I just submitted the below to Amazon. I encourage others to submit their own concerns, especially for accessibility, to them as well. According to the manual, you can Email kindle@firstname.lastname@example.org so Email them early and often.
I’m very interested in the Kindle 3, but as a blind user, I have a few concerns. Before I outline those concerns, I would like to say that I, for one, am happy to purchase if Amazon can make a commitment to our community to make accessibility improvements where warranted.
As you might suppose, my concerns directly relate to the text to speech and voice guide features:
1) Will voice guide speak as you type? Will it read options as they are navigated and selected? Can you select books with it? Documentation is definitely lacking in this area. With voice guide enabled, will it be possible to use Kindle as outlined in the rest of the manual, without looking at the screen at all?
2) Do menus wrap? Would it be possible to enable the voice guide and TTS features without sighted assistance? If not, I would recommend that it should be.
3) With text to speech reading of Kindle ebooks, is it possible to navigate or read by smaller increments? In other words, can I navigate a book by word, or even by character? If I need to have an unfamiliar name or term spelled, is this possible? These features are essential if Kindle is to be used by a student in a classroom environment.
4) Does voice guide or text to speech work in the Web browser? Can it be used, not only to read Web content but to navigate to that content? Is it possible to browse the Kindle store to purchase books, again, using only text to speech and voice guide?
5) Will it be possible to enable text to speech for blind users on books where it is by default disabled? If not, is there some way to know whether a book is TTS-enabled before purchasing it? I would hate to buy a book, only to find I am unable to read it.
In short, I would like some assurance that Amazon is working towrd real accessibility to the Kindle, and not just a token effort that amounts to little more than a toy.