I’m pleased to announce that the IFTF accessibility testing program has at last commenced its testing exercise. We would like to extend our gratitude to the AbleGamers Player Panels program for helping to gather more than two dozen players with disabilities willing to play our specially prepared test games and report on their experience.

And, of course, our deepest thanks go out to the testers themselves! We’ll collect their feedback over the rest of January, turning that into a report that we’ll present to the IF community later this year. Testers will receive modest gift cards for their participation, so this work also comes to you via IFTF’s financial donors — a special group of people which, as I never tire of reminding y’all, anyone can join at any time, and to any degree.

We have an interesting gap in our present disability coverage that we’d like to fill, though! While many of the initial group identify as vision-impaired — and we absolutely value their input — very few refer to themselves as fully blind. Recognizing the historically special place that text-based games have among the community of blind gamers, we’d like to invite more self-identified blind IF fans with some time to spare this month to help us with this project. If this interests you, please drop me a note.

I also bear a special request from AbleGamers president (and IFTF accessibility committee member) Mark Barlet: if you are a blind IF fan interested in helping video games of all kinds improve their accessibility, Player Panels would love your help! You can learn more about the program here, including information on joining the effort. According to Mark, Player Panels seeks to improve the number of blind gamers within its ranks, and he hopes that this partership with IFTF — AbleGamers’ first foray into interactive fiction — can help with that.

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