Freedom Scientific Collaborates with Amazon to Improve JAWS Access to the Kindle App for PC

Last month, we told you about a recent change to Twitter.com that caused shortcut keys to no longer work, and the subsequent collaboration between Freedom Scientific and Twitter that resolved the issue. Now we’d like to share another collaboration between Freedom Scientific and a mainstream company that has resulted in greater access to digital books.

Amazon’s Kindle App for Windows is frequently used in many settings, including at home and in a variety of school environments. For students who are blind, accessing textbooks is often challenging, especially with subjects such as math that may contain a great deal of visual content. Conversely, teachers are constantly searching for ways to make textbooks and other learning materials accessible to students while in the classroom setting so they can utilize the same tools as their sighted peers.

Thanks to a collaboration between Freedom Scientific and Amazon, improved support for the Kindle app was introduced in JAWS 2019 to address these needs, increasing access to materials both in and outside the classroom. The JAWS engineering team met regularly with members of Amazon’s test, engineering, and management teams throughout this process to identify and resolve issues in a collaborative test/development cycle. As a result, key features were implemented that took existing JAWS support for the Kindle for PC app to the next level.

Reading Math Content

Reading math content in Kindle books is now possible for speech and braille users in the Kindle App for PC with JAWS and Fusion. Math expressions are shown in braille using Nemeth code, a system for reading and writing math that is exclusive to the English language.

Reading math content in the Kindle app is very similar to accessing it on web pages. When mathematical content is found in a Kindle book, JAWS will describe the particular expression, which can also be accessed using a refreshable braille display. Pressing ENTER on this content will open a feature we implemented called the Math Viewer, which can be used to explore the expression in greater detail.

Reading Text

Additional access has also been provided to increase performance when reading text in the Kindle App for PC. For example, you can use these keyboard shortcuts:

  • U or SHIFT+U – Move to the next or previous link in the text
  • N or SHIFT+N – Move to the next or prior block of text
  • INSERT+PAGE DOWN – Read the status bar.

Other improvements include:

  • Support for reading page numbers
  • Support for endnotes, footnotes, and annotations
  • Support for table commands

This is yet another example of the progress made when Access Technology and larger companies come together to open doors and increase possibilities. You can learn more about these and other improvements by visiting our JAWS Support Page.

Want to know more about how great communication and collaboration combine to enhance the overall user experience? Keep checking our blog for future posts where we’ll share how we’re continuing to work with mainstream companies to improve your access.