Have you noticed that a lot of games either don't have screen reader support or if they do it ... leaves something to be desired?

This is because it's incredibly hard to create screen reader experiences from a development process.

Let's break it down! #gamdev #a11y

Let's start by talking about screen readers! A screen reader is a form of assistive technology that renders text and image content as speech.

Screen readers use APIs/frameworks offered by the platform (such as UIA on Windows) to know what content is there and read it out loud!
Screen readers exist on Playstation, Xbox, PC/Windows and mobile devices!

... but not the Switch. So we've already hit our first roadblock. 🤷‍♀️
Secondly, how games are developed and packaged aren't done in a way that plays nice with these frameworks so they can't actually be used in a lot of cases.

Meaning again, we've hit another roadblock.
Some platforms, like Xbox, do offer systems that can do speech synthesis to "fake" having a screen reader, which is great! But it's also not without it's draw backs.

First, they're platform specific, so if you're multi-plat, you're going to have to find multiple solutions.
Secondly, a lot of speech synthesis options have to be manually hooked up to each string. It's not like a screen reader where it will just work as long as you've formatted it correctly.

This of course, leaves a lot of room for human error.
There are also some cloud based options (like Playfab/Azure) that at least can be used on any platform, even the Switch!

But, there is still a lot of manual work and they aren't free - they're a service and it comes with a fee.
For some games, cloud services aren't going to work and the devs decide to go a different route, such as generating audio files and shipping them with the game.

This is actually what Naughty Dog did for Last of Us 2. They used Read Speaker to generate the files & shipped them!
So, where does that leave us as game devs wanting to make great screen reader experiences? Well, we need support.

Maybe you could start by emailing @UnrealEngine and asking what it would take to make this a supported feature instead of experimental 👀

You could also check out @ReadSpeaker's new plug in for both Unity and Unreal!

The ReadSpeaker game engine plugins for Unity and Unreal allow you to add dynamic text-to-speech functionality to your games at runtime.

Of course, you can also always check out the accessibility options in the GDK: docs.microsoft.com/en-us/gaming/g…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Tara Voelker ✨

Tara Voelker ✨ Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @LadieAuPair

Dec 28, 2019
@LesterCovax @brycej @LittleRabbtPaws @Twitch @awscloud @WatchMixer @Azure @ianhamilton_ 1/ Alright - to address some some of your questions/thoughts.

So separating audio, I can meant from the video itself. We already support separate audio channels (which is how we do multiple languages for our big shows) but ...
@LesterCovax @brycej @LittleRabbtPaws @Twitch @awscloud @WatchMixer @Azure @ianhamilton_ 2/ For streamers using Xsplit, OBS or Native Broadcasting on the Xbox, although the sources are individual on the streamer side, when they make it to us, it's all collapsed together, making it all jumbled. They aren't sending their voice along like we do for big shows.
@LesterCovax @brycej @LittleRabbtPaws @Twitch @awscloud @WatchMixer @Azure @ianhamilton_ 3/ This is why when people use an automated system right now, it would be more accurate than us trying to make captions from the whole video.

It would take work for streaming software & Xbox to split it before it comes to us, which is doable, just takes time &making it priority
Read 12 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!