New Scrabble-like Game in Beta: Wordvoyance. Looking for feedback.

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iOS & iPadOS Gaming

Hey everyone! We're working on a new game called Wordvoyance inspired by Scrabble and Words with Friends, but with the goal of being fully accessible. We made this game with blindness accessibility as our foremost priority from the beginning, instead of it being an afterthought like other games out there. We need your help playing and testing the game and giving us all of the feedback you can so that it becomes THE most accessible game in the world, and so that we can take those lessons and make other games in the same vein.

Importantly, the game plays in a web browser so that it can be accessed from any device you have. There are no app stores, downloads, nor installation required. This has been an enormous challenge for us as, I'm sure you know, different browsers using different accessibility technology all make for entirely different environments on top of each person's own unique hardware setup. However, we feel it's worth it. We want to make this game work for as many people as possible - blind, sighted, and everyone else.

Some notes for this beta:

  • Extremely few people know about the game right now. We recommend matching with friends instead of using our random opponent option, as you may be matched against one of our inactive test accounts. Besides, getting a friend to play can only help us gain additional feedback.
  • We're working on securing a better dictionary for the game. The current one is extensive, but lacks some modern parlance.
  • Leaving the game open for a very long time may cause it to stop responding. This is because your browser is designed to halt javascript after so long. Refresh the page to continue, should this happen to you.

The link to our game is below. Our communication lines are wide open and we appreciate every bit of feedback you can give us. We've done a fair amount of testing and things appear to be smooth with VoiceOver, TalkBack, Narrator, and NVDA, but check us on that. Also please understand that, being sighted ourselves, we're new to this and may have missed something that would help you play the game. The more you can tell us, the more we can build this into the game it's meant to be. Here's the link to our contact page: Contact. Here's a link to our Discord: Discord.

Wordvoyance
EDIT: We've created a Discord channel if you would like to join it and give us feedback or suggestions (or just talk in general) there. This could help us get into more detail about the problems you may be occurring. I intend to keep an eye on this thread, though, so if you'd rather just post here, I'll see it too. Here's the link: Discord.

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Comments

Submitted by Skippy on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Hi,
I’ll test it! 😁
I ❤️ Scrabble!
Do you have a preferred communication method? You said your communication lines were open, but did not list what they were.

I should also say that I have several different devices to test on, so you’ll most likely get tons of feedback from me.

Submitted by Tanner on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

In reply to by Skippy

Whoops, sorry about that! Didn't realize a communication was left out of the post. Is Discord relatively accessible for people with blindness? If so, we could make a Discord channel for easy communication with us. Otherwise we just have our contact form on the website currently. Here's the link to it: https://www.themisgames.com/contact. I'll also update the post to include that link there.

Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

This is the best news I've had all week! Ever since Hanging With Friends and SpellStack disappeared from the face of the earth, I've been looking for an accessible word game that I could play with friends. You can bet that I will most definitely be checking this out as soon as possible!

Submitted by Skippy on Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Hi,

If I make an account, and choose a username now, but decide to change it later, is that possible?

Yeah! On themisgames.com/account, we have a change username option you can use. There's currently no limitations on how often you can change your username (though it may change in the future).

You can choose to be paired with a Random other person. This will be updated (hopefully tomorrow) to a queue system instead where you'll be paired with the first other person who is already ready to play. This will help prevent the current issue of potentially being paired with someone who is no longer active.

Submitted by Skippy on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Hi,

I have a curious question.
Does the game work with the jaws screen reader? If not, could this be implemented? Jaws is the number one screen reader in the world.

Submitted by Tanner on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

In reply to by Skippy

We haven't been able to get a license to test JAWS with yet, so I'm not entirely sure what the support looks like there. Unless there's some weird problems we can't do anything about, our goal is to support as many screen readers as we can, and that obviously includes JAWS. JAWS specifically is a much higher priority than others currently. We've primarily been developing with VoiceOver as we have quick and easy access to it. We were pleasantly surprised that NVDA mostly worked out of the box when we tried it. I just can't speak for JAWS yet.

Submitted by ming on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

hi! just create an account and then try to start a new game
it seems can not work.

Submitted by Brad on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

In reply to by ming

I create a new game then press enter on the random opponent button and nothing happens, and there's no button for friends iether.

I'm using the latest version of Firefox with NVDA and windows 10.

Submitted by John Hope on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Thank you for your work on this game and for letting us know about it. I'm looking forward to taking the game for a spin ☺️

Submitted by Skippy on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Hi,

I found a really weird issue.
When using my computer, with fire fox, if I press space or enter on a letter to move it to the board, it goes, but when I try to play my word, an example I’ll use is the word joy, which I tried to play last night, the letters go out of order. the word then becomes invalid.
Next, I tested on my phone, using Safari, and that worked perfectly.
When I tested on my phone, the word went through just fine.
Also, I enable high contrast mode, since I am low vision, but at least with my vision, the regular mode and high contrast are no different. The background is like a light gray color, against white. It’s really difficult to see.
May I suggest that you make high contrast mode like dark mode? Ever since iOS 13, the iPhone has had a dark mode, and I’ve kept it enabled permanently, for that reason. It makes things way easier for me to see. I still rely on voiceover to read the screen, but at least I could see where to touch, if I had to.
Also, I helped a friend create an account, and we tested out the game. He said the play area was really tiny. Is there anyway you could make it bigger?

Regarding Discord, I’m not super familiar with it, but did create an account yesterday, just in case you decide to create a server. I think that would be really fun to chat about the game. Perhaps a bunch of us from here could join, then we could put voices to the names were seeing, and start games with each other, if we wanted to.

I went ahead and created a discord for an easier way to chat with each other, including the reporting of these issues you are experiencing. When the anti-spam filter lets me edit my main post again, I'll add the link to that, but here it is for now: https://discord.gg/3vCBEm8dz6

Thanks so much for the feedback so far, and I've noted all the issues that have arisen to look into. I apologize in advance if our discord format isn't the best. I'd appreciate feedback on ways to make sure our Discord is navigable as well, as long as I'm able to actually control the requests.

Submitted by Ben Ritter on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

In reply to by Skippy

Hi, I also work on the Wordvoyance project. I just recently got access to the JAWS screen reader myself, and initial testing results are mixed. There appear to be major differences in how JAWS handles announcements and element labels compared to the other screen readers following the Aria standard. I've sent my findings to the JAWS team to see if they can give me more information, and I'll let you know if I hear back. I have some ideas that I'll be testing today to hopefully get it working with the game, even if I have to leave it with some compatibility issues. I'll keep the game manual updated with my findings as I go. Finally, if you or anyone else is a JAWS expert and can help guide my support for it, I'll greatly appreciate the feedback. I'll be monitoring this thread, as well as Discord and our feedback email portal.

Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

I was super excited about this game, but when I went to research it further, I noticed that it appears to only be played in the web browser. I thought I would be able to download an app through TestFlight or something along those lines. I still might give it a try, but I've never played browser-based games before, so that is a little bit offputting. Just my opinion, of course. Maybe I will be able to try it and discover that it's awesome, but I just can't imagine how playing a game on a website would work. I look forward to people explaining that to me and proving me wrong and being concerned. :-)

Submitted by Ben Ritter on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

In reply to by Missy Hoppe

We've been wondering how users would feel about our choice of medium. There are many benefits to our approach, and I could talk about it for days, but it all boils down to one thing: compatibility. Solving for one accessibility standard and making workarounds for edge cases ended up being a lot better on us than solving for individual accessibility standards for each native app. We also get a lot of useful UX solutions for free, as browser manufacturers have already solved and implemented them, and users are already accustomed to how that all works.

That said, there are some things we can consider in the future. Adding the data required to install the game as a Web App would be a fast solution, and it would give us control over whether we keep the browser chrome and possibly enable direct notifications, at least on Android. A native app wrapping a system web view would also solve the same problems, and we could benefit from being on the app stores.

In the mean time, the game already presents itself like any other app on your phone - just running in your browser. It certainly won't look, sound, nor feel like a web page when you give it a try. That said, if something feels "off" about it, please be vocal about it. We love critique and feedback, and it is impossible to offend us in the pursuit of making a better game.

Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Thank you very much for your response. I will try to give the game a chance with Safari on my phone, but I was discouraged to see that Microsoft Edge isn't one of the supported browsers. Then again, it's essentially chrome-based at this point, so maybe it will work? I tried to start a new game with a random opponent, but so far as I could tell, nothing happened. I'm using the latest Microsoft Edge and Jaws 2021. I am open to trying Narrator or NVDA, but am not all that keen on having multiple web browsers on my system. Just a personal quirk of mine. Anyway, even if it isn't turning out to be the game I was hoping for, I genuinely appreciate your efforts to make an acessible game. If nothing else, I will be watching to see how things develop with this game over time.

I've been using Edge as player 2 for a few weeks, and so far it's looking great. It's not on our official support list at the moment if only because it needs so much more testing before we're confident in it.

I've also been working on supporting JAWS today, and I think I have something that will pass testing. JAWS does things a little differently compared to the other screen readers, so I was caught off guard when I finally got a license for it. Check back early next week and things should work a lot more cleanly for your setup.

Yep, we definitely support Chrome! So far, a high amount of our testing has been in Chrome and Safari and the game is working great in both browsers. Our next update has some focus on making sure Firefox and Edge are working good as well and we're hoping to get that out soon.

Hello. I'm using an iPhone 11 with iOS 15 and have tried starting a game with both Safari and Chrome. I'm able to get to the manual by tapping it, to the friends list, and to the screen to start a new game with either a random opponent or friend, but tapping either of these gets no response. I'm very excited for an accessible scrabble-type game and would very much like to play. Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks!

I'm investigating this issue right now. When you go back to the main menu, instead of pressing New Game, are you able to press Load Game? The game may be getting created but not bringing you into it for some reason. If you can't press it, that will help me to look elsewhere for why this may be occurring for you.

Submitted by Wynter on Thursday, October 14, 2021

The control for Load Game is indicated by VoiceOver to be dimmed and nothing happens when I tap it.

Submitted by Ben Ritter on Monday, October 18, 2021

We just made a major update to Wordvoyance. Among numerous bug fixes, there is a new random opponent queue system and vast improvements to our NVDA and JAWS support. Enjoy! We'll see you on the (crossword) battlefield.