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Unity Accessibility and inclusion

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by maryllu, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. maryllu

    maryllu

    Unity Technologies

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    It is not possible at this time without some major work (as some users above seem to have tried before). The issue in not that one key doesn't "work" it is more that many of the functions in screen reader software does not currently work in the Editor itself or at runtime. However it is very beneficial for us to hear what specific functionalities are most needed. Thanks and please keep posting any feedback you have. We truly appreciate it.
     
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  2. techscouter

    techscouter

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    Jan 14, 2018
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    Thank you very much for this accessibility and inclusion thread. Supporting accessibility at the game engine level (vs. by each developer individually or as 3rd-party plugin) could have a great impact.

    Just wanted to add my 2 cents for highly encouraging this approach. The feedback below is based on my experience developing a game engine library, Accessible Realities*, for blind accessibility (briefly described below).

    Some advantages of game engine support:
    • Development effort: developing accessibility support as a plugin using the resources (like: budget, expertise, developer hours) of a single developer or a small team is economically quite a challenge. Contributing (ideas, code, assets etc.) to accessibility support developed by a game engine company itself could be more effective in my opinion
    • Consistency: developers and players alike would know what to expect:
      • Consistent accessibility features behavior across games
      • Common ways to trigger and configure the features (menus/ gestures)
      • Shared vocabulary for easier communication of games’ supported accessibility features
    • Updates: keeping accessibility support in sync from day one with:
      • Future updates of the game engine itself
      • Future developments of partner platforms (consoles, mobile operating systems etc.)
    • Leveraging existing infrastructure for accessibility features:
      • Training (tutorials, sample code, courses)
      • Marketing materials (online, print, presentations)
      • Support channels (official and non official)
    • Best practices: usage of game engine company resources to gather input for, find, implement, define if needed and thoroughly test a best practice solution for each accessibility area
      • If I’m allowed to dream :) then... collaborate with additional industry players and even other game engine companies to formalize these best practices as industry standards
    • Security considerations as mentioned by @JamesArndt
    • Availability to developers: can be provided with no extra cost, conveniently included as part of the game engine itself. Making accessibility an integral part of game development.
    There are probably many other reasons for supporting accessibility at the game engine level.
    Thank you for this great initiative, it has the potential to bring a lot of value to game accessibility - so everyone can play!

    ---
    * A few words about Accessible Realities: it is a game engine blind accessibility software library. It enables developers to make video games and VR/AR/MR accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. It is still in alpha stage for more thorough testing. The library currently supports a different game engine (so I really hope it is OK to mention it briefly here for the purpose of this thread) but it looks like there are no barriers to support its features in Unity as well. This would enable a unified accessibility experience across games for end users no matter what is the origin of the game. Even if not fully supporting it in Unity, I think that checking out the following blog post could provide some useful generic blind accessibility ideas.

    I would be more than happy to further discuss any collaboration opportunities!

     
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  3. SightlessKombat

    SightlessKombat

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    Jul 14, 2019
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    Hi,
    Given that I'm new to the forum and had some accessibility issues signing up (requiring sighted assistance to check boxes that weren't accessible to screen readers and accessing elements that weren't labelled properly, I hope this reply comes through correctly.

    By way of an introduction, I'm an accessibility consultant and gamer without sight. I use the term "Gamer Without Sight" (GWS) as "legal blindness", often just shortened to being "blind", can and often does include usable and/or residual vision, which I've never had. I create content on YouTube and stream on Mixer, as well as writing reviews for games and gaming-related products, in addition to my primary method of consulting, namely visiting studios and speaking at events to network with developers on how to improve their products for GWS like myself.

    Now with that out of the way, here's my 2 cents as to Unity's need to be accessible.

    First off, I'm really glad that Unity is looking into becoming more accessible, in part because to GWS like myself, Unity has been a sore point for many years. Whenever I've asked developers "what engine is your game running in" and they say "Unity", the response has not only been one of frustration from myself, but the same from the developers in question as well given that, most of the time, they are aware of the inherent issues faced by screen readers wanting to hook into Unity's mechanisms. Altering the controls from the visual-oriented interface that has been commonplace for a very long time would not also ease the frustrations for screen reader users who want to try Unity for themselves, but also allow a consultant like myself to mock up prototypes to take to studios.

    Allow me to illustrate by way of an example:
    Numerous times when I've gone into studios, I've had an idea in terms of one of their current projects that really could work. However, said idea is difficult to put across without a demonstration of some kind.

    Instead of being able to go into Unity and put together a bunch of pre-made areas and objects to allow for a smooth and relatively playable prototype in a short period of time, I have to either create something from an existing game (modding a title for example with sounds from other titles to illustrate where I'm trying to go with the idea), or have no prototype at all, which can hamper my ability to get developers on board with the concept in the first place. The former alternative also limits my ability to accurately demonstrate new mechanics for instance that have never been used before and is not ideal when you, for instance, only have a few days to put something substantial together.

    Now, as to making the engine accessible (though I've not used it myself due to the things I've heard about how it works at present), the use of standard Windows controls (buttons, checkboxes, combo boxes, edit boxes etc), all being properly labelled with accurate text would be a great start. Also, not relying on moving and working with things with the mouse would be a great start too.

    As for accessibility of games made in the engine, allowing screen readers to hook in natively would be the best possible start I'd say. That would then open up the possibilities for narrated menus, spoken in-game UI elements and other information without the need for third-party assets. Of course there are likely other elements within Unity that I'm unaware of that would assist in making games more accessible with the engine, but until I can use it effectively for myself, I won't comment on that side of things.

    Should there be opportunities to test new builds of a more accessible Unity experience, I am happy and willing to consult on such matters as well as test builds to provide further feedback.

    I look forward to seeing where this initiative goes in the future and should you have further questions after reading my above post, feel free to ask.

    P.S. I'm not sure what the best way to embed links within this forum is, but I'm happy to edit my post after the fact to include footage of gameplay I've recorded and that might assist in clarifying how gaming without sight works from my perspective.
     
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  4. optimise

    optimise

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    Hi @maryllu, I would like to provide a lot of feedback but there is one critical issue that Unity really needs to fix first. Case 1140018 I already getting no fix for months. Even now with the latest Nvidia driver I still get the same issue. It still cut the power of my laptop. I only able to reproduce this problem in Unity and no problem at any other software I used. I guess there are something wrong with Unity editor and this problem really need to get fix asap. If one day new Unity version introduces some new features that requires new Nvidia driver I will not able to use that features. Until now I still stuck at Nvidia 417.71 driver. Fun fact the game build with Unity does not cut the power of my laptop. So, I believe it's Unity Editor problem that emits something.
     
  5. maryllu

    maryllu

    Unity Technologies

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    Feb 1, 2018
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    Thanks for this. I have been testing a bit. So far I have found two major issues:

    1. Navigating to Unity ID in the header area is difficult to access and the tab stops are not properly set. (this makes sign-in and account creation difficult)
    2. Navigating to the page content seems to be impossible (I *think* I found the associated bug on this one).

    So far I have just tested with Mac OS desktop VoiceOver the Chrome browser. I will test on Windows and other browsers as well.

    Any other tips are appreciated and will help us fix faster. Thanks!
     
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  6. maryllu

    maryllu

    Unity Technologies

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    Feb 1, 2018
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    Hi everyone,


    We are in the process of evolving the Unity Editor UX based on user feedback. This is the initial phase of a long term effort that will be released in multiple phases. One of our goals for the Editor is to ensure that it is accessible to a wider range of users and support a wider range of abilities.


    We invite you to try the beta release and share your feedback with us. We want to remind you that this is a work in progress, and we’re still iterating based on your input. Thank you for taking the time to try this prototype and share your thoughts.


    Here’s how to proceed:

    1. Download Unity Hub and install the Unity Beta Release Unity 2019.3.0a10.

    2. Install your extensions.

    3. Explore the Beta.

    4. We encourage you to use it for at least an hour, in common scenarios.

    5. Fill out this survey to tell us about your experience relative to the goals. The survey should only take 10-15 minutes to complete.
    Thank you for all the great comments on this channel as well. We appreciate your patience and support!
     
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  7. maryllu

    maryllu

    Unity Technologies

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    Feb 1, 2018
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    Hey @JamesArndt if you would like to help make Unity a little better I have posted a survey below about he theming in the 19.3 release. https://forum.unity.com/threads/accessibility-and-inclusion.694477/page-2#post-4803467
     
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  8. maryllu

    maryllu

    Unity Technologies

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    Feb 1, 2018
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    Hey @McFunkypants we would love your two cents on the latest beta version for Unity: https://forum.unity.com/threads/accessibility-and-inclusion.694477/page-2#post-4803467
     
  9. SightlessKombat

    SightlessKombat

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    Jul 14, 2019
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    @marylluJust wanted to take the time to say that, whilst signing up on Edge on Windows 10 via NVDA, checkboxes did not read correctly with the screen reader. Think this was my main problem, though without going through the sign-up process again, I can't be entirely sure.
    Also, I wanted to download the Unity hub as per your instructions above, but the instructions you provided do not seem to correlate very well to what you can actually download, as the Unity beta page just brings you to a sign-up process and not a way to download/install the unity hub with a certain beta.


    I look forward to being able to test any changes in the near future, of course given the editor and other Unity elements have the correct accessibility in place.