In the latest version, the blind gamers started pushing the game in a direction where it would be harder for sighted people to play.
We needed a way to distinguish between a sighted gamer and a visually impaired gamer, so the app would behave appropriately for both groups. Blind gamers are much better at audio games, so they don’t need long explanations of each sound, and they want to eliminate as many steps as possible to get to the fun parts of the game. Sighted gamers, on the other hand, learn better when they see instructions on the screen, and listen to the instructions, and then tap the screen to continue.
This difference was solved by including an AUDIO EXPERT button when the game first starts. Blind gamers usually tap that button; sighted gamers don’t. When the AUDIO EXPERT button is pressed, the game proceeds more quickly through the explanations in the first few levels.
Similarly, we tell the user that “For help in braille mode, tap the screen with 3 fingers”, and we include a HELP button in the upper left corner. When blind gamers want help, they tap the screen with 3 fingers, since they don’t know about the HELP button. When tapped, the game gives instructions based on the game’s gestures (not the buttons). Sighted gamers tend to ignore that audio message, and instead push the HELP button, and they read a short help on how to control the game.
Several gamers asked for a full user guide, so they could understand all of the features of the game, how scoring was done, etc. Others wanted a description of each level, with clues on how to solve them.
Our group of testers thought including a description of each level would take away some of the excitement of the game, so we settled on just including a user guide; it’s the first option in the SETTINGS screen, and blind gamers listen to it with voice-over. I’m not sure how sighted gamers will take it; many gamers expect the game to be self-explanatory, and they don’t want to read through 8 screens (on an iPhone) of information.