Monday, November 30, 2009

Kindle and Accessibility Issues

If you're going to be using the Kindle as part of your "service delivery" package and you think you may be serving clients / customers with high vision loss, well, you may be interested in a recent Education Week article.

Amazon's Kindle can read books aloud, but if you're blind or are a person with a high loss of vision it can be difficult to turn that function on without assistance. In mid-November the United States' National Federation of the Blind commended a few universities for not deploying Amazon’s Kindle DX as a means of distributing electronic textbooks (e-books) to their students because the Kindle menus are not accessible to the blind. With the move to accessibility compliant web services and e-services an increasing issue at academic institutions and government offices, this may slow down Kindle's use within these circles - but it certainly won't deter Kindle's long-term plan to be the digital text reader for schools and other institutions, Kindle is presently fixing this problem and I wouldn't be surprsied if it's addressed within the next few months, i.e.:
Amazon.com Inc. spokesman Drew Herdener said many visually impaired customers have asked Amazon to make the Kindle easier to navigate. The company is working on it...
This is of particular interest to myself and other Government of Ontario employees and offices which are required to meet customer service accessibility standards by January 1, 2010. Be careful how you plan to use it and keep in mind that it's not fully accessible to all persons, yet.