Amazon has new features for deaf and speech-impaired users. It’s called “Tap to Alexa,” and it lets owners of the Echo Show touchscreen smart speaker tap on the screen to access customizable shortcuts to common Alexa tricks, including weather, news headlines, timers and more. Users can rearrange those shortcuts or exchange them for other shortcuts. There’s also a new keyboard icon that you can select, and you’ll be able to type out a specific Alexa command with no need to talk.
Amazon says that you’ll be able to add shortcut buttons that can trigger Alexa Routines. Routines are custom Alexa commands that can trigger multiple actions at once. For example, saying “Alexa, lock down,” could lock your smart locks, close your smart blinds and turn on your home’s smart lights all at once. With Tap to Alexa, you’ll now be able to trigger those same Routines by tapping a button on the Show’s screen. That’s a nice accessibility upgrade for the speech impaired.
You can turn Tap to Alexa on in the Accessibility section of the Echo Show’s settings.
To turn Tap to Alexa on, just navigate to the updated “Accessibility” section of the Echo Show settings menu and toggle it on. While there, you can also enable transcripts for any incoming voice messages, as well as on-screen captions for everything Alexa says.
Also, that Alexa captioning feature, which has been available in the US for a few months, will make its debut in Canada, Germany, Japan, India, France, UK, Australia and New Zealand as well.
For now, Tap to Alexa is only available to the Echo Show, but an Amazon spokesperson says that the company is also working to bring it to the smaller-sized Echo Spot as well. There’s no word yet on whether or not the feature will also come to always-on Fire tablets docked in Show Mode.