What to do when a game won't work with screen-readers

Hey All–

So I’m chugging away on my WIP, which is largely a wordplay game (I’ve been filing ideas about this for 10 years since playing Counterfeit Monkey), and at least a third of the puzzles are highly dependent on how the text looks or is placed: capital vs lower-case letters, ASCII, images, etc. These chunks of the game cannot be played by anyone using a screen reader, and describing them is really not possible without being confusing, since some of them are quite complex. I’ve played with this for a while, and descriptions just aren’t feasible.

As I see it, I have 3 options:
1.) Just give this information before the game starts with an apology.
2.) Have a screen-reader mode that simply cuts out these puzzles, or automatically solves them so players who pick this mode wouldn’t miss any of the story.
3.) Try and write some puzzles to fill the gap. I have to say, I am all out of puzzle ideas, though. They’d most likely be pretty lame.

I’d like some feedback about how to address this.

7 Likes

My personal opinion goes for option 2.

3 Likes

I’d say if you really don’t think you can adapt the puzzles to be playable with screen readers, just have both option 1 and 2 (apologize, then say if you still want to play, you have the option to cut those puzzles).

I’d say give them a command that, if used next to one of those puzzles, bypasses it.

3 Likes

I would acknowledge that the game has been designed as a visual experience, then offer a workaround.

A bypass, I think, but I’d go just a step further and provide some additional text for the puzzles that are bypassed to describe what has happened. Not providing alternative puzzles or anything like that, just making sure players understand the events that have transpired.

8 Likes

If it is a short game, then I think option (1) is perfectly okay.

For a game with a lot of content, option (2) would be better.

1 Like