Universities drop “discriminatory” Kindle DX

Kindle DX Blind

Universities in four states have agreed to halt schemes to use electronic reading devices until they are fully usable by blind people. The decision concludes a Justice Department investigation over the use of Amazon’s Kindle DX.

The National Federation of the Blind and the American Council of the Blind had sued the universities for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The groups complained that using the devices meant blind people were not getting equal opportunities in education.

Although the Kindle DX used in the universities does have a text-to-speech facility, it only applies to the book and magazine content itself. The device’s menu system is visual only, meaning a blind person can’t actually access the text-to-speech tool without assistance.

The affected universities are Case Western (Ohio), Pace (New York), Reed College (Oregon) and Arizona State. Though all four cases involved the Kindle DX, the agreement covers all makes and models of electronic reader.

Assistant attorney general Thomas Perez said “Advancing technology is systematically changing the way universities approach education, but we must be sure that emerging technologies offer individuals with disabilities the same opportunities as other students.”

The agreement doesn’t take effect until the end of this semester. That’s to make sure ongoing projects which use the Kindle can be completed without disruption.

Amazon hasn’t commented on the deal but has previously announced it is working on an audible menu system for future models in the Kindle range. It’s also adding a large print mode to help those with visual impairment.

The voluntary agreement means there’s been no legal ruling on whether the use of such devices without full accessibility features does indeed breach discrimination laws. No damage awards have been made and each party is paying their own legal fees.

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8 Responses to Universities drop “discriminatory” Kindle DX

  1. How Stupid can people be… I understand the need to develop accessibility for those who have challenges, I am all for that,I design and build adaptive devices for a local special needs hospital. But to Stopping a program that benefits the greater just because a small group are temporary left out is Stupid.
    Simply work with the Kendle people to make the needed improvements. Removing the Kindle does not help the blind but only penalize the seeing.There are already tools being used for the blind, the same tools that will be used when the kindle is removed.
    Not everyone can be made to have equal access all the time. They did not make the library remove every books that there was not a braille copy of.
    Blind people can’t see the pretty flowers or the beautiful architecture so lets remove those to so they wont’ feel left out.
    I am not trying to be a butt but you can’t expect everyone to wait wile others catch up.

  2. How Stupid can people be… I understand the need to develop accessibility for those who have challenges, I am all for that,I design and build adaptive devices for a local special needs hospital. But to Stopping a program that benefits the greater just because a small group are temporary left out is Stupid.

    Simply work with the Kendle people to make the needed improvements. Removing the Kindle does not help the blind but only penalize the seeing.There are already tools being used for the blind, the same tools that will be used when the kindle is removed.

    Not everyone can be made to have equal access all the time. They did not make the library remove every books that there was not a braille copy of.

    Blind people can't see the pretty flowers or the beautiful architecture so lets remove those to so they wont' feel left out.

    I am not trying to be a butt but you can't expect everyone to wait wile others catch up.

  3. No, it’s not stupid, because that’s how groups are left behind.
    Or do you think it’s better to just march on ignoring disabled users, whilst assuring them that you’ll make an effort to bring them back on board at a later date??

  4. No, it's not stupid, because that's how groups are left behind.

    Or do you think it's better to just march on ignoring disabled users, whilst assuring them that you'll make an effort to bring them back on board at a later date??

  5. Ok.. lets then be fare.

    Remove all the shelves that are above 4 feet so short people can reach.

    Destroy all books that are above a 3rd grade reading level so that slow readers can get there masters also.

    Remove all computers because the they are not 100% accessible to the blind and deaf.

    Lets don’t have any Sporting teams because we can’t all play on a equal level.

    The fact is we are not all equal. And we will never be 100% equal.
    (equal in value …Yes, But not in ability)

    The best we can do is to try to even things out, but ONLY when it means bringing the handicapped up to the level of the standard. NOT lowering the standard down to the handicapped level. (The need of the greater out ways the need of the few)

    Part of being handicapped is learning to deal with the world around us. Yes I said US. I was born blind.

    It is a area that has been overlooked way to long. and every design needs to keep as many conditions in mind as possible. But to say YOU can’t have this because EVERYONE can’t use it is Stupid.

  6. Ok.. lets then be fare.

    Remove all the shelves that are above 4 feet so short people can reach.

    Destroy all books that are above a 3rd grade reading level so that slow readers can get there masters also.

    Remove all computers because the they are not 100% accessible to the blind and deaf.

    Lets don't have any Sporting teams because we can't all play on a equal level.

    The fact is we are not all equal. And we will never be 100% equal.

    (equal in value …Yes, But not in ability)

    The best we can do is to try to even things out, but ONLY when it means bringing the handicapped up to the level of the standard. NOT lowering the standard down to the handicapped level. (The need of the greater out ways the need of the few)

    Part of being handicapped is learning to deal with the world around us. Yes I said US. I was born blind.

    It is a area that has been overlooked way to long. and every design needs to keep as many conditions in mind as possible. But to say YOU can't have this because EVERYONE can't use it is Stupid.