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screen reader accessibility for unity

Discussion in 'Accessibility' started by visionman50, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. visionman50


    Dec 19, 2017
    hi. a game programming student and using the jaws for windows screen reader from unity is falling down in accessibility. and will outline the pitfalls and the possible fixes. unity has a low priority for the blind and is breaking the americans with dsiabilities act and also the americans with disabilities section 508 act, which in part, says that apps, products, services must be accessible for the blind. some parts of unity, does read, but others don't. there's a new accessibility ui, pack, not free, but costs $79. but don't have a credit card or paypal, and don't have a cell phone. must be the only blind person in australia, does not have this. okay if any senior management, or programmers, if allowed to modify source code. will explain how a screen reader works. you either purchase a paid copy of jaws or you use a free windows screen reader , Non Visual Desktop Access, (nvda) from then it will then use a text to speech engine to convey what is on screen in a nanno second and then output to the user, in synthetic speech, and the user can hear what is on screen and use the keyboard to navigate. so, will outline the flaws and possible remedies. 1. the developers of unity, should have tested the engine with two or three screen readers, then they could have picked up potentional issues. 2. Start screen, nvda and windows narrator only reads with that, jaws, just struggles. 3. In a web browser, the screen reader injects some code into the browser, to get the information, as dll and hooks. 3. no keyboard short cut to turn off start screen. 4. some keyboard short cuts, but none for in the preferences dialog. 5. the preferences and external dialog fails to speak at all using jaws, nvda, windows narrator and Window-eyes, from, which has been no longer being sold, as freedom scientific purchase gwmicro. but still can get the free window-eyes for office, which i downloaded, as have a full copy of office 2016, 32 bit. 5. when in a scene, could tell screen reader coocrdinates of objects, how far bottom, top, left right, centre, or how far over, and not to collide. 6. does not read the tree view at all with four screen readers. NVDa does read the start screen, and able to create a new game, but not able to determine which version. should be a way to go straight to the editor. and bypass or turn off the start screen. 7. C# scripts load fine in visual studio. had to get sighted help to set up the external editor for that and got the unity visual studio tools. wish there was visual studio templates for that. so, if any accessibility gurus, here on the group or posting to the wrong forum sub group. have contacted unity , support. but, they cannot seem to understand. so, test it with several screen readers, and also try system access. you can get a trial 7 day licence for testing. or also you can purchase a timed 90 day licence for jaws for testing accessibility for applications, web sites, apps. using windows 10 64 bit pro, jaws 2018 version 18.120, latest febuary update, got nvda 2018.1, and got window-eyes 9.5.4. so, is there a accessibility dept on unity. so, if any of management, if we are not allowed to modify the core source code, for screen readers, then , unity has to make the changes. if they are not willing to make the necessary changes, i outlined. and any others they may encounter, needs accessibility testing and code modification. the only accessible game engine for the blind is blast bay studios, i think or and they use angel script, and does have some limitations, and for audio, 2d, and 3d, unless unity wants to purchase bgt, and has not been updated in years. pity, not mroe accessible game engines. if unity is not willing to come to the party, the only way, is for the blindness agencies, launch class actions, which they have done in the past and been successful, against such corporations as target, for not making their site accessible, and was awarded damages, against target, and had to pay the nfb to make their site accessible. just my two cents, and just a one blind programming student, and want to use unity, but some of it is not accessible. final thought. compile, works fine and the setup and the sln and slx file in visual studio works fine.
  2. dmakDD


    Jun 8, 2017
    Have you resolved this issue? Looking to do something similar.
  3. eagleeyez


    Mar 21, 2013
    2021 and still Unity are not accessible for the blind or partially sighted. I can only use zoom to struggle my way through this. I have been Using unity for many years and really wish that I could use a screen reader on it to be able to read the bubble comments that give you extra information on fields. It is very often, that these comments are very important to read as developers from other assets / plugins add comments to understand the workings of their asset. Without being able to have this text read out to me, means I have to zoom in and stick my head into the monitor and battle to read the text with my eyes. Screen readers can read the menus in Unity but that’s it. The rest is not text based and is more like trying to extract text from pictures.

    I don’t think Unity will ever help with accessibility, as they are only interested in making money and not in people.

    So if you are bind or partially sighted you are ducked using Unity unless you use ZoomText and 2 monitors and zoom setup so that you can zoom separately on each screen.

    Good Luck to anyone blind or partially sighted trying to battle their way through Unity and may the JAWS be with you.

    Unity, you should be ashamed of your company philosophy.
  4. benoitd_unity


    Unity Technologies

    Jan 2, 2018
    Hi eagleeyez and thanks for your feedback.

    We're currently doing research so we can make Unity more accessible. We acknowledge it's a frustrating situation as things are not moving as fast as we would hope. It's a large area that we need to better understand, especially in the context of a mature software application. It presents some interesting technical challenges.

    I noticed you're aware of the survey we recently ran, sorry to see you just missed it. If you're still interested to help, I'm sure there will be many other opportunities. Could we reach out to you for participating in upcoming research activities?
    LinnPeder and karl_jones like this.
  5. eagleeyez


    Mar 21, 2013
    Most certainly I would love to help. I will test anything you throw at me and I could also point out some simple ideas just to get started.

    It is difficult for many to understand why accessibility so very important is and why nobody should be cut out of the equation.

    Yes, this could happen to anyone at any time and then you begin to realize that the whole world is right handed.

    Accessibility actualey means all disabilities and is not subject to just the blind or partially sighted.

    A person in a wheel chair may need a lift or ramp to get to their computer but they are still able to use the computer just like everyone not sitting in a wheel chair unless they happen to have other disabilities.

    The same goes for people who are hard of hearing or only have one hand or some other kind of disability where hardware solutions like one handed keyboards and other hardware solutions can assist them in still using the software.

    However when you are blind or partially sighted you are very reliant on the software end of things . There is some hardware like a braille keyboard but that is not going to help you much if the software you are using is not accessible.

    Now why would somebody who is blind want to be able to use a game engine platform like Unity?

    This is a very good question and to be very honest somebody who is completely blind is going to have to answer that question for you.

    I am severely partially sighted like most probably many here that actually want to use unity for some reason or another.

    So we are not completely blind and can see with the help of zooming into the screen and be able to drag around gismos, type stuff into boxes, add content and program using an accessible IDE.

    It gets difficult when you actually want to read stuff in the editor. Usually anything written like the hierarchy, project assets, lighting, settings and so on should be able to be spoken out, usually if you can copy a text you can let a screen reader read that out to you. But in Unity even if you rename a game object and copy that to the clipboard you get no reaction from a screen reader like Jaws, NVDA or even the built in Microsoft screen reader which is now very similar to the most popular industry standard from freedom scientific Jaws. Unity reacts as if it was just a blank picture. ‘You can only access the above rows like file, window and so on and the screen reader can tell you if you are in the project window or hierarchy windows. But that’s it nothing else I’m afraid.

    Tooltips are something that would be the most helpful thing for us in Unity, they tell you what something does or a third party asset will also have these tips to guide users on what certain things do in their plugins. Sadly, we cannot access this information with our screen readers and even zooming in to try and read the tooltip bubbles they disappear as soon as we move the mouse away from the activation point. We have to move to be able to read the text as we are zoomed in so far to enlarge the text to try and be able to read it. If I could just copy the popup tooltips, bubbles into the clipboard a screen reader could read that to me. Sadly, not even that is possible in Unity.

    If you could just even make the popups be automatically copied to the clipboard as soon as we go over them with a mouse, that would make my day already. Then I could let Jaws read me back the clipboard. For me already that would be 70% of the problem solved.

    …….Make my day…..

    There are many things that pose a struggle and challenged here for partially sighted and could all be addressed if taken seriously.

    It is difficult to explain and I would have to write here a book to get the message across.

    I have decided to make a video of me using Unity as is. That means how I try and overcome the barriers because no other possibilities are offerd from the Unity software itself.

    Things like using Software like ZoomText to have access to 2 monitors being able to zoom independently from each other. This is important when using the scene view and entering sliders, transforms or any kind of input and be able to see the results enlarged on the second screen.

    Using screen shots and OCR to actually read the tooltips if they are long and I feel I need to know what information is being conveyed to me on how to use that function, slider, input field.

    And then using some assets like Ucontext and full screen to drag stuff out and get a better overview using zoom.

    I am very happy to see dark theme come to Unity personal as this was a major headacke for me over the years and I found it very discriminating not to have this function because I was not a Pro user.

    And the text has gotten a little better as that was sickening to look at over the years and could still be better.

    I will get started tomorrow on the video and try and get it all done for the weekend. I will get back here and discus it then more but I think for Unity, most probably seeing will be believing.

    So I will end this post with one of my favourite sayings.

    “We will see”, said the blind man to the deaf man. And the deaf man said, “What?”

    Last edited: May 31, 2021
    LinnPeder likes this.
  6. mrpaultdgeoghegan


    Dec 20, 2023
    I'm just wondering if there has been any progress on this? I'm the owner of a software company and we are looking in to expanding in to game development. I myself am a blind software engineer so it is very important to me that Unity is accessible and that you can make accessible games with it.
  7. JuliaP_Unity


    Unity Technologies

    Mar 26, 2020
    Yes, progress has been made in screen reader integration! For apps made with Unity only so far, not the Unity Editor itself just yet.

    There's a new API on Unity 2023.2 and newer (so Unity 2023.3 as well) that allows for screen reader use in Mobile platforms (Android and iOS). The entry point is through the AssistiveSupport class in the Accessibility module. We're currently working on a sample we'll publish showing an example of how to use this API on a game :)
  8. Hral


    Sep 23, 2021
    I have a colleague with disabilities as well, he also would like to use nvda reading tools in the editor.
  9. Cold-oscillation


    May 1, 2024
    Dear team.
    I'm learning software development myself as a blind person and would like to work with Unity as well. first of all, I was very happy to read that a lot of work has been put in to make it easier for developers to make their games accessible for blind people. who would have thought that it would be so easy and get any attention at all. This would have been unthinkable in the past. then it is only logical that the software used to programme such games should be even more accessible. especially because the main working tool of most blind people is the computer and therefore many blind people also have a job that has to do with computers. The fact that blind people now have the opportunity to enjoy a hobby like gaming is really great. however, the accessibility of Unity is about jobs. you would make a huge contribution if you made Unity accessible. You would be creating new jobs for blind people and maintaining existing jobs. even if the demand for such a feature may not be high in your perception, it is often because many blind people no longer expect to be taken seriously at all. I think you would be doing a lot of people a huge favour.
    JuliaP_Unity likes this.