Blog Date: 
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Clara Van Gerven and Amy Mason

I admit that we didn’t have high hopes for the Nook HD+ Slate accessibility features, but we were determined to give it our best shot. The device turned on without a peep as I searched through the Barnes & Noble site in search of any indications of accessibility features. No luck. Nothing in the documentation either, so I picked the chat option and asked a rep. No speech access to menus, they said, and speech in some books. Which books? I should tap the center of the page to see. That is how I discovered that some of the books I had previously obtained were not available, so no tapping availed me, sighted or with speech. I will spare you the details, but four B&N rep chats, at least six hours of charging, a lot of archiving and unarchiving of books, two de-registrations, and a credit card (you need one, even if all you books are free!) later two things were became clear:

  • There is no speech on this device, with the very limited exception of Read to Me children’s books. This is in spite of the fact that a text to speech engine is listed in the options.
  • Nook support chat is FUN. Here’s one example. I’ve removed the rep’s name because my experiences with other reps were similar. All other text is exactly as in the chat:

Rep: How may I help you today?
Clara: Hi
Rep: Hello Clara.
Clara: One quick question about my new Nook HD
Rep: Please.
Clara: Do you know if there's any speech on it?
Clara: Does it read books out loud or read the menus?
Rep: You can adjust the volume of the device for the audio books.
Clara: but the print books don't read like on the Kindle?
Rep: Yes.
Clara: they don't?
Rep: Clara, it depends on the publisher of the book and on the format of the book.
Clara: but some do read then? Does any of the menu read?
Clara: and where do you turn that on?
Rep: You cannot do that on NOOK devices, becuase if the book is available with the compatable format you can do that from BN website.
Clara: how does that work?
Clara: Hello?

Chat session has been closed due to inactivity.


I rest my case.