Apple's Award-Winning Accessibility Features Help Bring Gaming to the Blind on iOS

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 6, 2015.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Apple today was honored as a recipient of a Helen Keller Achievement Award from the American Foundation for the Blind for the company's accessibility efforts, particularly VoiceOver's ability to give vision-impaired users access to iOS devices. With the advent of the Apple Watch, many of those accessibility features are now also migrating over to the wrist.

    Coincidentally, MacRumors' sister site TouchArcade today took a look at the possibilities for accessibility features in iOS gaming. The report highlights a close-knit community that is gaining the ability to use and interact with experiences on iOS thanks to a few motivated developers taking the time to implement Apple's extensive accessibility options in their own games.

    The genesis of the article came from a single comment posted on an RPG-related piece which included the game King of Dragon Pass [Direct Link]. The user, Zack Kline, caught TouchArcade's attention by mentioning the little talked-about feature of the iOS game implementing a successful and satisfying amount of options to become playable for blind players.

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    Screenshot from King of Dragon Pass​
    The game, originally a PC title, was unable to include accessibility features in the PC version due to time constraints, but designer David Dunham felt adding VoiceOver options to the iOS port simply "seemed like the right thing to do." VoiceOver's simple gesture controls for reading text aloud make King of Dragon Pass, largely a text adventure and interactive story-based game, readily playable for blind users interested in the game.

    Many apps and games lack such support, however, with the shortcoming largely stemming from a need to set priorities in the development process of every game. Given the often tight time constraints for development work, accessibility features frequently rank low on that priority list given the relatively small base of people who would benefit from it. Speaking with TouchArcade, however, Dunham points to a largely painless process of including VoiceOver support for his game, and the larger satisfaction of King of Dragon Pass being playable to even more fans as a result.
    According to Dunham, in the last month or so about 7 percent of players booting up his game have done so in VoiceOver mode. Although that may seem low, Dunham says it was well worth the investment and time consumption of supporting the features in the game. Amir Rajan is the developer of another accessibility-supported iOS game, A Dark Room [Direct Link], and agrees with Dunham. "It's worth it to get a thank you email from a father with a blind daughter that can enjoy a popular game that her seeing friends play too," said Rajan.

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    Of course, the games supporting these features right now are a bit simpler, less intense experiences. The developers supporting these features should be celebrated, but, as members of Apple-focused accessibility site AppleVis point out, the hope for the future is more games built with these features in mind from the get-go.

    The full article on TouchArcade is well worth a read, and goes into even more detail regarding specific testimonies from blind gamers, developer reactions, and the short list for the best accessible iOS gaming experiences out now.

    Article Link: Apple's Award-Winning Accessibility Features Help Bring Gaming to the Blind on iOS
     
  2. furi0usbee macrumors 68000

    furi0usbee

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  3. Hastings101 macrumors 68020

    Hastings101

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    quiet, soft-skin!
     
  4. k1121j macrumors 6502a

    k1121j

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    good work apple i know a FEW blind people that swear by the iPhone as the best thing since sliced bread
     
  5. anomie Suspended

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    To me, that is what makes Apple huge. ******* the numbers and sales records, this is about people!
    Thanks 
     
  6. dilap macrumors 6502a

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    This is great :apple: . Well done! And of course to the other companies such as Google, Microsoft! Hopefully almost anyone can use technology!
     
  7. jpgr15 macrumors 6502a

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    Awesome work, Apple! One of the few companies that actually puts things like people and the environment before greed and numbers.
     
  8. tennisproha macrumors 65816

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    I mighty like troll. ;)
     
  9. NMBob macrumors 6502a

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    And I know one that swears at their MacBook Air. I tried helping him, but no way. The same person does like a wireless keyboard/and iPhone combo, though. Would a keyboard/iPad be just as good? (He was wondering about that.)
     
  10. tennisproha macrumors 65816

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    Kudos to Apple for not leaving anyone out. No matter what anyone's disability, everyone from any walk of life deserves to enjoy the same quality of life as any able bodied individual does.

    And much respect for any developer who incorporates accessibility use into their apps. I salute you.
     
  11. THETA Poker macrumors newbie

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    AppleVis Games Lists and THETA Poker Pro

    The AppleVis games directory is at http://www.applevis.com/ios-app-directory/games, and if you make it to page 12, you'll find my THETA Poker Pro - Texas Hold 'Em (http://thetapoker.com), one of the best card games for sight-impaired users (all poker actions are announced, and you can play almost entirely through gestures that don't require you to locate your cards or chips).

    Kudos to Apple for the well-deserved recognition and special thanks to Matt Gemmell for his excellent article encouraging developers to make their iOS apps accessibile (http://mattgemmell.com/accessibility-for-iphone-and-ipad-apps/).
     
  12. eboakes macrumors newbie

    eboakes

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    I Wish Apple Were Serious About the Visually Impaired

    I wish Apple would enable really large, simple, easily distinguishable controls for playback of podcasts and audiobooks on an iPad. The current ones are absolutely dismal for the visually impaired.
    The controls for playing an audiobook or podcast are so small and difficult to distinguish that my visually impaired mother can no longer use her 9.7" iPad (3rd gen) to play podcasts, music or audiobooks. And, with each changing iOS, Apple loses those people who had basically memorized where the controls were, even if they could no longer see them well.
     
  13. ttss6 macrumors 6502

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    It's worth mentioning how Force Touch on the Apple Watch is a great resource for the blind. For instance, it giving up 12 taps or 3 sets of double taps to give you guidance on which way to turn is so innovative.
     
  14. teslo macrumors 6502a

    teslo

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    true, but this is like asking a publisher to release braille versions of brand new hardcover books without that expense considered in the contracts. some publishers do and some publishers don't, but it's something worked out beforehand or over time. their main business is in providing reading material for those who can see.

    i think the mere fact that apple has been highly considerate of blind people over the years - for a resoundingly visual experience - is testament to their side-goals in bending over backwards where they don't necessarily have to.

    but it's another good reason for apple to abandon yearly release cycles, since there are so many things that could use some TLC, rather than more and more new features that something like the discoveryd-process can undo in the blink of an eye..
     
  15. rorschach macrumors 68020

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    Perhaps Apple should create a "vision impaired" mode for iOS and let developers create a separate interface specially designed for this – perhaps with larger controls, no unnecessary decorative visual elements, different color scheme, etc. And this way, developers could update their regular UI as often as they want but keep the "vision-impaired" UI the same.

    Just an idea.
     
  16. teslo macrumors 6502a

    teslo

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    good thing they can't see how bad the artwork is : /
     
  17. Shaun, UK Suspended

    Shaun, UK

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    #17
    Aways great to see things like this. Done right technology can make such a difference to people's lives. It would be nice to see Apple get more involed in charitable and community projects around the world to prove that they're not just in it for the money (even if they probably are).
     
  18. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    my wife has not found many games she can play but she says she never has the time anyway. voiceover is good but 8.0 created so many bugs that were really bad. they have gotten better in this last update but they were pretty bad. some have been there since 7.
     
  19. FieldingMellish Suspended

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    IOS insane screen brightness creates the blind.
     
  20. steve knight macrumors 68020

    steve knight

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    my wife swears at every electronic item she uses. but she has switched mostly to her iphone and ipad they are easier to get around on. She talks to and at them and they all talk back.
     
  21. ErikGrim macrumors 68040

    ErikGrim

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    #21
    The big focus on accessibility is one of the reasons this company stands out among the rest. For being the biggest company in the world it sure seems they embed the "don't be evil" mantra which has gone from a shallow veneer to an ironic ball and chain for the company who coined it.

    Apple might not be perfect, but through their actions they sure make for the most progressive business on the planet right now.
     
  22. viphoana macrumors newbie

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    I am blind and use the combo you described and also a mac. An iPad is same as the iPhone just bigger. Personally I'd just keep the iPhone for portability. I know other blind people love working with the iPad.
     
  23. viphoana macrumors newbie

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    #23
    I suggest you have a look with her at the accessibility settings. There is large font, zoom to enlarge parts of the screen, and other visual options besides voiceover that might help her. I use voiceover being totally blind and now my sighted husband also sometimes operates his phone with it in the car.
     

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