iPad 2 or Kindle Fire for visually impaired?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by nope7308, Dec 19, 2011.

  1. nope7308 macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    I recently received a "gift request" for the Kindle Fire on the basis that it can read ebooks to the person operating it. I have no experience with the iPad or the Kindle Fire, so I'm looking for an honest assessment.

    This will be for a person who has no vision on the left side, impaired vision on the right side, and only has the use of one arm.

    I'm worried that the Kindle fire, being a 7" screen, might be difficult (if not impossible) to navigate. Moreover, I don't know if the "reading" feature is unique to the Fire, or if the iPad can do it too. The main use will likely be audiobooks/ebooks, with some minimal email/internet use.

    Which would you recommend and why? Please keep in mind that the more complicated features will almost never be used. I simply have no experience with either device, so I'm counting on informed opinion. It would be GREAT if you could download free ebooks (e.g., Project Gutenberg), which could then be read aloud. If you have to purchase these books for both devices, well, so be it.

    From the little I know about the iPad, I like the concept of the smart cover, which helps with placing/securing the device (remember, use of one arm). The large spacing between big icons might also prove helpful. Does the iBooks application read books aloud? Just to confirm, is this also a feature of the Kindle Fire, or have I received misleading information?

    As you can tell, I know next to nothing about tablets. I don't own a tablet, nor do I have any need for one, so informed opinion would be most helpful. Thanks!
  2. Ecoh, Dec 19, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011

    Ecoh macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2009
    On the iPad you can turn on an accessibility feature called VoiceOver. VoiceOver will read iBooks and give visually impaired people help in navigating the menus on the iPad.

    I don't know anything about the Fire so I can't help you with that.

    My father is blind in one eye, very bad vision in the other eye. He really enjoys using his iPad. He can actually read by enlarging the print, I think if the screen were any smaller there would be so few words on the page it would be annoying.

    Link explains Voiceover.
  3. LiloThePleo, Dec 19, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2011

    LiloThePleo macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2010
    The iPad boasts a lot of accessibility features right out of the box, but also check the app store and see what is available.

    I have a friend who is vision impaired to the point where she is considered legally blind and her iPad is her lifeline to living a more normal life. She uses the free dragon dictation to write, and prefers it over her Braille keyboard. The voice over works very well, you may want to slow it down a tad though, I believe my friend has it at 10%


    I'm afraid I can't comment on the kindle but my first thought would be to check how acessable and easy to use the buttons are and the interface.
  4. lucidmedia macrumors 6502a

    Oct 13, 2008
    Wellington, New Zealand
    The "reading feature" is not unique to the kindle, but understand that many publishers set a DRM flag to disallow their books from being used with that feature... so it has limited usefulness.
  5. Jason S. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2007
    Project Gutenberg books are actually in the iBookstore and they are free.

    As for VoiceOver, it will indeed read the books, as well as any other text. If you turn the iPad, it will actually announce whether it is in portrait or landscape mode, and even tell you which side the home button is on (left or right) in landscape mode.

    When VoiceOver is enabled, it changes the gestures on the device. You tap an item once to have it read aloud, and twice (a double tab) to activate it (in the case of an icon or button).

    The iPad also allows you to turn on a Zoom feature, that allows you to zoom in on any part of the screen in any application. And you can increase the text size immensely as well.
  6. Speedyparker87 macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2010
    The iPad 3 will likely feature the voice controlled Siri and is likely to come out by April if not sooner based off the rumors. In this case, it may be worth the wait.
  7. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Apple iOS has great accessibility features for the visually impaired. Nothing else comes close.
  8. nope7308 thread starter macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks for the feedback. I called Amazon and the Kindle Fire is most certainly NOT accessible. The voice over on the Kindle is not a supported feature, so I presume some third party app is required. It isn't even capable of resizing the navigation buttons, so a 7" tablet is essentially useless. I would prefer to wait for the iPad 3, but this is a Christmas gift... besides, I doubt she would use any of the more advanced features. The retina display is obviously unimportant in this context.

    Thanks again for all the helpful info. Happy holidays!
  9. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    The basic (non-tablet) Kindles will "read" print books.
  10. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I was also thinking that the e-ink Kindles might be an option, especially since they are considerably lighter than either the iPad or the Fire. However, as another poster has pointed out, not all books allow the "read out loud" option. And I have no idea how hard or easy it is for a visually impaired person to navigate the e-ink Kindle interface.
  11. warghh macrumors newbie

    Oct 27, 2011
    Just checked out the accessibility on my iPad. WOW, they talk fast, but you can slow it down. One thing I noticed was that you can get a bluetooth braille reader, which may be of interest.

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