Amazon has updated its Kindle for iOS reading app with new accessibility features that will help blind and visually impaired users navigate their Kindle library as well as read and interact with books. The new features are now available on the iOS app, and will be making their way to other platforms in the future, Amazon said.
The update includes a new read-aloud feature for more than 1.8 million titles in the Kindle Store. The feature leverages Apple's VoiceOver technology, which enables users to interact with their device when they can't see the screen. To activate, enable VoiceOver in the device settings menu.
"We're excited to introduce these new features to our Kindle for iOS app, making it easier than ever for our blind and visually impaired customers to access the vast selection of over 1.8 million books in the Kindle Store on their iPhone or iPad," Dorothy Nicholls, vice president of Amazon Kindle, said in a statement.
Blind and visually impaired users should also now be able to more easily navigate within their library, sort their collection by author or title, search within books, and skip to a specific page in a book.
The update also makes some other popular Kindle features more accessible for the visually impaired, including sharing on Facebook and Twitter, highlighting, bookmarking, and X-Ray, which helps readers learn more about certain characters, places, and phrases via Shelfari.com and Wikipedia. It also integrates iOS accessibility features like zoom and peripheral braille displays.
"I found the functionalities to my liking and above my initial expectations," Kevin Daniel, senior director of strategic recruiting for the nonprofit Lighthouse for the Blind, said in the Amazon announcement. "Frankly, due to continued vision loss and vision changes, I hadn't read very much at all. Now, I've read more books in the past few weeks than in the last five years."
The updated app is available for download in the App Store now.