Amazon Fire TV Launches Text Banner for Visually Impaired

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Amazon rolled out Text Banner, a feature designed to help visually impaired viewers enjoy the content on the Fire TV platform.

Text Banner is an assistive technology for people with a narrow field of vision, including eye conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinitis pigmentosa, Amazon told Digital Trends. The feature consolidates the onscreen text in a fixed location, within a compact space.

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The feature, which is compatible with the entire Fire TV user interface and Prime Video, may be enabled through the platform’s Settings, under the Accessibility menu. Among the available options include the location of the Text Banner and the colors that it will use.

The concept for Text Banner came from conversations at last year’s CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, where visually impaired customers told Amazon engineers that they needed a feature that displays configurable, high-contrast text, Peter Korn, director of accessibility at Amazon’s Lab126, told Forbes. A prototype that would eventually turn into the feature was then developed at the company’s Accessibility Hackathon.

Accessibility on Amazon

Text Banner adds to the accessibility features that Amazon has rolled out across its various platforms. For visually impaired people, another initiative includes the VoiceView screen reader, which allows gestures to navigate Amazon devices and supports Braille reading and typing. There is also the Screen Magnifier, which zooms in to selected onscreen items. These two features are also available on Fire TV.

Amazon also has accessibility features for hearing, mobility, speech, and learning, across its Fire TV, Echo, Fire Tablets, and Kindle devices.

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