— NFB (@NFB_voice) December 12, 2012
— Jessica (@jbeecham7) December 12, 2012
In an effort to push Amazon to make its Kindle device and apps more accessible to the visually impaired, the National Federation of the Blind will hold an informational protest outside the company’s Seattle headquarters today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The organization is especially concerned with children who will begin to use more and more e-readers in schools instead of print. They are concerned that the Kindle devices nor the book files used in conjunction with them are not accesible to students who are blind or have print disabilities.
Mike Mello, president of the Greater Seattle Chapter of the NFB, went on KPLU this morning and said that he wants Amazon to adopt Apple’s ways of making their products accesible to the blind.
This flyer from the NFB explains that blind students can’t search Kindle books accurately, read them with Braille display or read spelling and punctuation because Amazon — unlike some other e-books — has “chosen to make its e-books inaccessible.”
Amazon just recently announced that it will be adding accessibility features like “Voice Guide” and “Explore by Touch” from the Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ to the standard Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD 7″ devices. Amazon also offers an Accessibility Plugin for its Kindle PC app.
The NFB sued Arizona State University in 2009 to prevent the school from distributing Kindle DX’s, which resulted in ASU agreeing to use devices that are more accessible to the blind. The suit also resulted in a June 29, 2010 Joint Dear Colleague Letter from the Department of Education and the Department of Justice warning educational institutions not to purchase inaccessible technology.
Previously on GeekWire: Amazon uses Facebook to create smart (and social) gift lists