About the Blind Low Vision skill

Our skill includes information about the range of services available from Blind Low Vision NZ, including priority news and upcoming member events across the country. You can also find out about our office locations, or request a call back for assistance.
The Library service in our skill lets you now read audio books, magazines, and newspapers from Blind Low Vision NZ with your Alexa, using voice control. With more than 36,000 book titles in our collection, Blind Low Vision NZ’s Library features New Zealand and international audio books, and selected magazines produced in studio. Just ask Alexa to find a book or magazine, and you can listen directly online. You can search by author, title, or just ask for a random book to start reading. We also have daily newspaper articles available from more than 60 local newspapers, provided by kind permission of their publishers.

Skill requirements

To get started with your Amazon Alexa, you will need:

  • Stable access to a wifi (wireless Internet) network, with a user name and password;
  • An Internet connected device (laptop, tablet, or smart phone) to configure and manage your Alexa device on your home network;
  • An Amazon user account, configured with your personal email address;
  • An Amazon Alexa smart speaker, such as an Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, etc.

To register an Amazon account, you need to be aged 18 or over, and have access to your own email account. Within New Zealand, it’s preferable to create your Amazon account on www.amazon.com.au. This will ensure better localization when you set up your Alexa, so that you can use it more effectively with other skills besides Blind Low Vision NZ.

To use the library service with Alexa, you will first need to be a Blind Low Vision NZ Library member, or have a print disability. Registered Blind Low Vision NZ clients and New Zealand citizens/residents with a print disability are eligible to join. For more information, visit ‘Accessing our Library’ or call us on 0800 24 33 33.

Once you have created an Amazon account, you can register your account e-mail address with Blind Low Vision NZ, in order to gain access to our library collections. Please call us on 0800 24 33 33 to confirm your Amazon account with the Library team.

How does the skill work?

When you start the skill for the first time, Alexa will start by offering you a tutorial in basic operations. In the tutorial, you can practice interacting with Alexa, asking for help, looking for books, and choosing books from a menu. You can then get started requesting your own books, magazines, and newspapers to read. The next time you start the skill, Alexa will ask whether you would like to carry on with the last title you were reading. While you are reading a title, you can increase or decrease the volume, and skip between chapters. When you go back to a book you have started reading, Alexa will take you back to the place you left off.

To launch the skill:

  • Say, “Alexa, start Blind Low Vision”, or “Alexa, open Blind Low Vision.”

More information:

Getting connected

We have prepared accessible guides to help you connect your Alexa device using a range of other smart devices. These are available for download in Word format:

Skill Tutorials

Introduction to Alexa

Alexa is a smart speaker that acts like a personal assistant. You can ask her questions or request her to do a task for you.

Introduction to Blind Low Vision skill

Our library service skill is called Blind Low Vision. This skill can currently play audiobooks, magazines, and newspapers.

More Blind Low Vision skill commands

There are a few other commands you might find helpful.

User Testimonials

Trevor Plumbly

Alexa is fast, simple and convenient. “Talking is so important to blind people. Having this in the house is just the same as having another person, I think that’s fantastic”.

The video starts with the following quote by Trevor Plumbly “Having this in the house is just the same as having another person, I think that’s fantastic.”

Leyna Coleman

Alexa is simple, just speak to her. “I am very impressed with how responsive she is. I think that whole concept of being able to just use my voice, I think it has taken a lot of access barriers away and made things faster”.

The video starts with the following quote by Leyna Coleman “Once you’ve got it set up, just open your mouth and talk to her, and she talks back.”

Gwen Doria

The Blind Low Vision Alexa skill helps our elderly clients stay in touch with the world.

“Some of our clients say I can’t really get out… I can’t watch TV, because I can’t see, so the audio books give them company.”

The video starts with the following quote by Gwen Doria “It helps clients to stay in touch with the world I suppose”

Heather Davis

You can ask Alexa anything! “I can’t see the clock very well, so just knowing what the time is, knowing what the weather is doing, it’s like you know there’s a voice there…”

The video starts with the following quote by Heather Davis “It’s kind of company that you can ask her something”.

Privacy policy

The Blind Low Vision Skill does not collect or transmit any user’s personal information, with the exception of technical information included in HTTP requests (such as the IP address). No personal information is used, stored, secured or disclosed by services this application works with, except for the user’s registered Amazon account email address for validation purposes. If you would like to report any violations of this policy, please contact us at applications@blindlowvision.org.nz