Unless you’ve been sleeping for the last four days or without access to the outside world, you won’t have failed to notice the latest craze which is Pokemon Go! It’s a location based Pokémon game where you have to visit the locations and capture the Pokémon characters first. People have been rushing around in the last few days, often congregating in large groups trying to get these characters first. They’ve been getting off trains prematurely just because they realised they were about to miss out, someone was even rescued from a cave on Friday whilst playing this game! The demand was so high yesterday that the server went down.
So why am I writing about this? Surely you say, I’m far too old to be interested! Well yes, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious, so I downloaded it yesterday! Yes I know, I was only going to see where my nearest location was, honest!
It didn’t surprise me, however, when I opened it up, that no Voiceover support has been included in the game at all so it is completely inaccessible to blind people. All I got was some music and nothing on the screen that I could work with.
My reason for writing this is on behalf of blind young people who have the technology at their fingertips in the form of iOS or Android devices, but yet they are still excluded. So often the latest crazes are not accessible to blind people and in these days of inclusive education, it must be very frustrating for blind young people who are still set apart in so many ways.
Unfortunately, I don’t know what the answer is. I will write to the developers of Pokémon Go but don’t expect to get anywhere. As with so many developers they have not built in accessibility from the ground up and their product is now so successful they will have no incentive to make it accessible to what would be perceived as a handful of people who are excluded.