Amazon Has 8 Useful Accessibility Features Available on Prime Video, Alexa, and Other Amazon Devices




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Amazon has been working with disability and accessibility experts to design features to help those with disabilities more effectively use Prime Video, Alexa, and its other products.

The Audio Description feature plays a spoken audio track that describes what’s happening on the screen. For people who are blind or have low vision, the accompanying audio fills in what is happening when there’s no narration or dialogue. Amazon has the world’s largest catalog of audio-described movies. The feature is included with a Prime Video membership and for on-demand video purchases.

Another feature for Prime members is Dialogue Boost. This feature analyzes the original audio to identify spots where dialogue might be difficult to understand over background music and sound effects. It isolates speech patterns from the ambient sound using AI-based technologies to enhance the audio so characters’ conversations are clearer, targeting specific sections of a video instead of amplifying the entire track.

Accessibility has been a hot issue over the last few years, and Big Tech has increasingly made the usability of its products and services a priority.

Accordingly, Amazon is working towards making its devices and services accessible to all customers. The World Health Organization says one in six people, approximately 1.3 billion people, have a significant disability. Advancements in technology can benefit those who have limited mobility, sight, or hearing by offering alternate avenues to use such products.

For instance, Amazon’s Fire HD Tablet 10’s Voice Access lets customers virtually select any item on the screen using voice commands. This helps people with motor impairments tell their tablet to turn the page of an e-book or control video playback. However, the feature currently only responds to voice commands in English, but customers can also use it via compatible Bluetooth devices.

The Fire TV also has an upgraded Screen Magnifier that lets users zoom in on their smart TV. The magnified portion appears in the upper right corner of the screen, giving consumers a broader view.

Amazon’s Alexa is also equipped with accessibility features, including Eye Gaze. This feature helps those with mobility or speech disabilities use the device to activate pre-set actions on their Fire Max 11 tablets using their eyes. Eye Gaze works with Tap to Alexa to complete specific tasks or help users communicate. Alexa’s Call Translation feature translates audio and video calls into different languages or provides live call captioning for those with hearing loss.

Image credit: Amazon

Kindle also has a few features, such as the Reading Ruler, which helps readers keep their place by highlighting the text. Users can also adjust the line spacing, font sizes, and types as well as the weights, control screen brightness, and invert or change background colors. Bibliophiles can also pair their Kindle with narration from Audible so they can listen as they follow along.

Image credit: Amazon

Users can also find their devices using the VoiceView feature that reads on-screen text out loud on Amazon devices so people with limited vision can find it. It’s available on Fire Tablets, Echo Show, and Kindle.

Image credit: Amazon

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