When I talked about Phrase Madness last time, I mentioned that people thought the iPhone game was much worse than the Windows version – it took too long to find the matching phrase you want by scrolling up and down in the list.
About the same time, I was working on a project with another developer where we definitely needed to use a keyboard attached to an iPhone. I didn’t know at that time that many visually impaired people use a braille display/keyboard with their iPhone or iPad.
A braille display/keyboard serves two purposes. It has a set of 6 metal pins that represent each letter of the alphabet, and the display is 20 to 40 letters long, so a blind person can read the screen using braille instead of listening to words using voice over. It also has 6 or more buttons so they can type instead of using voice dictation, or typing with voice over. I’ll write another blog on how you can put your phone into voice over mode so you can understand how all that works.
Anyway, I had to improve all of the Blindfold Games to start using a keyboard. Both a standard bluetooth keyboard and a braille bluetooth keyboard work the same way. You just tell the phone that you are using a keyboard, and instead of typing with the pop-up screen keyboard, you type the same way you would use a keyboard on a PC or Mac.
It took a few days to develop a generic way of using a keyboard with the Blindfold Games, but once it was done, I changed Phrase Madness to go back to letters instead of numbers. Now, with an attached keyboard, you just type the letter of the position where the phrase is location. If you aren’t using a keyboard, and you swipe up or down to get to the position you want, the game speaks the letter name, such as fox for the letter F.
We released the game after another few rounds of testing, and so far, it seems to be a hit.