Technology has revolutionised the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us. However, individuals with disabilities often face barriers in accessing and utilising the tools that many of us take for granted. Recognising this need, Amazon India has implemented a comprehensive strategy to integrate inclusivity across its operations, products, and services.
National Award from President Murmu for empowering PWDs
On December 3 (International Day of Persons with Disabilities), Amazon India received the prestigious National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities from Droupadi Murmu, President of India. This award recognises the company’s contributions toward creating an inclusive and accessible environment for individuals with disabilities.
At Amazon India, inclusivity is at the core of our values, and we are dedicated to creating an environment where everyone can thrive. This national recognition reaffirms our dedication to fostering an inclusive workplace and society, ensuring that individuals with disabilities have equal opportunities and access to resources.
Amazon aims to improve the off-roll and on-roll representations of PWDs across its operation sites in India by 2-8x.
Amazon collaborates with the central government and multiple state governments through MoUs for providing skilling and job opportunities for PWDs. It also works with NGOs and national institutes to facilitate skill-building programs.
Accessibility across shopping, devices and services
Amazon has also integrated a suite of accessibility features into its shopping experience, devices, and services empowering individuals with diverse abilities to seamlessly interact with technology. Here are some of the top features across Amazon’s ecosystem that make life easier for people of all abilities, including those with vision, learning, speech and mobility differences.
Preferred Speaking Rate
Alexa's Preferred Speaking Rate feature allows users to adjust the speed at which Alexa speaks and take it to a level that is comfortable for them to understand. This feature is particularly helpful for individuals who have difficulty processing auditory information quickly, such as those with partial hearing loss or auditory processing disorders. By adjusting the speaking rate, users can ensure that they fully comprehend Alexa's responses and engage effectively with the AI.
Alexa Captions and Closed Captions
Alexa Captions provides a visual representation of Alexa's spoken responses on compatible Echo Show smart speakers. This feature is designed to assist individuals who are hearing impaired, allowing them to follow along with conversations and access information even if they cannot hear clearly. The captions are displayed on the Echo Show screen, synchronised with Alexa's speech, ensuring that users can stay informed and engaged. The Closed Caption feature allows users to enjoy a wide range of video content without relying solely on audio cues. The captions are displayed in real-time, synchronised with the video's audio track, providing an inclusive viewing experience for all users.
Virtual sign language KYC on Amazon Pay
Amazon Pay has launched a virtual sign language Know Your Customer (KYC) service. It is tailored specifically for individuals with hearing and speech impairments and is aimed at breaking down communication barriers and enabling them to virtually interact seamlessly with Amazon Pay representatives. The new feature facilitates two-way communication via video between Amazon Pay representatives trained in Indian sign language and customers with special needs.
Dialogue Boost on Prime Video
Prime Video recently rolled out the Dialogue Boost feature that lets you increase the volume of dialogue relative to background music and effects, creating a more comfortable and accessible viewing experience. Dialogue Boost analyses the original audio in a movie or series and intelligently identifies points where dialogue may be hard to hear above background music and effects. Then, speech patterns are isolated and audio is enhanced to make the dialogue clearer. While Dialogue Boost was built with the needs of customers who are hard of hearing in mind, anyone can use the feature to suit their personal listening preferences.
Tap to Alexa
Tap to Alexa empowers individuals with speech disabilities to interact with Alexa using the touchscreen of their Echo Show device instead of relying on voice commands. This feature provides an alternative communication method, enabling users to access a variety of helpful Alexa features, such as making calls, controlling smart home devices, checking the weather, playing music, setting alarms and timers, and more. By tapping on the specific command, individuals with speech impairments can engage with Alexa independently and effectively.
Adaptive Listening enhances the accessibility of Alexa for individuals with speech disabilities by extending the time before Alexa responds to a voice command. This feature provides users with more time to finish speaking while delivering a command, thereby ensuring that Alexa accurately captures their requests. Adaptive Listening also includes auditory cues that indicate when Alexa is ready to receive a command and when a request has been successfully executed, providing non-visual feedback that further enhances the user experience.
Voice search on Amazon shopping app
The Amazon shopping app supports the voice search feature which allows users to navigate the shopping app and search for products with simple voice commands. This can be particularly helpful for people with visual impairments and mobility disabilities.
Screen magnifier addresses the needs of individuals with low vision by enlarging specific areas of the screen on Echo Show smart speakers. This feature allows users to zoom in on text, icons, and other visual elements, making them easier to see and interact with. The magnification level can be controlled using voice commands or touch gestures, enabling users to adjust the display to their specific needs and preferences.
VoiceView provides a comprehensive screen reader experience for Echo Show smart speakers, enabling individuals who are blind or have low vision to navigate and interact with the device using voice commands. VoiceView delivers auditory descriptions of the Echo Show screen, including text, menus, and other visual elements. Users can access and control various features and functions of the device through voice commands, ensuring an independent and accessible user experience.
Colour correction and inversion
Colour correction accommodates the needs of individuals with colour blindness by adjusting the colour rendering on Echo Show smart speakers. This feature allows users to customise the color palette of the display to enhance visibility and reduce visual strain. The color correction options are tailored to specific types of colour blindness, such as deuteranopia, protanopia, and tritanopia, ensuring that users can comfortably interact with the device. The Echo smart speakers also come with a colour inversion feature that alleviates visual discomfort for individuals with light sensitivity by inverting the colours on the screen.
Smart home integration
Smart home integration empowers individuals with mobility disabilities to control their home environment using simple voice commands through Alexa. This feature allows users to turn on lights, adjust the AC, and control other compatible appliances, and perform other tasks without having to move from their bed or chair. Smart home integration enhances independence, security, and control for individuals with mobility limitations.
Voice Controls on Fire TV
Fire TV, the streaming media player service from Amazon comes with a range of accessibility features. Users can search for and play content by speaking to microphone icon on the Fire TV remote or connected Echo smart speaker. Additionally, users can turn TV on or off using voice commands to Alexa.