The app includes in-built magnification and speech functions, that, for the first time, readers with sight loss can now read the full range of Kindle books, newspapers and journals.
The charity says earlier versions of the Kindle reading apps weren’t compatible with Apple’s accessibility features, limiting access to content for those with visual impairments.
“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,” said Dorothy Nicholls, Vice President, Amazon Kindle.
“With this update, we’re also making customer-favourite features—such as X-Ray, End Actions, sharing, highlighting and bookmarking—more accessible. We look forward to continuing to develop and extend our accessibility features on Kindle Fire and our other Kindle apps.”
Amazon consulted consulted blind and partially sighted people during the updated app’s development and testing phase to ensure it was fully accessible and user-friendly.
RNIB’s Director of Inclusive Society, Fazilet Hadi, said: “This fantastic breakthrough from Amazon means that people with sight loss can now read the 1.5 million titles in the Kindle Store. RNIB helped Amazon by getting feedback from blind and partially sighted people who tested early versions of this app.”
“It is important that this level of accessibility is now replicated across all of the apps and devices in the Amazon Kindle range. We urge Amazon, and all other developers and manufacturers in the eBook industry, to continue their work in making eBooks, devices and apps useable by everybody.”
Richard Mollet, Chief Executive from Publishers Association (PA) also welcomed the news, commenting: “Achieving progress on accessibility for blind and partially sighted people is always going to require action from every party in the chain.
“Publishers are working hard to make their files accessible at the production level, and we are pleased to see retailers and device manufacturers taking important steps too. We will continue to work with charities for blind and partially sighted people to ensure that eBooks deliver on their promise of accessibility.”
Blind and partially sighted people can find out more about accessing eBooks at www.rnib.org.uk/ebooks or by calling RNIB on 0303 123 9999 for a copy of our Get Started with eBooks guide.