Help needed to make iOS games more accessible, please read

Hey guys, First of all, sorry for posting so much lately. Feel free to just let me know if you want me to p**s off because I'm doing your head in with all these posts lol. Anyway, back to my point. I'm wanting to somehow make more iOS and Mac games more accessible with VO. While there are some on iOS that are accessible, the most popular ones with sighted people are not, such as Candy Crush, Angry Birds, 4 pics 1 word etc. And on the mac side, I only know of 1 game, or set of games if you like, that is accessible, and that is the RS games client. So does anyone know how I could get accross to the developers how much of a big deal this is to us blind users? The number of times I've emailed developers saying how their apps need to be made accessible and they've just said yes we'll consider it and it never happens, or just not heard back from them at all is unbelievable! I feel if we can get as many people highlighting accessibility as possible, it's more likely to happen. Can anyone suggest a way of highlighting it to them and help with it? Thanks very much. Callum.


I hate to be the voice of

I hate to be the voice of gloom and doom, but beyond the challenges of actually getting big app developers to take the time and effort to invest in accessibility (which is possible, if you're lucky), I think there's a larger problem with your goal. Some games are inaccessible because, in order to be accessible, they wouldn't be the same game. We could send thousands of emails requesting an accessible version of Angry Birds, but at the end of the day, I think the best we could expect is an accessible game vaguely related to Angry Birds. The very nature of some games prevents them from being accessible. This doesn't mean we should stop lobbying for accessibility in those games which could be made accessible; nor does it mean we shouldn't encourage app developers to consider accessibility when designing future games. But at the end of the day, some games just aren't designed in a way that allows for accessibility, and nothing can be done about that as long as the game remains what it is. Please don't let this come across as negativity or discouragement. I think there's a lot of room for greater accessibility in iOS games. But I do think there are limits to what we can expect, and some of those can't be solved by convincing game developers that they should make their games accessible.

accessible games

It would be nice if developers would some how find ways to make their games accessible. Maybe change the interface a little when VoiceOver is detected? I would kind of like to play that new Candy Crush game everyone is playing.

It's not as easy you think.. or as hard as some developers think

It's not as easy as that, you can't just make Angry Birds blind-accessible by flicking a switch in the code. If you're talking about something like that, taking a game mechanic that is not well suited to voiceover and completely reworking it into a pretty much a new game, then you can pretty much forget about it. However on the other hand there are many mechanics and interfaces that suit themselves extremely well to VO accessibility, and can be very easily adapted.. so easily that Zynga accidentally made hanging with friends (mostly) VO accessible. Occasionally just asking for a game to be made accessible can work (there are examples of that happening), but as you've found from your emails that's not usually the case. You stand the best chance if, instead of saying it needs to be made accessible, you can tell them exactly how it can be made accessible. If it's a simple enough task, they have enough spare time on their hands, and are feeling altruistic enough, then it may get done. There is another angle too, the business case angle. There's money to be made from blind gamers. MUDRammer is the one single available example of this - to make his game took him 24 hours, he since discovered that 10% of his players used voiceover, and that the work to make it VO accessibility generated him a profit 'more or less immediately'. That's a powerful angle, but there are currently no other examples of the data being tracked and shared. It's just one simple line of code that they need to include to tell them whehter or not their players use voiceover, so I'd really strongly recommend playing a bit of a longer game, contact the devs of mainstream mass market games that have -already- been made VO accessible, and ask them to share their business case data: what percentage of / how many of their players use VO, and how that compares to the cost to make it accessible, if it was therefore profitable and if so by what percentage. That is some real ammunition, being able to quote data like that and target games that are very easy to adapt is far more likely to have success than to contact a developer saying "I'm from a small minority, please reengineer your whole game for me".

another reason

Was reminded via Twitter - if devs have said they will and then don't, it could well be that they looked into it and discovered that it's not technically possible. If they're developing natively, coding from scratch, it's fine. But many developers build on top of someone else's code, which saves a great deal of time and money. And doesn't require the same type of expertise. And those starting code frameworks are not constructed in a way that allows screenreader accessibility to work, meaning that anything made with them cannot be screenreader accessible. I've run into the same issue myself a couple of times, working on products built using Corona and Air.

HI. on the mac there is also

HI. on the mac there is also change reaction and silver dollar that are totally accessible. hope to see more audio games for the mac in the future.

Have you thought of which

Have you thought of which type of game yet? Accessible games nowadays are mostly sort of word puzzles. For me, experiential game, such as racing and sports is the most attractive. I think it can be created by adopting the same concept as the accessible shooting game does.