Developing an iOS audio game; would welcome feedback on what we should and shouldn’t do in regard to accessibility

App Development and Programming

Hello everybody!

Over the past few months my partner and I have been working on developing an audio game for iOS and Android devices called Sound Stomp. It's a call-and-response game not entirely unlike Oroiol Gomez's awesome game Rhythm Rage but featuring a few different means of input.

We were wondering in terms of accessibility if there any things you folks encounter in some of the apps you've used or games you've played that make them irritating, cumbersome or unpleasant to use? On the other side, are there any features you've encountered on apps or games you use that you wish more games incorporated or tried to do better at?

Edit: Thanks to whoever sorted out my terrible forum skills - I've never been very good at this haha



Submitted by Dawn 👩🏻‍🦯 on Thursday, September 8, 2016


First, thank you for asking for feedback! I wish more developers did this sort of thing!
What I've seen in apps so far is different. While I'm not into gaming apps, I do have a few suggestions that I've seen & have wished were done. Bare in mind that this is what I've experienced so far as a niwbie to iOS using an iPad mini 4.

1. Having an accessible app is wonderful. However some of these apps have UI.s that are a little dificult to use.

2. Be sure to lable buttons! If you do not label a button VoiceOver will just say `Button.` Clearly labeling buttons is important. Ex: if you have a play button on the app label it play

3. I'm not sure how this works, but I find hints helpful especially when I'm first learning how to work a knew app. I keep hints on for this reason & also because I'm knew & you never know when you may forget how to do something, & also for my sighted family members when they have to help me.

4. Lastly, make page elements readable with voiceover.

I hope this helps & I also hope you come back for beta testers! Again thank you for doing this because I really wish more app developers did! And also thank you for wanting to take the time to make your app accessible.

To all of the other app developers out there who have made their apps accessible, I'd like to say: Thank you.

Submitted by Will on Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hello,Thank you for wanting feedback, as has already been pointed out, it is really good that you are expressing an interest. May i ask how this game will be played? then, can along with others, help brainstorm.

Submitted by Mitchell on Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thanks for asking for feedback.
First off, one major thing that should be done is to make sure all text is not rendered video. Then, VoiceOver will not be able to read it. Also, I don't know if you are developing with Unity, but I'm not sure if there are any Voiceover hooks in Unity to make it usable. If there aren't anc yo* can make them, then that's great.
Also, t's great to hve a good tutorial.

Submitted by DevonWiersma on Thursday, September 8, 2016

In reply to by Mitchell

We actually considered for quite some time on how our interface was going to work. We're working in Unity since neither one of us is super proficient on the programming side of things. We also have some pretty mixed hardware since my partner has an Android and a Macbook while I have an iPhone and a PC which complicated the process a little bit.

Initially we planned to use Voice Over but just like you said, there's very little in Unity we've found to make Voice Over work without bugs. What few plugins we did find were either outdated or would interfere with the way our development process so extensively that we had no choice but go without. Making them was also much above our skill level, at least for this being our first dive into accessibility and publishing on mobile devices.

From what we had researched in other apps we could find we also felt that we enjoyed games that were fully voiced more. Mostly this was because we thought they felt a little more personal to us, the user. Some of the features we wanted to implement made more sense to us to do so with a voice actor as well, at least at the time. That being said, using Voice Over would have saved us a ton of trouble in other areas!

What we're doing currently is arranging for our voice actor's audio to fill in for Voice Over by talking you through tutorials and guiding you through menus. Right now we have a few early concerns about how having Voice Over turned on may interfere with the way our app functions.

Based on feedback a good tutorial definitely is something we should focus on! Right now we're developing one that talks you through the instructions, but maybe a tutorial level to play would be good to have as well!

Thanks very much for the feedback! :)

Certainly! Sound Stomp is a call-and-response game, similar to Simon but with a little more complexity. Currently the way the games works is it plays a string of sounds and each one corresponds to a certain gesture (A drum hit for a tap, a cymbal for a hold, a shimmer for a swipe are our placeholders). After the sounds have finished playing, the player executes the gestures on beat.

A beat plays at a tempo repeatedly in the background throughout to help the user keep rhythm. The game uses both audio channels as well, so sounds can play from the left or the right side which indicate the side of the screen the player must execute the gesture on.

There are currently three difficulty modes, easy, medium and hard. The higher the difficulty, the faster the tempo will increase over time. As the player completes gestures they're awarded points which are stored as a high-score for each difficulty.

I apologize if it's still a bit confusing. If you have any more questions about it I'd be glad to answer them and any feedback you may have would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much for the feedback!

We've put a huge focus on UI so far to make it as easy to use as possible. There are two of us working rigorously on the app and most of my time has been spent just making sure the UI is accessible and easy to use. However, we're not using Voice Over support and using fully voice-acted menus which we think have actually helped us avoid a few clunky accidents that could happen with Voice Over like some other apps.

Hints are a great idea too! Currently we only have a tutorial for our game, but I've also noticed hints in other audio games have helped me out as well. Do you think visual hints or guides for others who might be helping you would be useful as well?

We will certainly be coming back for beta testers in the coming months - especially since this is some of the most helpful feedback we've received throughout our development process so far! Thank you again and if there's anything else you'd like to suggest or ask feel free to do so!

Submitted by Mitchell on Thursday, September 8, 2016

It would be cool if you could be able to customize the beat to be a song from your music library.
This might be far out there, but it's just an idea.

Submitted by DevonWiersma on Thursday, September 8, 2016

In reply to by Mitchell

We definitely were considering having something of the sort, especially since we know of some other apps that allowed you to do so and were recieved quite well by players. Unfortunately it involved a lot of operations that were well above our skill level so we had to put it on the backboard. It's a great idea though! It would definitely make it more fun to play

Submitted by Joseph on Friday, September 9, 2016

I know you can use direct toouch so that VO won't conflict with the game, but I'm not sure how to go about doing so.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Friday, September 9, 2016

Why go through the trouble and memory of an actor guiding you through a tutorial? Have the tutorial be in text in the app store description, and then you don't have worries, neither does the player. Then you have extra time to do more interesting things with the actor. He can jeer and insult, or complement, or a host of other things.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Friday, September 9, 2016

There's a guide for direct touch right here on Applevis, but I don't remember what it's called. Just search the site for direct touch & dev guide