Today marks the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), which promotes the rights and well-being of people with disabilities globally.
Throughout 2020, we recognized a number of significant milestones. This included the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and the 10th anniversary of the 21st Century Communication and Video Accessibility Act. Each of these movements helps to raise awareness of accessibility and honor the importance of building a more inclusive world for people with disabilities.
This year’s IDPD theme is focused on building a disability-inclusive, accessible, and sustainable world post-COVID-19. At Amazon, accessibility means creating products that are impactful and delightful for everyone. We aim to build for everyone today and for the future, alongside people with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
An estimated 15 percent of the world’s population—or more than one billion people—live with a disability. Our devices and services must reflect and serve customers’ needs, and we are committed to listening to all of them and inventing on their behalf. While there’s much more to do, we continue to build accessibility features across our devices and services around the world.
Some features and improvements we’ve released in 2020:
- Text Banner on Fire TV displays a rectangular box on the screen with the title of the currently focused item and related text. This can be helpful for individuals with visual impairments or a narrow field of vision, such as retinitis pigmentosa;
- Reading Ruler helps readers improve their concentration and focus by highlighting several lines of text in Kindle Reading Apps and allowing readers to customize the color, style, size, position, and opacity of the ruler to create their most comfortable reading environment;
- Real Time Text allows customers to type text to each other during an Alexa call or Drop In, with the text appearing character by character on their Alexa app or Echo device with a screen;
- Braille display support and Braille Screen Input enable customers to type and read braille on their Fire tablet and connected braille display, as well as type text in braille directly on their tablet’s touch screen;
- Switch Access allows customers with mobility impairments to navigate and interact with their Fire tablet;
- Prime Video’s library of movies with audio description continues to grow with thousands of titles, including new Amazon Studios’ original movies and shows;
- Voiceitt and Alexa today announced an integration—coming soon—to support individuals with speech disabilities, enabling them to use Alexa.
To help our customers learn about the many accessibility-focused features we offer, we recently launched the new Alexa Accessibility hub, providing a central resource to discover Alexa Accessibility features, how-tos, and customer stories. The Amazon Accessibility hub has also been revamped to make it easier for customers with disabilities to discover everything we offer across our devices, services, and more in a consolidated location.
We believe technology should be inclusive, accessible and useful to everyone. By inventing new experiences that support all of our customers, we help create a more accessible world.