Amazon is updating its Alexa app with a new feature. Alexa will wait longer to reply in order to help those who have speech impairments finish commands.

As first reported by Forbes, this functionality, which is opt-in, will be “helpful to those who have a speech impairment” and “will make Alexa feel more useful and more inclusive.”

“Alexa is a voice-first experience, and we are always looking for ways to improve speech recognition for all speaking styles. Some customers have told us they just need a bit more time before Alexa responds to their requests,” said Shehzad Mevawalla, head of Alexa Speech Recognition at Amazon. “That’s why we’ve built this feature – to help improve all customers’ interactions with Alexa, and ensure they get the most out of their experience.

Since Amazon’s personal assistant is present on so many devices, it’s important for the company to add more accessibility features.

At the beginning of the year, the company brought dark/light mode settings as well as compatibility with Apple’s system-wide Dynamic Type feature, which allows users to set a system-wide text size that works across iOS apps. Here’s how users can benefit:

The accessibility benefits are twofold: The Alexa app is more accessible for users who need considerably larger text, and they needn’t have to adjust text size in the app itself any longer because Dynamic Type bows to a user’s global setting. This is not only a feature of convenience for visually impaired users, it also helps those with fine-motor and/or atypical cognition. Having to tediously go through every app on one’s device(s) to alter text size requires a lot of excess tapping, as well as increases cognitive load for people who may have trouble remembering where and how to tweak the setting.

More recently, the Amazon Alexa app received a new widget for your iPhone home screen, which makes it easier for you to start a command with your Apple device.

What do you think about this new accessibility feature? Tell us in the comment section below.

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About the Author

José Adorno

Brazilian tech Journalist. Author at 9to5Mac. Previously at tv globo, the main TV broadcaster in Latin America.

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