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Old 10-14-2007, 08:31 AM   #1
KaVir
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Blind support (category proposal)

Slightly over a year ago, there was some discussion about custom clients and their impact on blind players: http://www.topmudsites.com/forums/ad...nd-telnet.html (do a find search for "blind").

About six months ago on another discussion forum, I proposed the idea of a separate category for 'blind support'. I think TMS could also benefit from such a category, as it would help get positive attention from AudioGames.net and similar sites.

My initial thought was to have four options:

[ ] UNPLAYABLE: The mud requires a special client without screen reader functionality, or for some other reason cannot be played with a screen reader client.

[ ] LIMITED SUPPORT: There are difficulties for blind players, such as not being able to switch off colour, prompt, or ascii maps.

[ ] STANDARD SUPPORT: Most stock muds fall into this catagory, and it would also be the default.

[ ] ACTIVE SUPPORT: Includes additional features designed to aid blind players, such as alternative table displays and customisable aliases.


The above would also include a text box, for clarifying exactly what sort of support (or lack of support) is available.


If the above is considered too much for such a minority (only 277 of the 10765 characters in my mud use the 'screen reader' mode) then perhaps it could instead be a simple yes/no radio button in the features section (ideally with a text box as well, but even just the radio button on its own would be enough to justify advertising TMS on forums for blind gamers).

Last edited by KaVir : 10-14-2007 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 10-14-2007, 08:49 AM   #2
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
Slightly over a year ago, there was some discussion about custom clients and their impact on blind players: http://www.topmudsites.com/forums/ad...nd-telnet.html (do a find search for "blind").

About six months ago on another discussion forum, I proposed the idea of a separate category for 'blind support'. I think TMS could also benefit from such a category, as it would help get positive attention from AudioGames.net and similar sites.

My initial thought was to have four options:

[ ] UNPLAYABLE: The mud requires a special client without screen reader functionality, or for some other reason cannot be played with a screen reader client.

[ ] LIMITED SUPPORT: There are difficulties for blind players, such as not being able to switch off colour, prompt, or ascii maps.

[ ] STANDARD SUPPORT: Most stock muds fall into this catagory, and it would also be the default.

[ ] ACTIVE SUPPORT: Includes additional features designed to aid blind players, such as alternative table displays and customisable aliases.


The above would also include a text box, for clarifying exactly what sort of support (or lack of support) is available.


If the above is considered too much for such a minority (only 277 of the 10765 characters in my mud use the 'screen reader' mode) then perhaps it could instead be a simple yes/no radio button in the features section (ideally with a text box as well, but even just the radio button on its own would be enough to justify advertising TMS on forums for blind gamers).
I think this is a fantastic idea.
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Old 10-14-2007, 09:08 AM   #3
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

Great idea.
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Old 10-14-2007, 11:03 AM   #4
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

I like this as well. NW has numerous blind players. Go Text Muds!

Last edited by Newworlds : 10-14-2007 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 10-14-2007, 01:01 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Blind support (category proposal)

Definitely pencil me in under "support".
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Old 10-14-2007, 03:51 PM   #6
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

My head coder uses a text-enlarger to read so we're loathe to introduce anything that will tax the ability of a person with visual impairment from enjoying the experience. I'm not sure where we'll stand in the options suggested. We'll probably qualify as "standard support" even though we'll definitely be taking visual impairment heavily in mind throughout the process of creating the game. We've found that a MUD client coupled with thoughtful design can eliminate most obstacles.

That said, I support this search option completely.
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Old 10-15-2007, 12:03 PM   #7
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

Sounds like a good idea to me, can't see any reason why not to add something like this!
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:42 PM   #8
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

I too like this idea.
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:49 PM   #9
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Thumbs up Re: Blind support (category proposal)

It would be 100% buzzword compliant to frame this concern in terms of 'accessibility'. Like over here: Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) - home page
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:19 AM   #10
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

Yeah, I remember killing some blind guy on Kavir's mud a while back. GW II. The kid sucked at pkilling but I was genuinely excited that a blind person could actually play a MUD. Needless to say after I realized he was blind I left him alone after that..

-D
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Old 10-18-2007, 04:54 AM   #11
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

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Originally Posted by chaosprime View Post
It would be 100% buzzword compliant to frame this concern in terms of 'accessibility'.
Accessibility includes far more than just blind and visually impaired users, though. While my mud does provide extra support for blind players, those with learning disabilities or motor/dexterity impairments are probably going to find it less accessible than most other muds (because there's a lot of complexity, and a lot of typing).

If there was just a single "accessibility" radio button with a text box, I suppose you could click the option and then state exactly what sort of accessibility features you support (although I fear we'd see a lot of muds clicking the radio button and then writing in the box "Fully accessible to those with hearing impairments"). But I don't think the four choices would work so well unless you split it up into specific disability types.

Another option would be to have a radio button for "Requires a custom client", although there are very few text-based muds that would need to select it. I think this would be much less useful for visually impaired players, although it could be of interest to others.
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Old 10-20-2007, 12:15 PM   #12
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

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Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
Accessibility includes far more than just blind and visually impaired users, though. While my mud does provide extra support for blind players, those with learning disabilities or motor/dexterity impairments are probably going to find it less accessible than most other muds (because there's a lot of complexity, and a lot of typing).
And not only that, but accessibility (including for the blind) is not so much governed by the MUD/MUSH/etc. but the client. The best the game can do is to not throw up roadblocks for clients. In other words, the game can at most promise to enable accessibility, not provide it (unless it provides a client with those features).
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Old 10-20-2007, 03:48 PM   #13
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Re: Blind support (category proposal)

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Originally Posted by Zhiroc View Post
And not only that, but accessibility (including for the blind) is not so much governed by the MUD/MUSH/etc. but the client. The best the game can do is to not throw up roadblocks for clients. In other words, the game can at most promise to enable accessibility, not provide it (unless it provides a client with those features).
While it's certainly the client that enables accessibility (at least in the case of blind players), there are still numerous ways in which the mud can facilitate that accessibility. For example:
  1. A way to switch off things like prompt, colour, non-readable character sequences, etc.
  2. A way to access character-specific information without having to keep typing 'score' - for example, aliases that can display health, mana, exp, or any other piece of data they might want to view without having to filter the entire score layout. While preset aliases are a definite plus, ideally the player should also be able to create their own aliases to access any piece of information they might need to play effectively.
  3. Filters for combat messages and other potentially spammy information. The mud can do this more effectively than the client, as it knows what each message represents - the client would have to guess, and would require effort to set up.
  4. The ability to retrieve information in a format that a screen reader can better interpret - for example, alternative ways to represent data that might normally be layed out in rows and columns within a table.
  5. Avoiding colour-coding as the only means of representing certain types of information. While colour-coding is a nice way to present a lot of information in a compact way, it shouldn't be the only way to view that information.
  6. An alternative means of navigation, if you use wilderness/overland maps. How will you let the the blind player know what terrain is around them? How can they discover that there's a forest way over to the north-east, and how can they quickly walk there?
  7. A way to easily activate all of these options - for example a 'config screen reader' option, or even (as I've seen one mud do) an alternative port number that players can connect to, which automatically activates all of the blind-friendly options.
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