Crosswords by Stand Alone Inc. - VoiceOver Accessibility

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iOS and iPadOS Gaming

Hi,

I am ‘officially blind’ and have, for some time, been interested in finding a crossword puzzle app for iOS that was accessible using VoiceOver. By chance, after acquiring a crossword app for my wife, to replace one that was no longer supported and did not run on iOS 9, I came across Crosswords by Stand alone Inc. (SAI).

When we first downloaded it I realized it had some VoiceOver capabilities. I wrote to SAI with some comments and suggestions. SAI asked me to beta test a new version that they were working on. I had beta tested other apps for VoiceOver compatibility,, including Voice Dream Reader and Writer, by Winston Chen and Launcher by Cromulent Labs byGreg Gardner, so I agreed to test Crosswords.

After two or three months of testing and suggestions from me SAI has made Crosswords a reasonably accessible app using VoiceOver. For the first time for some time I can now complete a crossword puzzle, the most difficult part being the solution to the clues!

I believe SAI still have a number of improvements that they want to make to Crosswords and that they consider it ‘a work in progress’. However, I believe that many low vision people would be interested in giving Crosswords a try in its present form. I also think that it would be good if an organisation like AppleVis could put Crosswords through its paces and see if they can suggest any improvements to make it more accessible. As I mentioned earlier I have a significant degree of low vision but it would be good if other people with low vision give it a try. It may not yet be suitable for someone who is completely blind but it may b possible for them to use the app with some help from a sighted person.

The Crosswords app can be downloaded free from the Apple iTunes App Store and this free version includes some free crosswords puzzles.

The Crosswords app can be downloaded from the App Store at:
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/crosswords/id688876601?mt=8

There is no Help section in the app but there is a link to Stand Alone’s web site which includes a useful FAQ section. The address for this is:
http://standalone.com/iphone/crosswords/faq#faq-auto-jump

Robert Stacey

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Comments

Submitted by Skippy on Saturday, December 12, 2020

Hi,
I sent another email to the developer of Crosswords last night.

Here's an exact copy of their response.

Jessica,
Thanks for staying on top of this :-) Unfortunately, the economics of the situation have not changed. While I realize there are a substantial number of users that would benefit from these changes, there just aren’t enough users of the Mac OS app in general to merit large scale changes. However, the good news is, there is a potential solution. With the release of the new M1 powered Macs, you can now run iOS apps natively on your Mac. On these machines, you can use Crosswords for iOS, and get all of its accessibility benefits. I realize that recommending an entirely new machine is not a great solution, but it’s all I can offer you.

Thanks again for the continued interest!

Ben

Their's a few things wrong with this:

1. Accessibility should never be based on user numbers.2" Though it sounds nice, a new m1 mac, would be very expensive!

Thus, I believe 1 of 2 things needs to happen:

1. We need to help them see the benefits of making apps accessible.
2. They need to be kicked off the appStore permanently.

I'm sorry, but if you're unwilling to listen to customers, then just leave the AppStore, and don't come back.

Hi,

I sent another email to the developers of crosswords last night, and they responded this morning. Their responses below.
It looks like if we want to use this app, we are all going to need to do some advocacy work.

Response from crosswords developer:

Jessica,
Thanks for staying on top of this :-) Unfortunately, the economics of the situation have not changed. While I realize there are a substantial number of users that would benefit from these changes, there just aren’t enough users of the Mac OS app in general to merit large scale changes. However, the good news is, there is a potential solution. With the release of the new M1 powered Macs, you can now run iOS apps natively on your Mac. On these machines, you can use Crosswords for iOS, and get all of its accessibility benefits. I realize that recommending an entirely new machine is not a great solution, but it’s all I can offer you.

Thanks again for the continued interest!

Ben

How should we approach our advocacy?

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