Amazon's newly announced Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX include built in accessibility features. Historically, Amazon has been slow to make their Kindle products accessible. With the new accessible Kindle Fire and accessible Kindle app for iOS Amazon maybe turning a new page. That being said, Amazon still doesn't want to make their Kindle eReaders accessible and has requested an exemption from the FCC.
The new Android based Kindle Fire tablets includes accessibility features for the blind, low vision, hearing impaired, and mobility impairments. For the blind and visually impaired the Kindle Fire includes a screen reader that can describe what is taking place on screen. There is also Explore by Touch which allows users to use gestures to navigate items one-by-one. For low vision users the new Kindle Fire tablets include a screen magnifier which is activated by a triple tap on the screen. There are also large font size and high contrast options to benefit low vision users. For users with mobility challenges the Kindle Fire can be controlled with a Bluetooth keyboard. For dyslexic users the Kindle Fire includes Immersion Reading which synchronizes the text and audio version of a book. With Immersion Reading the text is highlighted as a professional reader speaks. It is important to note that to use Immersion Reading you must own both the Audible audio version and the Kindle ebook version which can be costly. While it is very exciting to see Amazon improving their accessibility features other tablets such as the iPad include more robust accessibility features.
The Kindle Fires also include a "Mayday" button that allows you to connect with technical support at anytime. The support person can then help walk you through using different functions of your tablet. This "Mayday" button could be useful especially for new tablet users.
The Kindle Fire is available in 7 and 8.9 inch form factors both sizes are available in HD or more powerful HDX variety. The cost ranges from $139 to $229 depending on the size and features. Click here to purchase from Amazon. Click read more below to view a video about Immersion Reading.