I was not quite sure where to post this, as the issue in this topic goes beyond just the use of UE 4, but seems to be propagated by a mentality that affects all industry worldwide.
I am soon to return to college to finish obtaining my baccalaureate degree in computer science with a specialization in game development. One of the courses that I am required to take deals exclusively with Unreal Engine. That being the case, I thought it prudent to test and explore access to the program with the assistive technology that I use in my daily life as someone with a visual impairment. Upon installation of the program, it seems that it cannot be seen at all by my screen reader. Not a single control has been labeled; not a single alt tag has been created. This not only saddens me;
it is an anathema to me.
Just because our eyes are broken, that doesn’t mean that we don’t play games, and it doesn’t mean that we can’t develop, or help to develop, games that appeal to all. Our brains are not dead, and I’m quite frankly sick of that very attitude that seems to be so commonplace among people with vision. I’m sick of being an afterthought, or even worse, pitied and assumed to be infirm, mentally handicapped, unable to learn, or otherwise irreparably damaged, merely because I don’t experience my environment or acquire knowledge through a modality that is considered to be “normal” by those in society who have functioning retinas, optic nerves, and visual cortices. The level of ignorance about blindness is absolutely astounding to me. Ignorance due to a lack of knowledge is one thing. Willful ignorance simply because you have no desire to learn or because you are too lazy to learn angers me beyond what words can adequately express, and I feel like that is what has occurred in this case. A simple search on Google reveals that Epic Games has had questions related to screen readers in the past. See the following posts:
Despite knowing that individuals who are blind are attempting to use this engine, nothing has been done to improve accessibility to screen readers. Ignorance due to a lack of knowledge is no longer what we have here. Now those of us who are blind are simply being ignored, and nothing is being done. There’s no excuse for it…none. Screen readers have been around for more than three decades, and Microsoft has provided accessibility guidelines and documentation to assist developers. Lack of vision does not make me an invalid. It does not make me mentally deficient. I consider myself just as capable and intelligent as the person right next to me who has an uncorrected visual acuity of 20/20, and I deserve the same access and the same opportunities for success that he or she does. Why is that so hard for people with vision to understand?