New assistive tech to help visually impaired people enjoy films, videos and TV shows
Today, Amazon revealed a new assistive technology feature designed for visually impaired people to make onscreen text easier to read – Text Banner for Fire TV.
Text Banner consolidates onscreen text into a compact, written banner that appears in a fixed location on the screen. The assistive technology is helpful for people with a narrow field of vision, including eye conditions like macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa.
With the new assistive device, visually impaired individuals can view the title of the currently focused item and related text – such as the title and description of a film, alongside star ratings, reviews and the year it was made – in an easy-to-read rectangular box on the screen.
Users can also customise colours, box and text size within Text Banner to view items more easily in a way that makes sense to them.
Now, the entire Fire TV user interface, Prime Video and other applications work with Text Banner, making it easier for visually impaired Amazon customers to enjoy films, videos and TV shows.
Discussing Amazon’s latest assistive technology development, Marc Powell, Strategic Accessibility Lead at RNIB, said: “The accessibility of tech is changing the lives of blind and partially sighted people – giving a greater sense of freedom, increasing independence and breaking down barriers to create a more inclusive world.
“Amazon’s move to begin making its Fire TV platform more accessible for people with vision impairment is another powerful message of inclusivity to the industry and we hope to continue seeing accessibility improve as a trend across the technology sector in the years ahead.”
To turn the Text Banner assistive technology feature on, and customise colours, box and text size, users should visit Settings > Accessibility > Text Banner within Fire TV.
Amazon Fire TV is a media player that streams video, music and games to a person’s TV. It plugs into the HDMI port of a television and turns any TV into a smart TV.