Discord (a third party communication tool for multiplayer games, allows team chat etc) have just made a public commitment to accessibility. Their first feature launch is for colourblindness but they're planning on doing more, and have a call out for accessibility feedback. Would be great to include feedback from blind gamers amongst that. Info and feedback link here -
Forgive me for my skepticism, but they've been claiming this for 2 years now, and when we ask about it, put posts up on Reddit about it, all we get is lip service, so what makes this any different? Discord are so good with PR but its without substance. They're They've straight up lied to us, given us the run around and so forth that I no longer trust them, so we'll just have to see if this works out or if its just more of the same kind of lip service.
Also, I remember seeing stuff on Reddit where staff are asking people to use magnification features they added in, well, if you have no vision, a magnified screen is not helpful in the least. Even for visually impaired people with some sight, like me for instance. I can read print but its not worth it for me to do so because it fatigues my eyes after a point, and while I don't get the headaches others get, I will get this pain in my brow, its weird. Also, there are different contrast options that work better for some people. For me though, I use a screen reader because its just way more efficient than me reading print,even if its magnified to the point where I can comfortably read it, I cannot read it fast like a sighted person. Actually the same for me is true in braille, I cannot read braille fast either, when working with it every day in high school for 4 years, I never got past 35WPM, which is abysmal. I can type double that, if not more with the right keyboard.
Also, accessibility is not a one and done thing, it requires constant work, I hope they realize that, and they can add in features and work to make those features better over time, accessibility is a commitment, its not a patch, or a bandaid, its something you work and strive to achieve. When they do achieve it, thought will have to be put into new features, new code, so that we do not have any regressions as far as accessibility is concerned.
3 (edited by ianhamilton_ 2018-06-21 15:43:54)
What's different is that they have released an accessibility feature alongside a public commitment to accessibility. That's a bit different to support people trying to do the best with what is currently there. FWIW they're covered by CVAA, might be worth asking them what their timescale is on being complaint, as that requires it to work for people with no sight at all.
I dunno, maybe, but as I recall like 3 different people have tried reasonable questions on Reddit and each time have gotten nicer responses with little actually being done.
I just see nothing getting done and they have talked about it before, maybe not publicly, but what does that really matter, except if they don't deliver this time, we can really get the word out, they've sort of made themselves accountable, yeah we can't do much, but we can at least say they've broken their promise if nothing gets done. Every step is a step though, I just don't like the stalled out phase and they say they're working on it, well how much time does it take, they keep the accessibility at the bottom of the list.
I want screen reader access, yes it is doable now, but its not great. Also, the iOS app is completely unusable. Accessibility isn't they're market, they don't see the value in it. Gamers don't need accessibility, why would they, this is their thinking. Hopefully something has changed, a paradigm shift inside the company to give them a new stance. I'm not saying accessibility has to be at the forefront of everything they ever do, but some usability would be nice, and some thought to new versions, because you can't stop it from updating as far as I know, except block it then it wouldn't work if you blocked it from phoning home in your host file.
I just don't like being lied to. Don't tell me you're gonna do something and then don't do it, nothing makes me angrier than broken promises. If they'd have given us the middle finger, I'd be less annoyed than I am now. At least you're being honest. I hate that PR shit, let's be out there all flashy, make ourselves look good, then behind the scenes, its like meh.
So as I said above, we'll just have to wait and see. I'm not holding my breath.
Their is also a discord-testers discord, might be worth joining that. https://discord.gg/discord-testers
You can now, its not not the most intuitive experience out there. One thing I will say to all trying to figure it out, when they talk about right clicking and things showing up, at least for screen readers, they do not show up as context menus like we're used to seeing, they will show up at the bottom of the screen.
9 (edited by Ethin 2018-06-21 20:31:27)
Definitely skeptical about this. I year or so back I wanted to try discord and it was completely and utterly unusable. I did my research and this guy quite literally ranted the shit out of them on a blog, nothing was done. I sent in an ADA violation notification (I know, stupid and foolish, but heh), and nothing was done. So I don't see how the CVAA is going to do shit if they're not committed to it. Just because a company like the FCC can fine a company for up to a million bucks doesn't mean that the company will obey the FCC if they're truly, utterly and completely against it. People will always find ways around anything we try. So until they actually show some commitment to accessibility, I'll keep my stance.
Half a year ago or so someone put up a post on Reddit that got a lot of posts from blind folks, and staff from Discord alike, between then and now, I've noticed jack all, but yet they say they're working on it, working on it for how long, two years with nothing to show?
11 (edited by ianhamilton_ 2018-06-22 11:47:55)
Ethin, and to a lesser extent Ironcross32, I'm not sure if you've actually read the original post, but it is quite literally about them having implemented accessibility functionality - having as in past tense. Really useful accessibility functionality that people have been asking for for a long time, which has now been implemented, to joyful reaction from many of their users.
Skepticism and believing it when you see it entirely reasonable, but your posts go quite a way beyond that. For example you have precisely zero idea of what Discord's thinking is, what they are working on, or what their attitude to legislation is. what you do know however is that Discord are not "truly, utterly and completely against" accessibility. If they were, they would not have just released accessibility functionality.
Please remember everything you write here is a public broadcast, and consider the impact that what you say has on mainstream developers lurking here. The industry is at quite a fragile point, lots of people making tentative explorations of blind accessibility and accessibility in general, I really don't think you understand the harm that you can do at this point. If this is the response that a company can expect from putting time and effort into accessibility, why should they even bother?
And Ethin, why on earth would you send an ADA violation notice to them? It is not a "heh" matter, it has implications. Do you have any idea of the harm that was done to the accessibility movement, and blind accessibility in particular, by ADA attempt made against PlayStation years back on the spurious basis of PlayStation Home being a place of public accommodation, and it subsequently being thrown out of court?
We'll see how far it goes. They'll probably stop short of access for screen readers, as that's the one that will take the most effort. I've written into them twice, very polite emails explaining the situation, how I could use Discord, and how there are blind gamers out there who could. I explained that aside from me wanting to use it for gaming, I wanted to create a space for folks using the NVDA screen reader to get help with it. I've done a Skype group in the past, but those just don't work, there are not enough controls for moderating the group, where there is with Discord. I got a nice response saying that it was being looked into, but it wasn't high on their priority list, OK good, open, and honest, right? All good. So, about 8 months later, I wrote back to them just trying to check up on the state of things, an actually got the same person who said that he's been pushing for it to get done. Then the Reddit thing and their stuff on twitter.
Please remember everything you write here is a public broadcast, and consider the impact that what you say has on mainstream developers lurking here.
I am aware, googling anything to do with audio games and this site will be within the top 5 results usually. As to the mainstream developers, if they read this, that's 100% find with me. You should know where you fell short, where you didn't meet expectations. And yes, if someone says they'll do something, I expect it to get done. That's how I was raised, don't make promises you can't keep. My goal isn't to belabor the point, or beat a dead horse, but all I can say is we'll see.
The fact they've pushed out an update, if its helping people, awesome, but one update does not a trend make. I've seen the post on Twitter, and if they follow their words, and they do intend to commit and they are pushing out accessibility features, then great, and I'll praise them for it. I don't expect every update to contain accessibility stuff, I am not one of these people who watch the WWDC and get disappointed when there are no new voices or no voiceover features or whatever. My phone works for me, I've used the same voice since almost the day I got the thing, and while there are issues, they are so minor compared with the ability to just pick up the thing and use it, so I'm not bothered. Same with Discord, if they work at it and push accessibility features semi regularly, I'm fine with that, I hope there are no backward steps, no regressions. I hate when companies don't think and push new code that breaks previously perfectly accessible apps. Also, speaking of apps, their mobile app needs some serious accessibility help, that thing is a train wreck of an experience if you're needing voiceover.
13 (edited by ianhamilton_ 2018-06-22 14:54:02)
Well there you go, you already know one person internally who is pushing for it. If you have direct contact details for them it might be worth having the discussion with that person about CVAA. If there isn't wide knowledge about it within the company it might give that person an extra bit of leverage, help with some of the prioritising.
That's what this stuff takes, a compelling enough reason for it to work its way up the backlog. The colourblind accessibility they've just put out would be the kind of thing I'd expect to see as a first release, as it's a pretty quick win so easier to get up the backlog more quickly.
I'm not really talking about discord devs reading the forums, I'm talking about developers I've spoken to in the past who aren't interested in accessibility because they think, based on their own experiences, that people with disabilities are just angry complainers. That no matter what they do the result will just be people ranting about how they didn't do enough, meaning those devs just don't see why they should even bother.
That's real, it happens, I'd rather see it happen less often.
I'm totally down with skepticism, for blind accessibility in general it's totally justified. There's just a bit of a difference between 'I'll believe it when I see it' and 'they think that accessibility doesn't matter'. The reality of it is usually a bit more complex - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jw36ivnRHRQ
What I'd like to see posts more along the lines of is "I'll believe it when I see it. But if they did actually do it, what would be great to see would be XXXXX, YYYYYY and ZZZZZZ"
No I don't have that person's details as it was through a general support address and if I emailed that address again, there's no guarantee I'd get that person. Yeah I get where devs are coming from, that's why when I write to a company, I am polite, and try to build case on why their app or service could benefit from accessibility features.
15 (edited by ianhamilton_ 2018-06-22 15:09:58)
Ah, shame about the contact details.
But something else that I've seen very strongly is the impact that a positive reception to an accessibility can have on buy-in around the company in general. It certainly wouldn't be unusual for having so many lovely messages of support from people whom the colorblind mode is now helping to in turn go on to help get more people at discord excited about accessibility and help other accessibility work progress up the backlog.
Can but hope, right? Certainly the industry is in a dramatically different place today than it was even just two or three years ago.
@ianhamilton_, you say that we don't know what Discords internal thoughts on this matter are, and that we don't know what they're doing. But I as... do you? Because you seem to be hinting that you do. Also, please, please stop wanting this forum to be wishy-washy perfect, where everyone is polite and nice and all mushy with everyone just because this is a public broadcast. Guess what? We all know this. We all post on this forum, knowing, for a fact, that this is a public broadcast to this micro-sector of the universe we know as planet Earth. However, people like myself and Ironcross are unwilling to change, are unwilling to alter ourselves, if someone doesn't like our attitudes. If someone dislikes our attitudes, fine, ignore us. I myself am definitely not going to create a "public poker face" and show that to the world while maintaining a private one where I'm far more open. No thanks, sir -- that seems way too overcomplicated and hard to manage and maintain!
Also, you seem to think we're being over-negative, I think we're being quite reasonable given our experiences with Discord. Companies are fine with skepticism. In fact, its something they'll find everywhere. Want an example? Twitter. Youtube. Etc. Etc. When a company releases something new, and they call it "revolutionary," they get -- you guessed it -- skepticism. When Microsoft released the Holo Lens, now known as "Windows Mixed Reality," they didn't get awe and respect; they got skepticism and downright hostility, because Microsoft doesn't exactly have a Stirling reputation these days. And yes, I know that Discord may have implemented some accessibility... but that doesn't mean I no longer have the right to take the wait-and-see approach. They could stop implementing it at any time. The problem with the CVAA, something you keep pushing and pushing for (and frankly I find such pushing quite annoying since everyone practically already knows about it), is that it tries to cover [all] disabilities. Unfortunately, such a thing is impossible. You cannot implement accessibility for all forms of disabilities out there and all disabilities out thee in a program without making it utterly useless. I'm sorry for my harsh post but it seems like you're trying to live a reality that does not exist. You claim you've been in the industry for a decade; if so, then you should already know all of this, and should not be expecting people (especially gamers) to be all nice-nice-wishy-washy with everyone.
17 (edited by ianhamilton_ 2018-06-23 13:05:28)
Ethin you have the wrong end of the stick in a couple of ways here.
Firstly as I said I'm totally down with skepticism and believing it when you see it. But there's quite a difference between that and accusing a company that is actively working on accessibility of in fact actually being dead set against it.
Haven't seen any progress on blind accessibility yet - you know that for a fact.
Not thinking blind accessibility is going to happen - entirely reasonable based on past experiences.
Saying that their thinking is that gamers don't need accessibility, that they think people who need accessibility aren't their market, that they're fundamentally against accessibility - that's entirely unreasonable. Pure speculation, and not only that but speculation that doesn't tally with the evidence, that evidence being that they have just released accessibility functionality.
So no, I'm not suggesting poker faces or nice polite wishy washy perfection. I'm saying that making up stuff like that about companies isn't helpful. People saying that even if a company is demonstrably making progress that the facts are that behind the scenes they actually don't care.. it's not only unfounded, it's also harmful.
Again I'm basing this on experience. Developers who have no interest in accessibility on the basis that they've seen people saying stuff like that and have come to the conclusion that "the disability community" aren't worth bothering with because no matter what your do they'll still just find fault anyway.
Does that make more sense now? I.e. not censoring or being artificially nice, just actually sticking to what's true. That you haven't seen any progress for a long time so will believe it when you see it.
Also you're got the wrong end of the stick about CVAA. If discord was to meet all of the requirements of CVAA it would look something like this -
* Screenreader accessible
* An option for large high contrast text
* Icons in addition to colour, as per the current patch
* Choice between text chat and voice chat, potentially with realtime conversion between the two
* No tiny fiddly buttons or things that need to be pressed simultaneously or held down for a long time
* Ability to scroll back up through older messages
* Predictive text
As you can see, implementing all of that does not at all mean "making it utterly useless". Quite the opposite, makes it more useful, a better experience for users across the board regardless of whether they have accessibility needs or not.
I assume that saying "claim" means you think I'm making it up, but you can just look me up on linked in if you want to check. I worked in-house on accessibility in games for kids from 2007 to 2011, and since then worked with companies all over the industry, from one man indies to big publishers, industry bodies, government bodies.
I've seen lots of change in that time. Especially in the past few years, the excitement around accessibility is real. Some of what's happening is public, there are photos of blind gamers being brought in to chat with devs at EA, Naughty Dog, PlayStation and Xbox, and sightlesskombat was given permission to share details of all the studios who brought him in for chats over last summer too.
At both his and Brandon Cole's various conference talks there are always devs frantically taking notes.
Change takes time, especially with AAA dev times, but it is starting to happen. Even just this week the Gears of War developers patched in a feature specifically for their blind players. That, or any of the above, would have been pure science fiction even just a few years ago.
Of any demographic blind gamers have the most reason to be skeptical, but there are now tangible signs of progress. And only a matter of months now until the CVAA compliance deadline, so it will be possible to see pretty soon whether it has had real impact.
@Ethin one thing about you is that you're like this caged ball of rage that when it gets released, just flies everywhere and unleashes chaos. You usually take things way too far, way too extreme. And I know I am that way too sometimes, for one usually points out the flaws in others that they themselves possess, but the way in which you present yourself to the wider community really isn't going to be productive if you're trying to get things done. I've done my share of writing angry communiques, and though I've never served someone with an ADA notice of violation (to which you've said in the recent past that companies will do what they want anyway). Presentation is everything, building a case, being polite when you reach out to a developer and so on will do far more good. You could be a great advocate if you could channel that chaotic energy into something useful. We do both agree that accessibility can go too far, and you could explain that.
I hope it happens someday I play a live action roleplay and we use discord but because of it's inaccessibility, I'm unable to particupate during the in between session time when rp goes on on discord.
You can use it, as I've said, its just not optimal.
21 (edited by Ethin 2018-06-29 18:46:00)
@18, I get that, but when people act like a particular law will solve all the worlds problems -- or all the problems we face with a particular program or company -- and I've seen absolutely no evidence that it works other than a number, and (really) have absolutely no faith in our government to do the right thing -- that's why I posted something like post 16. The ADA hasn't worked, has totally failed, how can I trust that this law that I've never even heard about (which is rare, since I have a lot of news sources) and since the government moves so slow, will succeed? All I've seen are that it has had 30 successful cases, or 40, or 50, or 60... those are just numbers. People can throw those around like candy. I can make a program that protects your bank account from fraud up out of my ass -- without actually making it -- and say that its has 10000 success stories. But that doesn't mean its true at all. That doesn't mean the program even exists, does it? Those are just numbers. And I don't believe for one second that those cases are protected by some NDA or something -- that's utter BS, because if that were true than most likely you wouldn't even be able to tell people how many success stories you've had, and if people have had that much success (70 I think it was) than it'd be all over the place and everyone would be shouting "Hooray!" all over social media. Can you see my point now?
I'm not usually this "enraged" like you say. In fact, normally I'm chill and can debate with other people. But when someone acts this way, acts like a particular law will solve everything, my unfaithfulness in the fed surfaces. And for good reason too. I just somehow feel that those who have made these laws are technically illiterate (as practically everyone in the fed is these days) -- and have no idea of he amount of money that they'd be forcing companies to pay to do all that the VAA -- or really any accessibility law -- require. Stuff like that can cause thousands to millions of dollars, and companies just aren't willing to spend that much money on accessibility for a small market when it won't do much for them at all, and especially when the user interface was not designed for it, and the company isn't some huge company like Valve or Microsoft.
you know, it's a funny thing about discord here, I just tried downloading the iPhone app yesterday because a friend in a mud that I'm playing per this forum, Haelrahv, suggested that I download discord and try it out. I did and it didn't work so well, although I was successfully able to create an account, just unable to varify it since my computer kept telling me that my computer or network was sending automated queries and to try again later when I would press the audio capcha button. I did try later twice and then it eventually quit working for me so I just got rid of everything and concluded that discord simply will not work for me. I actually really like haelrahv and I'm going to create a new thread devoted speciffically to it for those who are interested in it. I've made lots of friends on there and have already gotten far, to level 6 and almost to level 7 as a trooper. Sorry for the bit of off topic stuff here and I'll let you get back to discord. Just thought I'd throw my two cents in for what they're worth.
the iPhone app is a dumpster fire of accessibility failures.
I tried Discord once. I was able to create an account. I also managed to create a server. But then, Discord kept telling me, to activate my microphone, and I had no idea, how to do this.
Also, it suggested a person as my friend, whom I have only in my Skype contacts. I found that very weird.
In the end, I gave up on the program.
If it should become accessible some day, I will give it another try. Especially, if we should get an accessible multiplayer mainstream game, that is no Beat-Em-Up. In some far, far away future...
I do use Discord, To some amount of struggle. Really, the worst of it is several unlabeled buttons and graphics, and on windows 7, notifications steal away a screen reader's focus. Oh, and right clicking, and moving volume sliders are a pain in the neck to near impossible. Other than that, discord works with NVDA at least.