How can I read text using a screen reader from my game?

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  • Hello folks,

    Both my freelance work and full time job (different licenses) use Construct2 to create educational interactions/simulations for university programs, middle school students, or even corporate training.

    However, I am running into a wall with my projects I am hoping someone can help me with.

    Here in the States there is an act called "ADA Compliancy", that essentially sets accessibility requirements for many things, including educational materials. Most of these are pretty easy to design for without worrying about Construct2 such as keyboard controls or only using color pallets that the color blind or hard of sight can understand.

    However one ADA compliance area that Construct2 does have an issue with is screen readers.

    Before I go further, let me be clear that I am aware that Construct2 has Text-to-Speech capability that could functionally handle reading text (I've proposed this method to my boss). Unfortunately for the purposes of ADA Compliancy, this is apparently not an option. I specifically need to be able to read text from a C2 project using a screen reading plugin like one of these: ... r?hl=en-US )

    If you've ever tried to have a screen reader read from a Construct2 project you know it doesn't work as the canvas is essentially a black-box to the screen reader.

    I need a solution that makes text in Construct2 readable by a screen reader. The alternative is that we will probably have to move away from using Construct2 to develop, which would be a shame because it's the only thing fast enough (IMO) to develop the complex kinds of learning interactions we make in short development cycles.

    Any suggestions or thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  • First let me say, I think that its awesome how you are doing this type of work as your profession, and can really respect you for doing this.

    If i'm understanding this correctly, you are using Construct to handle your graphical processes, and using a separate device/program to read it out.

    Instead of having Construct be responsible to give the data to the screen-reader, how about you just take a screenshot from the local machine?

    Hear me out on this, developing a simple Python program and using something like Google's "Tesseract OCR" (The type of plugin that companies like Tesla use in order to develop their self-driving cars, or authorities use to develop facial recognition) in order to analyze screenshots that are taken every 5 seconds or so would be easy. It would work for your application, and could be used in other projects down the road. However, it would be easy for the program to get confused and add a whole load of other useless items into your speech queue, and can make it confusing for the visually impaired. With enough development though, I think it could be very helpful for the sort of work that you are doing.

    It wont be the entirely independent Construct that you were looking for, but at least it will work and (probably) function with the ADA Compliancy, and is highly expandable.

  • Unfortunately we do not have any control over the product that the user uses as a screen reader. There are commercial screen-readers and browser plug-ins and phone apps etc. that do the job, and they do so based on industry standards (this is one reason why ADA compliant sites use proper h1/h2 tags). These plugins all do the same thing (read text on the browser screen) in roughly the same way. But we can't create our own both due to a lack of resources, but also because it undermines the purpose of this is which is to support any screen reader the user wishes.

    As I said, I can get Construct to just read the text I pass through it with the existing TtS functions but that is not optimal, I need to pass text information out of the construct project into something that the screen reader can read.

    I was told this was because ADA compliancy requires screen reader functionality, though I admit that I am not actually sure of that, in which case I can probably default to the TtS alternative in C2.

  • If that is the idea, then somebody would have to write you a well-developed C2 or C3 plugin that takes forever to make. Unless a member of your team can do it, you will likely have to pay a construct veteran that already has too much on his plate. Even then those guys are hard to come buy unless you are willing to cough up a bit of money.

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