussion forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  63
Initial post:  15 Nov 2012
Latest post:  6 Jun 2013

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