[games_access] Appropriate Interfaces for Blind Gamers

Ian Hamilton i_h at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 8 13:40:14 EST 2016

As far as HTML dev goes, for games or otherwise, the lack of styling options for native elements has a huge amount to answer for. Using default browser styling is often an unwinnable battle, which is the reason why so many devs don't use native elements.
And equally the reason why people who do want to make things accessible while keeping design stakeholders happy have to spend silly amounts of money to do so. Even something as seemingly simple as a select or combo element has a pretty huge amount of subtleties to try to replicate.
</div><!-- originalMessage --><div>-------- Original message --------</div><div>From: Brandon Keith Biggs <brandonkeithbiggs at gmail.com> </div><div>Date: 08/02/2016  18:19  (GMT+01:00) </div><div>To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List <games_access at igda.org> </div><div>Subject: Re: [games_access] Appropriate Interfaces for Blind Gamers </div><div>
As a blind gamer myself, I can confirm that we hold our phones much
different than sighted people. For us the touch screen is just a trackpad.
The touch screen is a rather bad invention if you ask me, and it takes some
getting used to. But for example, we swipe right and left to hear elements,
so that can mean we hold the phone in a way that allows for our thumb to
swipe most easily. I hold my phone either in my right hand, facing a little
away past my shoulder so it is comfortable in my hand, or I place it
sideways on my belly so I can use it while using my computer.
When I type, I have the screen sideways and facing out so I can type on it
as if it was a Braille keyboard.
I always say that things made for Blind people really need to be as simple
as possible, except when it comes to sound. Then you can get as detailed as
you wish. But built-in widgets are often the best to use and building your
own stuff will almost never be accessible.
This is why I am against HTML Canvas for most things!
So having a super simple one orientation is almost always the  best when
creating games.

Brandon Keith Biggs <http://brandonkeithbiggs.com/>

On Sun, Feb 7, 2016 at 11:16 PM, Chad Philip Johnson <chad at anacronist.com>

> Hello all,
> I was reading an article this evening on Gamasutra about the game *Ear
> Monsters *(
> http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/BrianSchmidt/20130617/194489/Making_Ear_Monsters_Developing_a_3D_Audio_Game.php).
> The developer was making what he expected to be a straightforward
> accessibility experience for blind gamers on smartphones and tablets.
> Initial feedback was not as positive as he expected because he didn't
> account for players that held the device in unconventional ways.  Here's
> the relevant snippet:
> *One other accessibility issue was reported by several blind players who
> said that all the sounds were backwards; when they tapped on the right
> side, they’d hear their attack from the left.   It turns out that the code
> I’d added to detect orientation and flip the game—which, ironically, I had
> added in specifically so that visually impaired gamers would always have
> the correct orientation!— was too clever by half.  A normal sighted player
> will typically hold their device in their hands, with a tilt towards
> themselves.  And that’s how we tested Ear Monsters.  However, it turns out
> that many visually impaired players played the game either laying their
> device on a flat table, or even in their laps, with a slight tilt **away **from
> them.  In that case, the game would frequently rotate itself away from the
> player, upside down. And when they tried to turn around their device to fix
> it, it would rotate away again!  That is also being addressed by fixing the
> orientation to one specific landscape orientation, which is common for iOS
> games.*
> This reminded me of a blues-rock guitar player name Jeff Healey.  He
> became blind in his infancy and then started learning music and the guitar
> shortly afterwards.  He developed a highly unorthodox way of holding and
> playing his instrument:  he would lay the guitar in his lap and place his
> fingers in a downward position--not unlike pressing keys on a piano.  The
> video in the following link shows how he accomplished this:
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIkOaTVu8uM.
> Anyway, I noticed a correlation between the two and thought I would throw
> that out there in case anybody else found it interesting.  Perhaps this is
> a more natural way for people to interface with input devices that have
> flat surfaces.
> --
> Chad Philip Johnson
> Anacronist Software
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