Junction Gate Alpha 0.9.1 - Accessibility


After a number of users that use screen readers recently discovered Junction Gate and emailed me asking for accessibility improvements, I decided to try playing the alpha version of Junction Gate using a screen reader. Even though I'm not experienced navigating web pages with screen readers (this was actually the first time I had used one), I could immediately tell that there were a lot of frustrating accessibility issues. 

It was an experience that changed my perspective as to how the web and video games are consumed. So, while I'm still committed to the beta, I decided to temporarily set some time aside for improving the accessibility of the alpha. While I wasn't able to fix absolutely every accessibility issue, this update will hopefully make it easier for everyone to play the game. 

In the course of working with the screen reader, I learned a lot about developing for accessibility and it's already changing how I'm thinking and approaching the beta. Because I'm venturing more into 3D with the beta, I can't guarantee that the game will be playable on a screen reader, but it's an area that I'm going to explore and it will certainly affect how I develop things like the UI.

This update adds a number of accessibility features for users with screen readers, some of which will be available for all players.

Please refresh your browser and clear your cache until you see 0.9.1 on your loading screen.

For Everyone

  • New - Keyboard shortcuts for the top level menu. A full list of all hotkeys can be found on the game settings page.
  • New - Keyboard shortcuts for the information panel tabs.
  • New - Keyboard shortcuts for the toggling play/pause, music, audio and for cycling game speed.
  • New - A new game speed of half speed. This is intended to give users using screen readers more time to react to game events, but is available for all users.

For Users Using Screen Readers

  • New - Keyboard shortcuts for getting stats for individual resource types: air, food, credits, helium, energy, population, and ore.
  • Update - All station government buttons are now labeled for screen readers.
  • Update - All worker management buttons are now labeled.
  • Update - All buttons in all windows (stocks, corporations, windows, etc) are now properly labeled.
  • Update - All game control buttons are now labeled.
  • Update - All research buttons are also now labeled.
  • Update - Upgrade buttons are now labeled and will tell you if you can upgrade or build or if you can't, it'll tell you why.
  • Update - Diplomatic contact buttons now let you know who you are contacting.
  • Update - All incoming game notifications will be read by the screen reader. This includes the current state of any action taken by the player regarding game states like play/pause, music, audio, and game speed.
  • Update - All icons are now read properly by the screen reader including resource stats.
  • Update - Facility and research prices have been properly labeled for screen readers.
  • Update - The loading page menu buttons were reworked to be more accessible.
  • Update - Landmarks were added to the main sections and menus of the game. Hopefully this will make it easier to navigate.
  • Update - All of the primary menus should now be marked as menus.
  • Update - Primary menu now labels locked tabs as locked.

Full List Of Keyboard Shortcuts

Main Menu Hotkeys

  • Alt + Shift + c - Open the command tab in the main menu
  • Alt + Shift + d - Open the diplomacy tab in the main menu
  • Alt + Shift + e - Open the economy tab in the main menu
  • Alt + Shift + l - Open the log tab in the main menu
  • Alt + Shift + r - Open the resources tab in the main menu
  • Alt + Shift + s - Open the station tab in the main menu
  • Alt + Shift + x - Open the exploration tab in the main menu
  • Alt + Shift + y - Open the science tab in the main menu

Information Panel Hotkeys

  • Alt + Shift + 1 - Open the resource panel
  • Alt + Shift + 2 - Open the production rates panel
  • Alt + Shift + 3 - Open the workers panel

Settings Hotkeys

  • Alt + Shift + m - Toggle Music
  • Alt + Shift + p - Toggle Play/Pause
  • Alt + Shift + u - Toggle Sound Effects
  • Alt + Shift + z - Cycle Game Speed

Screen Reader Hotkeys

  • Alt + Shift + a - Get current air stats.
  • Alt + Shift + f - Get current food stats.
  • Alt + Shift + g - Get current credit stats.
  • Alt + Shift + h - Get current helium stats.
  • Alt + Shift + j - Get current energy stats.
  • Alt + Shift + n - Get current population stats.
  • Alt + Shift + o - Get current ore stats.


Now it's back to development on the beta. However, for those of you who have never tried using a screen reader before, I encourage you to try one out to experience a different perspective. You can download NVDA (instructions), which is what I used for development. Try playing Junction Gate or browsing a few of your favorite websites. Share your experiences in the comments.

Junction Gate