by Andrew Kirkpatrick

 Comments (18)


August 22, 2006

This post is subject to Adobe's Terms of Use.

Net Systems Solutions created a Hangman-game in Flash, and made it accessible for screen reader and keyboard users. I encouraged them to try to develop a second version of the game, but with some differences in the way accessibility is implemented.
I’d like to hear from users some of their thoughts on these two versions. There is much to be learned about accessible rich internet applications, and this is a quick and unscientific test to see what people’s reactions are to each of these versions. Please give these a try, with a screen reader of your choice or with just the keyboard, and let us know what you think. Response content will be shared for all to see.
Example 1.1:
Example 1.2:


  • By Theresa Lee - 2:59 PM on August 22, 2006  

    Version 1:
    I liked the sounds when I selected a correct or wrong answer better than Version 2, but there was no visual indicator for letters that had already been used and there was no audio indicator when the game was completed
    Version 2:
    I like the grayed out letters to indicate which ones had already been used, and I liked the clapping sound when the puzzle was completed. It needs to have an audio indicator for each letter indicating a correct or incorrect answer.
    Both version: needs to have the ability to turn the audio on/off.

  • By Walker Hamilton - 4:14 PM on August 22, 2006  

    Initial problem: Does not work in FF on OS X or Camino (on OS X, of course). Worked fine in safari.

  • By Shawn Klein - 9:49 PM on August 22, 2006  

    Hi Andrew. I’m using Window Eyes 4.5 sans service packs, and XP SP1. The first thing I did when I tried your game, is sit there for 5 minutes waiting for the page to load. I kept looking with the mouse cursor and it kept saying one item remaining, downloading page…
    I read the instructions which mentioned some Jaws shortcuts, the game discription, and the three categories. I didn’t have access to the letters or the home and next buttons there. I decided to left click animal to see what it would do, even though it was telling me it was still downloading the page. Under category, animal appeared. I then tried going out of MSAA mode, and thus I could access the buttons by tabbing through them. I was able to read the results of play with the mouse cursor, so I didn’t have to shift tab throught all the letters for that. I lost the first game, and was looking for the next button. I was pressing tab and hearing nothing, so I thought something was wrong, but I pressed it enough times to find the address bar and then home and next. In other words, when the game is over all those letters turn in to blank spaces you have to tab through to reach the functional buttons. I then played two games successfully guessing kangaroo which was actually the first one that I missed the first time, elephant, but when I got to monkey something weird happened. It may be that having many letters active so close together caused this anomaly. I got everything but the M, and then couldn’t reach it. I started having trouble even before that, so went for the y, then tried again and managed to get o, m was the last one I needed, but I found that everything from k through o was absolutely blocked. I could count them, but Window Eyes didn’t speak them, and when I would simply count tabs to what should be m and then hit space or enter, no joy. It’s getting late so I haven’t tried 1.2 yet. I’ll try it tomorrow.
    BTW when I got one wrong the first time, I thought I had some sort of error, because the sound used is a common windows sound used for runtime errors and such, lol.
    Shawn Klein

  • By Shawn Klein - 9:39 AM on August 23, 2006  

    Hi. Well I admit to being wrong about a few things. It wasn’t monkey but donkey. I thought I had already tried the d last night. It’s possible that I had already tried the m earlier and forgot or got confused because of the cumbersome way the game was presenting itself. I also think it likely that version 1.2 didn’t come up as loaded because I still had 1.1 in another window “loading”. Number 1.1 never really loads so that I can navigate in MSAA mode, but as soon as I tried 1.2 by itself this morning it came right up. I can jump around faster in MSAA mode, find what I want and hit space or enter on it. That’s how I generally prefer to navigate large web forms. I had no problems with 1.2, love the sounds, and the fact that the already tried letters go away without leaving any blank spaces. And then there’s the box at the bottom telling me the letters I’ve already tried, and the ones I haven’t tried yet. 1.2 rules.

  • By Sailesh Panchang, Deque Systems - 10:24 AM on August 23, 2006  

    To Net Systems, Andrew et al,
    Good job Net Systems.
    JAWS 7.0 and 7.10 both worked with the applications but 7.0 seemed to be able to read entire text of the instructions unlike 7.10.
    Losing focus was certainly an issue… after selecting a right/ wrong letter the focus should go to the word or to the alphabet following the one just selected.
    In 1.1 I liked the output being read first letter is blank, second letter is N, etc.
    WinEyes 5.5 worked well but it is unfortunate that the shortcut keys defined work only for JAWS.
    With JAWS I also noted that the Home button did not seem to work after completing a game and I could not go back to select another category. WinEyes did not pose this problem.
    And yes the audio feedback in example 2 is better. I vote for Example 2 on the whole.
    Andrew I thought the term Rich Internet Applications is used for DHTML/AJAX type of applications . A Flash application is not RIA, right?
    Sailesh Panchang

  • By AWK - 11:04 AM on August 23, 2006  

    Rich Internet Applications is a term that definitely includes Flash and Flex applications – it speaks to the type of content, not the technology. The first use of the term was in a Macromedia white paper (

  • By Shawn Klein - 2:17 PM on August 23, 2006  

    was right about the focus issue. I hadn’t thought to mention that because I’m used to that sort of thing. I guess Jamaica must be the last country, because when I hit next, it said word with undefined number of letters. I tried the letter e to see what would happen, and my computer froze for a minute, and I got no results for that letter. Then I got a message saying that a script in the flash movie is causing my computer to run slowly, and if it continues to do so it could cause problems, or something like that. It asked me if I wanted to stop running that script, I clikced no at first, with the same result as before, then the message again, I clicked yes, and the game screen was as before, but no longer responsive of course.

  • By Shawn Klein - 2:57 PM on August 23, 2006  

    I noticed when I tried, that in version 1.2 Window Eyes doesn’t read the letters as I tab if I’m not in MSAA mode. I can however count to the next letter and in this way fly through all the answers I already knew. Alternatively I can force the focus to stay in the area when I turn MSAA back on simply by pressing tab after I’ve chosen a letter and before I go back too MSAA mode. Then I have the focus coming back two letters ahead of the one I picked. I went through all the animals and got the same undefined letter word screen. I tried chosing a letter anyway with the same error as before. If the script continues to run, your computer may become unresponsive. That’s what it had said.

  • By Marc - 9:48 AM on August 25, 2006  

    Version1 was a bit dull and Version 2 was a bit better with the audio effects. I used the arrow keys and space bar to select letters. However, if I pressed the spacebar on “G” and it was included in the word, the focus should have been next on “H.” this was not the case and might have been on “R” or “y” or some other letter.

  • By Adrian Higginbotham - 10:59 AM on August 25, 2006  

    slight preference for v1.2 with the sounds used and the style of presenting gaps filled so far. As already mentioned the negative sound in v1.1 is at first confusing as it sounds like a Windows error sound. I was at first unable to access the instructions as had quicknav keys and virtual pc cursor on in jfw 7.1 so played without reading the instructions. was easily able to move focus between the partially completed word and the alphabet by using the virtual cursor for the former and the pc cursor for the latter although suspect this may beyond many averagely experienced screenreader users. liked the hyding of used letters a lot once I worked out what was going on but a “clack” or similar to indicate focus was moving might have been a useful addition. As an accessible version of hangman it fits the brief – as an engaging accessible Flash object I’m not so sure, game play is quite slow and I didn’t feel motivated enough to play more than one game in each version – maybe I just don’t like hangman or maybe it’s a simptom of the complexities of creating accessible interactions.

  • By AWK - 11:25 AM on August 25, 2006  

    Thanks for the interest. The link to the atom feed was a little subtle so I made a “Subscribe” heading. At the same time I noticed that the system also has an RSS 2.0 feed, so I added that. – AWK

  • By Kelly Sapergia - 4:00 PM on August 25, 2006  

    After playing both Hangman games with JAWS 7.0, I think I prefer the second game. I like the way it says “blank”, or the correct letters instead of, for instance, “The first letter is blank” in Example 1.
    As for the sounds, I personally prefer the “Tada!” effect used in Example 1. The “boo” sound in Example 2 was good when you get a wrong letter. I also liked the clapping for when you win in Example 2, but wish there was a sound for when you lose.
    I hope there will be more Flash-based games like this in the future. Keep up the great work!

  • By Ameya Gaje - 3:57 AM on August 31, 2006  

    Both versions are great!!
    like the way the poles are built after every wrong answer….adn u try to think really hard as u dont want to kill that man .
    Great Job guys !!

  • By Pete De Vasto - 12:06 PM on September 3, 2006  

    Hi Andrew, you won’t believe this but I’ve really not had that much experience playing games on computers because so often they’ve not been accessible. the two hangman games were quiet a treat and I can see myself getting hooked very easily
    I prefer the audio feedback in 1.1, although as another user pointed out they maybe should come up with a better “incorrect” sound as what’s there now might make some folks think their system is having problems. In 1.1, I didn’t like hearing “the first letter is …” “The second letter is …” etc. I much preferred the sequence as it was read by 1.2. In a “perfect hangman game world” perhaps an option?
    Will probably work more with both in the coming days when I need a break and will post more comments later.
    Pete De Vasto

  • By Beverly Nelson - 10:56 AM on September 4, 2006  

    I am using jaws 7.10. The game is a favorite. I had fun and this is a winner. In game 1, I liked when you said the position of the letters in the word. Also in game 2 you told the letters used and the sound effects was better. My problem, I could not go from one game to another. Beverly Nelson

  • By lunaddrift - 3:52 PM on December 20, 2008  

    I think the sound effects in both versions really need some work. Can we have a version three?
    Well now after a couple of years… didn’t realise how old this was!

  • By Mike @ - 4:57 PM on October 13, 2009  

    I am trying both links but they don’t seem to work?

  • By auguste - 2:21 AM on February 1, 2010