I got some system in place for the blind to use my arrows adding an extra menu for it and inquired what would really make a chess app accessible. And Stefano who I would later learn is the Secretary of the Italian Blind Chess Federation explained to me what makes an accessible Chess app. And it needs an accessible board and speak move on iOS so your board squares can be read by the screen reader Voice Over and if they tap them speak similar to how a button reads out its text. See 99% of the chess apps that board is one big image that says nothing. I discovered this for anyone interested in accessibility for how to make DrawRect Accessible. See you can make a view group of your 64 squares and set up text based on which is tapped.
But that would not be enough. In April Stefano began mentioning could we get it translated into Italian. Initially i shrugged it off. Let them speak english i figured you want to use my apps. But Stefano explained that many in his Italian Blind Federation don't know English only Italian and could not use my apps even though i had made them accessible which is rare by itself. Well i was like drat i'll see what i can do and got a friend Andrey to start the first translation of OpeningTree writing localization code for Italian and we released an early version. Well Andrey wasn't going to keep doing my work so I took over localization and we translated now Lantern Chess into Italian. I had promised all 3 in Italian but had got a job so delayed on Pulsar.
There i've done it. His Italian friends can now use at least 2 of my apps. Well on august 19th i received an email from a blind Spanish chess player named Val. And it was not the greatest mail from my second blind user so far. He found my apps difficult to use for the blind with voice over in ways and in particular the language issue, they were not in Spanish was hard. Well i fixed his bugs and again I enlisted Andrey who knew some Spanish to do the Initial translation of OpeningTree into Spanish. But again he didn't want to keep doing my work for me and i found a translation service, Gengo.com. And proceeded to get all 3 apps finally translated into Spanish, French and Italian. Well Italian for Stefano and his friends and Spanish now for Val and it turns out there is no Spanish Blind Mailing list they use the French. Well I wanted Stefano to announce to the blind mailing lists we were accessible and translated and felt i could not let him use the French list and not also be translated into French so i paid for French and did the work.
Today Stefano writes me:
So we are finally announced internationally 4 months after Val's mail that we are accessible to the blind currently in three languages other than English.Hi Mike,
Three emails have been sent to different mailing lists.
As by this email they have been forwarded to other lists.
This is the spanish version, and I’m sending you french and italian too.
Google translation seemed good to me, and I only corrected them with the correct chess terms for moves and games.
Only major apps i've seen made accessible are Schredder, in English and German, and Chess Analyze this in English and Russian. I guess i don't know for sure but Pulsar Chess Engine, or Openingtree - Chess Openings or Lantern Chess and Icc interface maybe be some of the first accessible apps for the blind translated into some of these languages. It's a rare honor but it's one I don't have to hold onto forever. I want to again encourage anyone interested into also making their chess apps accessible to check out this fairly simple and easy to use web page on how to do it.