Blind Memory: Simon Says everyone play!
A few months ago, I got an email from Ciro Alves Anunciação Oliveira, a Brazilian iPhone App developer, asking for my feedback on a game he had created for blind people. As I am now cultivating a healthy amount of skepticism, it took a few emails for me to be sure I was not being sold swampland in Florida. Far from it. Ciro possesses quite a delightful sense of wonderment: he had no experience of people with visual impairments until he saw a group of blind folk, all holding popcorn. He made a comment to the friend he was with about how unusual it was that they all had popcorn. His friend just laughed, as it was clear to him that they had just been to a movie.
Now, to those who understand the vagaries of visual impairment, seeing blind folk at the cinema is not surprising, but to the uninitiated like Ciro, it was a tad confusing. And because Ciro is the kind of lovely bloke that he is, this peaked his curiosity. After a whole bunch of research, ideas, creativity and code, Blind Memory was born. It is a game based on Simon Says that has been designed specifically for blind users, but is great for everyone. Simple, intuitive and fun!
Ciro was just so respectful, gracious and appreciative of the fact that I was willing to help, which was really heartening and this made me want to help him even more. As English is not Ciro's first language, I felt that the game would benefit from having the gameplay and instructions being voiced by a native English speaker. Before I knew it, not only had I offered myself up to voice the App, but I also offered to tweak the copy for the same reasons. I expect that at this point Ciro probably felt the same level of skepticism as I did when he first contacted me, but, write and voice I did and it was a blast.
The feedback that I gave Ciro, as well as that of other visually impaired users, has been rolled into the latest version of the App, which is fab, but hearing my own voice as I played the game was both strange and exciting.
And that's my little tangent of a story in my funny old life. If you want to have a play, Blind Memory is available at the App Store.