Kindle Font Size Feature Makes Reading Easier for Visually Impaired Readers

Since the Kindle was introduced in 2007, it has eased the burden on visually impaired readers considerably by incorporating six font size adjustment options.   The font size adjustment on the  Kindle is a great feature because it eliminates the need to buy heavy, cumbersome large print books.  Large print books are often very expensive and are not readily available.  However, more can be done to make reading more pleasurable for this group of readers.

In addition to large print books, visually impaired readers use another device called a CCTV.

CCTV Video Magnifier
A visually impaired user uses a CCTV to enlarge the font on her book.

These devices tend to run in the $4000 price range, which is a pretty hefty price tag. The reader places the book on a platform under a computer screen and adjusts the font size and color schemes to fit their reading needs.  If the Kindle can include more font sizes into its options available, just imagine how much easier, less expensive and more portable reading would be for these readers!

The dream takes a closer step towards reality this summer.  Amazon plans to make more font size options available during the summer of 2010, according to this WebProNews article .   The amount of font size options will increase from six to eleven. The seventh font option, a “super font”, will be double the size of the largest font size currently available on the Kindle.  At last, visually impaired users will be able read with comfort and not have to worry about eye strain and muscle soreness from lugging a large book around.  The expense of purchasing large equipment such as the CCTV will be drastically cut by purchasing a $259 Kindle.

5 thoughts on “Kindle Font Size Feature Makes Reading Easier for Visually Impaired Readers”

  1. As someone that is legally blind, I love the font options on Kindle and can’t wait for more! I hope they also add the accessible menu’s so that the commission for the blind will endorse them. I think it would be great to see a handicap option from publishers that would allow all ebooks to be TTS for blind readers. I’m not sure if the industry has this much forsight, but it would be great. I would also love to see better PDF zooming on the Kindle. Right now PDF’s are pretty much a non-starter for me because I can’t adjust the font size, and there is no concept of zoom. We know the Kindle can zoom to some extent, because it does so when you flip the orientation.

    All this said, I’m VERY excited for Kindle now and am delighted to see expansion to include more fonts. Keep up the great work Amazon!

  2. I too am legally blind, and legally deaf. I will not buy a Kindle until all the accessibility stuff is in place. Apple’s iPad failed here in many small ways. Zoom and voiceover is not the one size fits all answer.
    And as a scholar I really need Kindle to support my workflow of research. Right now Kindle is another walled garden. I want to sit in a chair to read and annotate deeply an ebook and then wirelessly transfer my annotations to my iMac for writing a paper. Publishers right now wont allow me to fully do my work. They need to respect Fair-use of content. I don’t want to steal, just to easily grab direct quotes to summarize or cite in a paper. Kindle needs to support fully scholarship. If I am wrong on any of my concerns please teach me otherwise.

  3. I am both legally blind and have dyslexia. I was very disappointed when Amazon caved in to the publishers about text-to-speech. I am also not a blind fanatic. I would love it if there could be a registration program for disabled user so we could have all content available to us. There is such a program for the National Library of Congress. Blind advocates have rejected such a option. I do not many individuals who have learning disabilities, like mine, need alternatives. A registration process which would unlock a Kindle and make it accessible with text-to-speech would be a great option. Thanks for your consideration.l

  4. My wife virtually commandeered the Kindle DX off me and left me with the K2i, because she needs largeer print for her vision. While the 6″ K2i can also do large print, the smaller screen meant that less information was available per screen to read, which meant a lot of page turning for her. With the 9″ DX, she has the benefit of larger text and a reasonable quantity of text per page, cutting down on page turns. This works for her. So remember, when you ask for bigger fonts, the larger they are, the LESS text you can read per page, and since screen refresh isn’t instant when turning pages, this can become annoying.

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