2 unis ask for Kindle to be better for blind | Shanghai Daily

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November 13, 2009

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2 unis ask for Kindle to be better for blind


AMAZON'S Kindle can read books aloud, but if you're blind it can be difficult to turn that function on without help. Now two universities say they will shun the device until Amazon changes the setup.

The United States National Federation of the Blind announced on Wednesday that the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Syracuse University in New York won't consider big rollouts of the electronic reading device unless Amazon makes it more accessible to visually impaired students.

Both schools have some Kindles that they bought for students to try this fall, but now they say they won't look into buying more unless Amazon makes changes to the device.

"These universities are saying, 'Our policy is nondiscrimination, so we're not going to adopt a technology we know for sure discriminates against blind students,'" said Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the federation.

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, he said.

According to the National Federation of the Blind, there are about 1.3 million legally blind people in the United States.

The Kindle could be promising for the visually impaired because of its read-aloud feature, which utters text in a robotic-sounding voice. For blind students in particular, the Kindle could be an improvement over existing studying techniques such as using audio books.




 

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