Campaigning for accessibility of iOS games

Campaign for all apple Vis readers and IIOS, MAC users. Are a fan of games? Specially sports and action? If yes this post is for you! If you are blind or lo vision and you want to experience the thrill and excitement of the popular games out there, this is our time let’s make a movement to call out all the developers to use all the built-in API that apple put in the IOS SDK. And let’s ask them to include us as there beta testers for their upcoming games. Making their games, accessible to us visual impaired IOS users can help us to enhance and become more sociable when it comes to mobile games. I hope as an IOS user you will support this post and if you know a developer please tell them that we need their help to make all the apps accessible and to give equality to all users.

Forum: 

#1 This has already been tried

This has already been tried and it somewhat works but I can assure you that most devs of the big games won't even give a crap. They just can't believe a "blind" person would want to play what ever is big out there and what is popular amongst the sighted. Trust me I've had many conversations with devs who don't get back to me or who say post on the forums so users can boat on the feature request. Good luck though.

#2 Unfortunately, Sarah is right

It's sad but the subject line says it all. I know I sound like a broken record, or maybe we should update the phrase to say skippy mp3 but the unfortunate fact is that some developers don't even consider the blind and visually impaired audience to even be anything of interest. I always thought that if you can bring your game to as many people as possible it makes things better all around but hey what the hell do I know? I'm just a user, lol! The best you can do is be proactive, and show each developer why you think they should add accessibility to their apps. I got lucky when I approached the developers of Freeq, but that's a very rare case. The super big developers just can't even believe a blind person uses an iDevice. I guess they think we all just sit around and twiddle our thumbs all day or something. You've got a good idea but just keep approaching the devs and most of all do your homework and show them the developer guides to add VoiceOver support. Show them that what you want is possible and is just the right thing to do.

#3 Why not try instead of saying it won't happen?

I am very dismayed that individuals are so unwilling to try. Just because devs don't care, should we stop caring? Maybe they 'can't believe' that blind individuals play video games, but if enough of us combine our efforts, and unite against a few that don't believe something, it will change eventually. That is the same reason why the bugs do not get fixed in IOS or Mac. Because you people keep saying things like 'they won't listen to us' or 'they don't care.' SO WHAT IF THEY DON'T CARE?! WE CARE AND IT IS OUR LIVES WHICH WILL BE IMPACTED IF WE STAND UP FOR OURSELVES OR DON'T! I for one am willing to try and don't even play video games. It is about availability and breaking through barriers. The blind community needs to start picking up its feet and speaking louder and with a unified voice in order to gain more accessibility. Our phones are slowly becoming the most important thing to our lives. Waiting for change will result in nothing, but fighting for something, even if we lose, will result in awareness and a less breakable stance by others we face who do not understand.

#4 to the last poster who post the comment you are right

Yes we should not stop fighting even after the developers don't reply to our emails we should still keep fighting if we want things to happen such as making apps more accessible.

#5 You never will if you don't try...

I'm all for keeping optimistic on this. Games, apps, whatever it is. My company has an iOS app that has pretty poor accessibility. I've already given feedback, and have a line to the product manager. Still, several versions later, it's still inaccessible. Doesn't mean I've given up. I will make noise until the right person or persons hear. If we expect developers to be aware of us as valid users, we have to make them aware. When was the last time you randomly noticed someone who wasn't making noise or trying to be heard?

#6 agreed, but it'll be kind of hard

Hello, I agree. We should keep trying to tell developers to make popular games accessible, however, sometimes, its not possible. This is because most popular games these days, such as Candy Crush, are very visual. Even if it was accessible, it would be hard to manage multiple elements on screen at the same time using VoiceOver.

#7 We need to think with our heads, not our disability.

Why do they need to be made accessible? because ten thousand out of 7 billion people want to play the game? Besides learning what Voice over is, they need to rewrite other code so that even after all that hard work the app might be fantastic, it might be the worst thing you ever spent your money on. I'm not saying we can't eventually have accessible games, but if it comes down to an accesible shopping app, or finance app or news app, that's far more worth the trouble of contacting andpolitely introducing suggestions then games. games are what they are, time wasters.

#8 the reality

some may call what i'm about to post here as negative, but i call it the reality of things. would i like every app in the appstore to be accessible? hell yes! that would be amazing. but i know its never going to happen. for several reasons. first off the biggest problem is that most devs don't know about voice over and that blind people can actually use smart phones. i believe that all developers should be told about accessibility and made aware of the fact that blind people probably will use your app. now there comes a point where the devs of an app see that making their app accessible isn't going to be worth it. i will use the example of candy crush which was used above. candy crush is a very visual game. the coding required to make such and interface accessible would be extensive to nearly impossible. it is a fast paced game of timing, precise taps, and strategy. the developers would have to layer a framework of code on top of what they already have written. they possibably might even have to rewrite the game from the ground up. they might get it to work, they might not. i tend to thing it will fall on the not side of this coin more often than the other. is it the right and moral thing to do to make all apps accessible? of course. but will they. probably not. these are businesses. is it cost effective to have to re right your app for a few thousand people when it works just right for the 1000000000 or so people that already use it? no. think about how hard it would be to make a racing game accessible like assfault 7. that would deffenately require a complete rewrite and probably a whole blind specific mode. i could go on and talk about other games like maddon football, infinity blade, and clash of clans, but i think you under stand where i'm coming from.

#9 Well done

Kyle you got exactly my point. Thank you. I'm not so sure i'd want every app to be accessible only because I know there are just some things you can't use. Like that bitstrips cartoon thing for facebook, would I like to use it, sure, but if it's not usable, i'm ok with that. Nicely put though.

#10 Everything shouldn't be accessible?

The problem with thinking that something like Candy Crush cannot be accessible is that you're not thinking outside the box or allowing the devs to consider how to think outside the box. When touch screen phones came out, most visually people thought they would never be able to use products like that because they were not built for visually impaired individuals. Frankly, touch screens have been built for sighted people who can look and see what is on the screen. But Apple thought outside the box and provided a screenreader built for touch screens. As a result, our lives have been changed and improved beyond what anyone thought was possible even ten years ago. Now that touch is becoming the norm, we all as blind individuals have the opportunity to be part of that world whether its on the Apple side, Android side, or even Windows with Jaws upgrading to implement touch controls. Have you ever stopped to consider that Devs do not know about Voiceover because no one is informing them. You want them to know about a screen reading software that applies to visually impaired and blind users? You want them to know about it when they can see and have no need to know about something about that because they can use their eyes and may not know anyone who has a visual impairment? I am regularly asked by sighted people about voiceover when they see me using it on the train or in the street. They are amazed that something like that could even exist. On one occasion, I educated a person about enough to help them decide to buy an IPhone for their visually impaired teenager. I also provided them with information on how to get tutorials and learn about how a blind person may learn more about voiceover. Candy Crush is not accessible because it is visual. I don't know if you are aware of this, but every app built for the app store is based on sight first. Just because amazon and bank of America and ap mobile are accessible, should we be satisfied? AP Mobile was made inaccessible when 6.0 came out. I emailed support and got no response despite multiple tries. Eventually, I decided to try to contact the editor of the organization. He had nothing to do with accessibility, but when replied to my accessibility probblems stating that he would talk to the devs and see what could be done. Eventually, a revision of the software came out and the app is generally very accessible. Hulu is an app for sighted individuals. It came out with very inaccessible versions. But because we wanted to have the privledge of watching tv shows like sighted individuals, Hulu eventually made their app accessible by figuring out ways to make it so. The ones saying that it is not possible to make everything accessible have the right to their opinion. But I believe that it is my job to voice my opinion, express a desire to have the same aaccessibility as others. Maybe even take the time out to explain what something like voiceover is and how it works. You never know who you might impact by trying. If no one responds, then it is your job to find someone else who might. Please give me a break about candy crush not being able to be accessible. You have a point about multiple types of data on screen and have a point about it being extremely visual. But not saying a word will not help anyone in any way. Why not give them the chance to think about what they can do to make it accessible?

#11 They may be time wasters to you, but not to everyone

Research has shown that people who play games are generally smarter than some (SOME) people who do not play games. Also, they tend to be able to utilize more of their brains to problem solve. You want finance and news, go ahead and utilize the apps you want. But others who want to spend their time playing games should have the privledge of doing so as well. Its not fair to say that something is a waste of time. This is because there are people who would say that reading news articles are a waste of time because it changes nothing in their day. Everyone is different with different interests and you should never assume your interests are the same as others. As I said, I am very dismayed by some of the arguments people are presenting here. How is it ok to not want accessibility for everything? You might not use it, but shouldn't you have the ability to if the mood struck you? All your doing by not emailing these devs or fighting for accessibility is placating sighted people who do not care, and making their lives easier. Why? They aren't making our lives easier.

#12 Why should any minority have anything then?

Why should people fight for marriage equality when the majority of people already have the right to marry? Why should black americans and Latin Americans and Asian Americans have civil rights? There are only about 12 million black americans living in the country out of 320 million people. It must be very difficult to change laws and rewrite policies and change minds to allow everyone into their stores or allow them to attend schools with the majority race. But it is done and people fight for the things they believe in and make those who do not care or do not want change to alter things for everyone and not just the majority. I honestly do not feel that this is as much about video games as it is about accessibility and improving our lives. Video games are something we generally do not have access to and that is a shame. But when you let one get away with something, you are probably going to allow others to get away with things too. Today, some of you have no issue with games not being accessible. But think about what it would mean if we could change that. If we make these things more accessible, we might be giving people tools they never considered to make other things more accessible.

#13 goodness

Hello. Candy crush was mentioned quite a few times, and yet i am still unsure you got the original poster's point. You are so willing to put months of hard work into the developers hands' that upon completion, the app might be half accessible? Accessibility is individually based. You've been stopped on the street on a train because people are amazed at someone watching you, join the queue of people behind you and I who have shared this fate. Just because I think games are for the most part time wasters does not preclude me from enjoying them. I enjoyed the spy game cigness, so I wrote on here asking for either confirmation, or failing that, a way to contact the developer. I was given absolutely no response. Let me be fair, this game stopped working at IOS7 as well as another app guided photo pro. Note that one is a game app another a photography app. I'd also like these two apps to work but so far nothing has been done. i'm not suggesting we give up on asking for things to become accessible, but it being such a varrying taste of what people want in terms of accessibility, there are some apps I simply shake my head at. Opinions are like noses, everyone's got one.

#14 I apoligize, just upset because usually...

I apologize. I am upset because I come onto this site for accessible apps. More and more, I come across negativity regarding "Nothing is done. The Devs don't care about us" or "Apple is not what it used to be." I honestly feel like the posters spend more time coming onto applevis to complain instead of maybe writing and calling Apple and the other devs to actually make things better. I have no doubt that people write and call, but when I call Apple's accessibility line and try to report a bug that they have not heard about before or have never heard any of the customers discussing, it bothers me. It shows me that I may be a minority in actually trying to affect change when I should be part of a larger voice. In terms of Candy Crush, the best way to find out who to contact would be through the app store, by searching for candy crush, and double tapping on to app support. Or even getting on the web through a computer or other device and searching for the information. Forums are usually not a good idea because they do not always provide solutions. Insterad emailing and emailing and...emailing until you get a response is the best way to go. Yes, you are annoying the dev, but you should rather want to annoy them into considering your issue than being polite and being ignored. Sometimes, it takes more than one or two or three emails. Advocating is a job in itself and in some cases, I have emailed individuals 25 times before getting feeback.

#15 How it really works for developers

Advocacy is an incredibly worthwhile activity, but you have to go about it in the right way, or you risk doing more harm than good, alienating developers instead of winning them over. The main thing you need for successful advocacy is at least an overview level knowledge of game development. For developers, there are three major barriers than can prevent a game being made voiceover accessible. 1. Mechanic. Some mechanics simply are not suitable and will never be made blind-accessible. Not because it's impossible, but because it's not financially viable. the big deal breaker is if you're navigating an environment rather than an interface.. it's perfectly possible to have blind-accessible environments, just look at Papa Sangre, but the work involved to adapt an environment based game often isn't really worth it. 2. Awareness. Most game developers have simply not considered it before and wouldn't have the faintest idea where to start. So there's a very real job to be done in terms of advocacy and awareness raising. It needs to be technical awareness raising too, when you speak to a developer you can't just say 'this game isn't accessible', they'll just shrug their shoulders and agree. Instead, you need to say 'this game would be easily accessible if...' or 'this game isn't accessible, but your next game would be if...'. You need to present a solid case of what the situation is, what the implications are, and what they can (easily) do to fix it. 3. Technology. If they have developed an app that is built in native code, it can be breathtakingly simple to make it accessible, a simple case of making sure that things are labelled correctly and changes are announced. So simple in fact that Zynga made hanging with friends voiceover-accessible by accident. However, if the game uses a third party engine, as many do, no matter what the developer does it will simply be impossible (or at the very least, very expensive) for it to be made accessible. Middleware (Unity, Corona, Air and so on), the prebuilt code 'scaffolding' that developers often built their games around, is where the biggest advocacy effort needs to be. If a developer tells you they can't adapt the game for technology reasons, ask them if it is due to the engine they are using, then ask them to submit a feature request to the developers of the engine, and then contact the developers of the engine yourself. You will not get instant results, the way that feature requests make it into an engine is thorugh weight of numbers of people requesting it. Whatever you do, don't berate a developer for having not chosen the right technology, it's not their fault. Do that and they'll think accessibility is evil. I purposefully did not include cost as a main blocker here, because if the mechanic suits it, if the developers are aware of what's involved, and if the right technology has been chosen, it can actually be extraordinarily easy and cheap. One other thing that is incredibly valuable is positive reinforcement, making sure that developers who have put the effort in know that the effort was worthwhile. If there's an accessible game that you like, make sure that you tell the developers that you appreciate their efforts, and tell others to download it too. That will mean a greater chance that their next game will be accessible too. And one last thing too, possibly the most valuable of all. If a developer has made their game accessible, ask them if they know stats on how many blind customers they have. If they don't know, tell them there is a single line of code (UIAccessibilityIsVoiceOverRunning) that will tell them whether or not voiceover is enabled, which they can then plug into their analytics, and get the data. MUDRammer did it, and they discovered that 10% of their players were blind, meaning an instant profit on the 24 hours of work needed. Solara did it, and discovered that blind players were the most loyal and the highest spenders on IAPs. That's when it gets really really valuable, when developers not only gather the stats, but publicise them. The more concrete factual publicly available examples there are like MUDRammer and Solara, the easier it will get to explain why accessibility work is worth doing.

#16 Hi. I have a few thoughts on

Hi. I have a few thoughts on making games accessible. Firstly, I understand some games can't be made totally accessible, but even if they can be made somewhat accessible like bubble island and diamond dash. Sure you have to turn off voice over to play and a lot of it is guess work, but it's still fun and at least you can read your scores. Other games like rpg's such as solara obviously can be made accessible. Solara and dice world are wonderful examples of what can be done if accessibility is considered. Even the mini games in Hatchi weren't accessible but lately I've noticed some of them are. Someone suggested that it's not that important for games to be accessible. I don't totally agree, sure there are apps that are more important but I think recreation is very important and shouldn't be overlooked. I think we should keep fighting and asking. Who knows what might happen in the future. I mean a lot of us enjoy playing games and connecting with sighted friends and family during this process. the social aspect can be just as important I feel. Just some thoughts.

#17 Yes

I totally agree about the social aspect Maria. The previous comment someone made about games advocacy not being worth bothering with because games are just timewasters couldn't possibly be more wrong. Socialising, leisure, recreation etc. are all essential for quality of life. So much so that under the UNCRPD having equal access to recreation is actually enshrined as a basic human right. I'm not for a second suggesting that you tell developers that they must make their game accessible as they're infringing your human rights, do not under any circumstances do that, the industry is at far too early a stage (keep those comments for things like buildings). But accessibility in gaming absolutely is worth pursuing, especially considering that the bulk of app downloads are games.

#18 campaigning for accessibility of IOS games

O, thank u, Ian! That was absolutely brilliant! Guys, I really really really think everyone would do well to study this gentleman's comments & take them very much to heart. I'm going to site another example--that of Zombees Run! They wrote their game using a 3rd party engine. But, because it was a fitness game, they presented statistics regarding the generally low fitness levels of the vision-impaired, & were actually given a grant by the British government to write a Voiceover interface for blind players of the game. Portraying developers of inaccessible apps as akin to the evil empire simply is not gonna cut it. We need to let them know what we want, but also present viable solutions. Many of these app developers are small (dare I say micro) businesses. They likely have invested some considerable resources in their programming engines, generally because the Apple 1 simply didn't provide what they need, or made what they wanted to do a lot harder. Tellin developers they need to flush their investment down the porcellain throne is likely not a good way to make friends & influence people. Folks are asking developers to think outside the box, & that's valid. Equally valid is that *we* need to do likewise, & we need to enter into a dialog w/developers & treat them w/understanding & respect. Thanks again, Mr. Hamilton. Your remarks were absolutely stellar!

#20 Greetings, everybody!

Hello, folks!
Personally, I am fine with the accessible games i currently have, those being Lords and Knights, Celtic Tribes, Crazy Tribes and Solara. I am constantly looking at new and interesting titles in AppStore, however, and testing the free ones out to see if they are accessible. One game I would love to be accessible is Clash of Clans, not due to its popularity but due to what it has.

You might find it interesting, also, that I have thought of becoming an Apple Developer and learning how to code games. I have a flight simulator for both blind and sighted in mind. It's currently just a thought, though.

I consider games with social aspects more fun than those played off-line in terms of social connections, so to speak.

Cheers,

Con

#21 On your side, lets work towards it

Totally believe we can work towards more accessibility for everything if we work hard enough for it. Stop listening to the nay-sayers (you individuals know what I think of you. The negative words I can use wouldn't be enough to describe you).

For those who believe in trying and working for it, I solute you. We need to band together.

#22 I Want to Play The Real Game, Not an Accessible Cros of This and

With all due respect to the developers of Color Crush, I want to play Candy Crush, or Bejewelled--not a cross between this game and that. You see, my kids and friends aren't playing the "blind" version. They're playing the actual game.
As a parent or friend, I want to be able to join in.
I admit I used to campaign to the developers of Rhapsody, the music service. But it took someone being struck blind to make Rhapsody accessible. It would be a pity if we have to wait for that to happen to someone in the game developing industry.
Still, it was thought that blind people didn't watch TV, but now we have described movies, and many of us like non-described movies, because that's what we grew up listening to.
Or should we appeal to those who do make blind-accessible games? Could they make popular games accessible, rather than just creating crosses of this and that for the blind community?

#23 Respectfully ...

That's just your opinion, ma'am.
Games teach problem solving and they entertain. If the rest of the world is being entertained, why not us?
Games aren't time-wasters. They help sharpen the senses, teach skills such as patience. (If you can keep trying to solve Level 3 of this or that, and don't get frustrated, or learn not to that's an important and transferrable skill.)
I use games to do things I can't do any more because of health issues not related to blindness. I can give my brain the feeling that I went out for a walk or a horse race, or play online and meet new people, now that my body isn't so healthy any more. Games enrich my life and keep my mind sharp. Again, not a time waster.

#24 Amen!

I subscribe to your opinion wholeheartedly.
Why does anything change for any group of people?
Because they band together, lobby, educate, etc.

#25 Damn, I like You, Man

Your posts are refreshing. There are too many blind people willing to be thankful for crumbs.
Do you notice that VoiceOver now says "Al", instead of "Alabama" when pronouncing a name? That's because I, and presumably manhy others, told the devs of VoiceOver that we didn't like our Uncle Al being called Uncle Alabama. I don't need VoiceOver to interpret things for me. I understand the difference between Uncle Al and Mobile, Al. Guess what? Now, VoiceOver says "Al".

#26 let's fight!

hi Vash Rain.
you have absolutely right friend.
great words yours.
I completely agree with you.
if we are not fight for our rights, who will do it for us?
I consider weak negative people of this topic.
weak people are always benefited by stronger ...
life does not give us things easily.
if today we have a general accessibility in many ways, this is because there has always been strong people who fight for the weak ...
since we are blind are the reasons it is, our lives were always fighting that I consider much more difficult than signing a petition and do whatever it takes to alert consciences and change the addict cycle of things ...
let's all do our part.
thanks to all the strong people.
cheers.