Alexa AcessibilitySource: Amazon

What you need to know

  • Amazon is making changes to Alexa to make it wait longer for stutterers to finish a command or question.
  • The change is part of a new update to the Alexa app on iPhones.

Amazon is changing the way Alexa waits for commands and questions, making the digital assistant wait longer for stutterers. The move, which will be via an opt-in setting in the iPhone Alexa app, will be hugely beneficial to anyone with a speech impairment.

According to a Forbes article, Amazon is keen to help improve the way people interact with Alexa.

"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, in a statement. "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."

A new version of the Alexa app is now available for download from the App Store, although in typical Amazon fashion the update's release notes simply say the following:

Various bug fixes and performance improvements.

You'd think such a big accessibility feature would get more explanation, wouldn't you?

Virtual assistants are already big deals in terms of accessibility and this move by Amazon is a great one for expanding the number of people who can comfortably use such a popular one. Amazon's new speech setting can be enabled for Alexa-powered devices by going to the Device Settings page in the Alexa app.

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