Thanks to Judy (mentioned in an earlier post), I’ve started building a blind-friendly Sudoku game app. Judy Dixon is with the Library of Congress’ National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. I met her when I went to Boston to visit with some people at the Carroll Center for the Blind.
One of her complaints about other Sudoku apps in the iTunes App Store was that they supported voice-over, but were awkward to use and slowed her game playing down. I heard this from several teens when I visited recently Miami Lighthouse for the Blind.
Judy and I exchanged emails for a few weeks so I could understand what she didn’t like about the other games, and what would be appropriate for a fast-paced audio Sudoku game.
The general idea is that when you tap a cell, a man’s voice gives you the coordinates, and a woman’s voice tells you the contents of the cell – and it sets the cursor (just like a voice-over cursor). To hear the row, swipe left. To hear the column, swipe down. To hear the 3 by 3 box, swipe up. If the cell was filled in as part of the original puzzle, you hear a tone at the same time as you hear the woman’s voice. If you have multiple candidates in a cell, you hear a different tone while you hear the woman’s voice.
We are also including many settings, such as the voice speed, changing the column and row headers from numbers to letters (such as A 3 instead of 3 3), and whether or not the row or column numbers are spoken.
It took about 7 versions of the app before it Judy considered it ready for the App Store, and she just completed her first puzzle in Blindfold Sudoku. Every few days, Judy would give me feedback on the latest version. Based on her suggestions, I made changes and added more features, and Judy would evaluate the resultant version. The entire process took about a month.
We should be ready to launch the app within a week, and I look forward to getting feedback from other gamers.