Text to speech on Kindle – A great accessibility feature for all

Expaning on my previous post about accessibility features being features for all and not just those that rely on them, I decided to highlight one of the features my sighted friends use.

Setting up VoiceOver to read Kindle books out loud. This is a great feature and one that can make reading a book a breeze. Want to have a book read to you while working at the computer? Commuting on the train? Well this will allow you to do it without purchasing the audiobook! This is the feature I use to read all my books. Without it I frankly wouldn’t be able to read.

This feature has been made far easier with iOS7 too. As the ability to activate VoiceOver and invert colours has been added to Siri. This alone is great for me, now I can pickup my wifes iPhone or indeed anybodys and with a quick Siri command be able to use it. This is great for doing quick things like making a call on someone elses phone, or quickly checking something on the internet. So lets get down to how its done!

Activate VoiceOver – Activate Siri and issue the command “turn on VoiceOver”.

This activates VoiceOver and a press of the home button returns you to the home screen. Now you can launch Kindle in one of two ways: With the Siri command “laumch Kindle” or by using VoceOver gestures. To use the VoiceOver gesture tap the Kindle icon then do an additional single finger double tap to launch the app.

Once in the Kindle app you can activate the actual book by tapping the content, then a single finger double tap to activate it. A quick double finger swipe down will begin reading the book. Thats it! Your book will now be read to you. However you can conserve battery power by issuing a three finger quadruple tap. This will turn on Screen Curtain, a feature that turns off the screen but allows you to issue VoiceOver gestures. With screen curtain turned on simple double finger swipe down to begin reading again. You can turn off screen curtain with a triple finger quadruple tap. A quick warning a three finger, triple tap turns off the Voice for VoiceOver, which at first can be quite scary as your phone appears to stop working, so quickly turn the voice back on with a three finger triple tap and you will be back working. When finished you can disable VoiceOver using the Siri command “turn VoiceOver off”.

I personally think this is one of the greatest accessibility features for sighted and non sighted people. As the ability to have a book read aloud with a few taps is fantastic.

Below is a video of this in action that people can follow along too. A little side note I have VoiceOver sped up on my phone so yours may sound a little slower. This can be changed in the accessibility settings under VoiceOver if required.

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