Bringing the Blind and the Sighted Together Through Games

Many games that sighted people love to play are highly visual in nature. Yet one of the benefits of touch-screen platforms for mobile devices, is that a growing number of games that were never designed with the blind in mind happen to be accessible.

As an iOS user who’s blind, often I’ve contacted an app developer to tell them that I use VoiceOver with their app, and that there are a few things they could do to make the experience even better. There’s not a 100% success rate by any means, but it’s encouraging how many developers write back, perhaps never realising that blind people were using iDevices at all, let alone their particular app. Often, they’re keen to make things even better.

Because so many of these apps are produced by small teams or even individuals, change can happen quickly when someone gets the accessibility bug.

This mirrors the story of Dice World, an addictive little app that offers a range of dice games. As this excellent TV news piece outlines, when the developers put Dice World together, they had no idea that blind people would download and try their app. Now, they say about a quarter of their users are blind. That’s a pretty big chunk of a user base, in a highly competitive market.

Now, VoiceOver improvements are a part of almost every release, in a game that brings the blind and sighted together.

I have sighted family members who own iDevices, as well as blind friends on-line, so it’s wonderful to have a game that brings us all together.

Like a number of other iOS games, Dice World is one of those games you can pick up when you have a quick minute, perhaps waiting for  or travelling on a bus, waiting for an appointment, or just to take a quick break from work.

Dice Word isn’t the only such game by any means. Hanging with Friends, Seven Little Words, BopIt, and many other games are playable by both blind and sighted alike.

We all need to have a bit of fun in life as well as use tools that get the job done, so the plethora of accessible games is a thing to celebrate. Thanks to all the developers who take the time to get it right. You make a difference and are appreciated.

What games, playable by blind and sighted alike, keep you coming back to your touch-screen for more? Leave your game recommendations and thoughts in the comments.

5 Comments

  1. Robin

    Thanks for the tips and sentiments. I personally love Four Down which is a totally accessible crossword app for iPad and iPhone. All controls and page elements are totally accessible and the developer has very eagerly responded to suggestions. You can also grab any device and your progress will be synched ready to pick up where you left off.

    Thanks, Robin.

  2. Victoria

    I agree completely with your thoughts about iOS games bringing people together. I actually wondered if Dice World was created with blind people in mind. It’s interesting to learn that it wasn’t. I get impressed all over again every time I see a new update and when the changelog notes particular enhancements for Voiceover. I play that game with my brother at least once a day. He’s in law school and living five hours away from me. Even if we don’t have time to talk on a particular day, the game brings us together. We play and chat there at the same time.

    You already mentioned Hanging with Friends which I play. Lost Cities is another great game in my opinion. It’s a card game and it’s fully accessible. I play with sighted and blind people all the time.

  3. Dave

    Yes these happy ocasions, accident or not, can bridge the gap. The most unfortunate thing is that it is more often an exception rather than standard. I’m tired of hearing about great aps only to find they don’t work well with Voiceover, whether the purpose be work or play.

  4. Elaine

    I love Lost Cities & my son & I will play iFarkle when we are waiting in line somewhere. Even though iAsociate isn’t an multi-player game it is great to play with the family to see who can come up with the right answer!

  5. Bruce Toews

    I just discovered the card game Skip-bo. I was excited to find out there is an official Skip-Bo app for iPhone, but disappointed when it was tried and found not to be at all accessible. I am sure its developers simply aren’t awarfe that there is a potential market here, and I would love to be able to play this card game I’ve come to love on the iPhone.

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