2018-11-27 01:02:52

We've just given our studio website a minor update and tested it with NVDA. As part of the refresh, we've posted up some small paid work opportunities that are likely to present themselves in a couple of weeks.

The website is www.blindsparrowinteractive.com

If you go visit, please let me know how readable the site is for you. Any and all feedback is welcome. Thanks!

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2018-11-27 06:00:20

Over all an excellent job!
The use of skip to content and proper section headings is seriously appreciated.
Just a few small things.

1. Not sure how you would integrate this (I'm totally not knowledgeable about web development but I'm guessing their are plugins for it) but some contrast/text size options would be a very useful addition for those that can read large print.
2. You might want to put a return to top link at the bottom.
3. the button for opening the search box is just called "WIDGETS" which if you haven't heard the term or don't know that search is one of them is somewhat misleading. Ideally the search box would just be exposed by default, or the button would be called something like "press to open search box".
4. Our vision heading has some spelling/grammar mistakes.
5. You have two return to home links, one right above and one right under the WIDGETS button, just a bit redundant.
6. If you can right up a long description of your logo in text, that would be cool, just have a "press to see long description" type link below it or something. Just an extra thing however.

Major props for wanting to hire some blind people! I think that's awesome, just be careful to make sure their skills are up to snuff, because quota hires can backfire and make the overall product suffer.

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

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2018-11-27 12:33:06

@2 Thanks for the fantastic feedback. The site uses a Wordpress theme as its overall container, so I'll probably have to look into how it's put together to make some of those changes. Other changes, though, should be simple. And, yes, we're quite committed to making the site very readable. I'm not sure if you have any sight, but the text on the page is already high contrast and uses a large font size and ample spacing and kerning to increase readability. But, some user defined options are a great idea. Out of interest, what set-up did you use to test the site? JAWS, NVDA or something else?

Thanks for the word of caution on development. I agree. We won't put quota ahead of quality. That said, we believe that we will be able to find talented blind and vision impaired developers, quality assurance testers, voice over artists, coders and the like. We also have a commitment to exploring ways that we can help to increase the development of these skills. We have some ideas, but it is still early days right now.

Once again, thanks for your awesome feedback, @defender.

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2018-11-27 19:52:46

NP, and yeah I'm totally blind so I missed that.
I used NVDA 2018.3.2 with the most up to date 64 Bit versions of Firefox 63, Chrome 70  and IE 11.
I didn't see it before, all the other stuff that opens with the widgets button, mostly wordpress stuff. and some comments/archives, Not sure if you want that stuff to be shown to the user by default or if you even plan on using it for visitors.
Ah yeah also forgot, you didn't link to ag.net in your resources. Which, may be purposeful but thought I'd remind you just encase it wasn't.
By the way, good job labeling your search box properly, allot of people don't so when using letter navigation, it just says edit box, but yours says search.

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

Thumbs up +1

2018-11-28 00:28:51

Again, thanks! I think the menu system will take a little bit of working through. From memory, I'm pretty sure AG.net was one of the resources listed on the pages I provided links to, but that's a great idea to give it a link of its own. Cheers!

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2018-11-28 21:58:42 (edited by defender 2018-12-06 04:08:43)

Decided to go over it again just cuz I was bored and point out some things that aren't specifically about the site it's self.

Over all if you want to include low vision users more, you could use the acronym "VI" (visually impaired) nearly all of us know what it means and you could quietly define it early on for those that don't. You did use it once though and it's up to you. I'm total so I'm not a big part of the partial community, they may understand it perfectly after all and I'm just full of shit.

Did you mean this site was made to be screen reader friendly and low vision accessible?

About Us
I think you meant to say blind/low vision accessible

Work Opportunities":
Extra "to" when talking about hoping to increase that split in the future.

Our Vision:
You have a "b." section but no "A." section :-)
Missing connective words between "2023" and "regarded". I see the "–" but most screen readers won't pick that up by default.

you say "sight" accessibility again. Maybe this is an Australian term? If so it's a bit misleading but, does kind of make sense at the same time. LOL
We usually say vision loss, but I think we can figure it out.

By the way I doubt your going to find more than a handful of non professional voice actors here, and most won't have good mics. Even fewer females... Kind of odd honestly. But we always appreciate good quality voice acting and pick on the opposite around here so it may be a big risk even if you do find someone LOL. Sorry to be a downer. Tabletop RPG players though? Look for MUD/browser game  topics that have posts mentioning RP with the advanced search and you should find them their. We have a decent amount.
Or, you could make a post specifically about it in general games. That'd be easier for you anyway.

As another aside, while I do appreciate the thought, it was shown in the "the vale" topics that audio gamers really don't much care for blind protagonists. Take the player character in most audio games as an example, Shades of Doom, Superliam, TDV, Tarzan Junior, Treasure Hunt, Swamp, RTR, AHC and many more. If it's ever mentioned that the player is using some kind of device to help them navigate like an audio scope it's nearly always only in passing and just their to head off occasional comments  about believability (as if that's the only thing that makes a blind guy getting into gun fights hard to believe) or  framed as a future technology to make their game a bit more unique, while most never even mention it and just (rightfully) assume that most players won't care much. I know it seems counter intuitive but when you think about it it does make sense. The majority of us just want a game that's as close to the mainstream as possible, so we see things like that as hype mainly to get sighted players interested. Which, over all can be a good thing anyway so it's a bitter sweet sort of feeling, and in really story heavy games (of which we have almost none) it may be more useful.
Essentially I think we'd rather have a normal person so we can live vicariously through them (as pathetic as that may sound) you don't play a game like Skyrim or Darksouls where you can choose your race, armor, body type, face, ETC so you can just be your self (at least most people don't) you do it so you can get a taste of what it'd be like to be so powerful/awesome looking.
And of course many of us  subconsciously put our selves in the shoes of the main character of a book we're reading, like Harry Potter, or Percy Jackson.
So while a strong blind character is cool (take the blind swordsman from the game of the same name, or Edward Blake from A Blind Legend) and may empower those who are newly blind, it doesn't do much for the majority of audio gamers.
Yet at the same time, Falling Squirrel games (the developers of The Vale) said that focus groups with older blind people who didn't really ever play audio games, showed them that a strong blind character was wanted.
I'm just saying you will get backlash, but over all it will also  help get you more sales and spread awareness of the game. It's just something to look out for, and you may consider only doing it in a couple games where you feel it's really important, and maybe not your first one.
Here are the topics in question. I bet you their is also the same kind of discussion on the old Blind Legend and Blind Swordsman topics, but because Falling Squirrel made it a priority like you have, I think it was more so for them.
https://forum.audiogames.net/topic/2424 … st-thread/
https://forum.audiogames.net/topic/2631 … st-signup/
https://forum.audiogames.net/topic/2654 … iscussion/

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

Thumbs up

2018-12-05 05:11:25

To everyone who gave some advice, sorry I haven't made these changes yet. There was a sudden death in my family and this last week has been difficult. I do appreciate the time given and hope to get onto it later this week. Thanks.

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2018-12-05 05:32:45

@6 A fantastic re-visit on the site and some really powerful insights. Thanks @defender.

Regarding blind protagonists, I'm very mindful of games that have characters that are blind and do a terribly average job of explaining why or how they can be doing the things they do in the game. We're going to be putting a lot of time into working out a way we don't fall into this trap ourselves. I wonder if the slightly negative attitude towards blind protagonists is due to the poor depictions of the past. I have two autistic boys and I loathe many of the Hollywood depictions of autism, particularly given that my boys are low functioning, so I tend to feel negatively towards entertainment that steps into that space. Thanks, though, for the food for thought.

As for the use of the phrase "sight accessibility", I think it comes from trying to encapsulate too much in a single phrase and attempting to avoid anything that would cause offence. As a sighted person, I'm acutely aware that blindness and the broader topic of accessibility is not something I live every day and can't speak from personal experience about. We just want to get the phrasing and terminology as right as we can, but like anything and everything in language, everyone has different expressions and preferences. I'm sure over time I'll become more confident and use better phrases, but right now it's still a big learning curve.

I'm going to go back through the website tomorrow or Friday and work on the rest of the elements that you picked out. Thanks again for your help. If you'd ever like to do some small paid QA work for Blind Sparrow, send an email to me. I think you'd be excellent at it.

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2018-12-06 04:18:48 (edited by defender 2018-12-06 04:21:06)

Sorry to hear about that sudden loss. :-(

If you are set on a blind main character (again it's useful for getting the word spread/around the indi mainstream for kickstarter backing or attracting non audio gamers anyway) then I'm happy to hear your at least thinking hard about how to do it well, it's definitely a confidence booster.
Honestly I think audio gamers may just need to learn how to get used to it anyway when mainstream devs are involved, we shouldn't get so hung up on it when we're getting such professional content compared to our usual games, it's only natural for sighted devs to want to do that and as long as they try to do it well, it's really not so bad.
And yeah I will send you an email, I hope I can be of some use, I've helped Beta test for A Hero's Call, Park Boss, and now The Vale.

This... -- Is CNN'.
Well Ted, it sure looks like there's been uh, quite a bit of violence around here
"aaoh, that violence was terrible'!"
Yeah it was, pretty bad.

Thumbs up

2018-12-06 06:16:49

@9 Thanks. It's been a rough one.

Looking forward to your email @Defender.

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2018-12-06 07:22:25

In reguards as to contrast, viewing your site, it seems to be wordpress powered.
Having  been on the test team and also as an admin for  a friend's blog, all you need to do is search for plugins you want to use and install them from the wordpress plugin page.

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2018-12-07 05:04:48

@11 Thanks. Do you have any plugins you would suggest?

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2018-12-07 07:29:51 (edited by Blind Sparrow Interactive 2018-12-07 07:30:05)

Website updates have been made. But, as I suspected, completely removing the menu is beyond my skills at this point. This is causing the page that has the search box, categories and so on to appear. Ultimately, for now I just want one page, no menu, no widgets.

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2018-12-07 10:23:51

You might be better off just hand coding the html yourself, that way you can do whatever you want without being limited to crappy WP plugin limitations.

2018-12-10 08:50:24

@14 Thanks. You might be right. Or, I might get someone else to do it. Something to think about when I have a bit more time.

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