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Low Vision Accessibility for Oculus Dashboards & Home

BGFH
Level 4
Hello.  I am both an Oculus Rift and Quest owner, and believe it or not, I am also legally blind.  I have enough vision to play many mainstream games, including some VR titles.  However, there are a few accessibility problems I encounter while in VR, especially in VR dashboards, menus, settings screens, and other UI.  I also want to add that there are many others who are low vision or legally blind like myself, who are very interested in virtual reality, and would love to use either the Rift or Quest, if it weren’t for some common problems I’ll describe below.  

One of the main problems I and others with low vision have, is navigating and reading the overall in-headset dashboard interface, be it Oculus Home on the Rift, the dashboard on the Quest, or SteamVR.  

There are a few key things that would really help out here:  

1.  Font Size Options 
Having the ability to adjust font size, even to text that may seem extremely large to some people, would be very helpful.  

2.  Good Color Contrast 
Oculus does this pretty well in both the Rift and Quest dashboards.  The dark gray backgrounds and light text is pretty good.  It’s mainly the text size and distance.  

3.  Full 6DOF tracking for Dashboard 
Please allow full 6 DOF head tracking for the dashboard UI for both Rift and Quest.  Right now, most of the menus and windows are set to be a fixed virtual distance from the user’s eye.  If for instance, Oculus feels that 3 virtual feet away is optimal, that’s where the UI is fixed.  If you try leaning or moving closer, the UI moves away from you to maintain that distance, likewise if you lean or move backwards.  Just like being in a VR environment, I want to be able to lean or walk right up close to a menu, options screen, store page, etc, just as I would walk closer to a sign or poster on a wall in real life.  

4.  Allow all headset options to be configured via the Oculus mobile app or desktop app. 
Some settings and features can only be setup or changed when in the headset.  Others can be adjusted via the flat screen Windows app, or the mobile Oculus app.  It would be extremely helpful to simply allow all options to be available in the desktop or mobile apps, in addition to in the headset.  For instance, I can buy and download apps and games to the headset via the apps, so why can’t I remove/delete them the same way?  Instead, I have to find that tiny menu button in the headset Library screen and try pointing to Uninstall.  There are several other options on the Quest settings area that also don’t seem to be in the mobile app.  

All of these features in combination would greatly improve low vision accessibility for many users, likely including thousands of people who wear glasses, and may not need to if these features were supported.  

Ultimately,  I would love to see a feature that would support text-to-speech for the Oculus dashboards, like one would find in Windows or XBOX One’s Narrator feature.  Pointing your cursor at an item, control, button, or block of text, would simply read it aloud.  

Microsoft is currently working on a project like this, and then some for Unity called SeeingVR.  Just look for SeeingVR on YouTube, and their 7 minute video should be the first or second in the list.  

I have also presented on VR Accessibility for Low Vision Users at a web conference in 2017, and have been advocating for and creating videos on several aspects of VR accessibility.  You can find this playlist here:  

(Unfortunately I haven’t been posting long enough to be allowed to post links yet, so it said when I tried submitting the post.  Just look up the VR Accessibility Playlist on the IllegallySighted YouTube channel.). 

I have also been trying to reach out directly to Oculus regarding many of these accessibility problems and suggestions, with limited luck.  I hope this thread is helpful for some users and developers, and I would love to work with Oculus and other developers however I can to improve accessibility for low vision and legally blind users like myself.  Speaking from first hand experience, there are a lot of us out there that would love to also be a part of VR and don’t want to be left out.  

Thank you.




11 REPLIES 11

Nij
Level 7
These are some great suggestions and I really appreciate you taking the time out to take this forward

I'm partially sighted but have never let this stop me from enjoying VR, I'm fine playing most games but reading menus is the main struggle for me, I'll literally have to go as far back in my room as I can, reset my position and then walk forward so I can get closer to the menu ::smile: but like you say some games have fixed menus so you can't do this and I end up giving up on trying to read the menus

It's great in games like killing floor though where you have like a tablet in your hand and you can view al the menus there and just bring it closer to your face

Think oculus definately need to look into this as there are loads of accessibility options on xbox/windows and on most smartphones these days

Thanks for posting this
Headsets: DK1 Kickstarter edition, DK2, Rift CV!, Oculus Go, Rift S, HP Reverb G2 System: i7-8086K, Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Ultra Gaming, 16GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 3200MHz, 11GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1080 Ti, 1TB SAMSUNG 970 EVO M.2, Windows 10 Professional 64 Bit

Alan.Tracer
Level 3
It would be nice to pull the interface closer, like in big screen vr or to change the environment so I can lean into the window to read the text.

I can do this with PSVR content currently.

Bluefirl
Level 2
I'm glad I found this and hope that Coulus (FB) takes it seriously.
My personal main issues coincide with suggestions 3 particularly and 4.
For the most part on the Rift (CV1) there was the ability to have full control of the positioning of the "windows" open including dashboard whereby one could grab the item and move it closer, farther, rotate, and scale it. It is the closeness and scaling in particular that made things doable with that headset. But I had recently purchased a Quest 2 and was ...disappointed, to say the least that the setup did not have these features and as they say do not support 6DOF. In fact, I had to enlist the aid of my 83 year old grandmother whom I live with to setup the device.
I do hope they re-enable this for the Quest 2 or add accessibility options enableable through the mobile app to increase the menu sizes, closeness, etc.
One additional suggestion.
Adding an option to not permit menus to "fade to white" when the headset "thinks" you're too close to them. Simple permit the menu to exist and not shift at all and the only time it would not be visible would be if the camera (PoV) literally passes through it.

eagleeyez
Level 4

Come on
Facebook/Oculus you. so many years not and you cannot even give us menus with
TTS or just being able to pull the menus closer to us or even just stop fading
out the text when we get too close to it.



MY GOD
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAKE UP FACEBOOK  and
smell the coffee as you cannot see it.



Accessibility, Accessibility,
Accessibility, Accessibility,



Accessibility,



Accessibility,



Accessibility,



Accessibility,



Accessibility,



Accessibility,



Accessibility,


Kilowa
Level 2

Hi! I am also legally blind and play lots of vr games. I just got the oculus quest 2 today and coming from the psvr… Was a change. Let me just say setting up my oculus was really frustrating as I spent two hours with three different customer service reps just to find where the “English (us)” option was in the language set up menu. I have sent feedback through those reps stating that having the option to turn on accessibility right after you activate the controller and before the set up menu begins. Also The menus are frustrating as well. They keep moving away from me when I try to get closer just to see it! There NEEDS to be an option for bring the menu closer to your face and keeping it static. In the dashboard menu at the home however, I like how if you move towards it, it stands still so I can actually walk up to it as if I’m walking up closer to something in real life. Isn’t vr supposed to be a mimic on real life anyway? Also text to speech is VERY needed! If we can’t even see some menus and text, how can we even begin to know what we are doing and if it’s correct? There were MANY times where I just had to try my luck with setting up guardian as well ‘cause I could not tell what the text said and every time I tried to get closer, it acted like I had the plague and moved backwards! Also an option to increase menu sizes. I can’t even see the time on the home menu dashboard! Smh PlayStation and Xbox both have better low vision accessibility. I’m just happy I’m not hearing impaired as I didn’t see anything for them in the accessibility settings. Smh I can only hope Oculus hears us. Also for the font size, I know “Largest” may seem super big, but it’s not and oculus needs to get real feedback from real visionally impaired people. They may need to do a survey or hire someone like us on their accessibility team to test out things. I tell you, people don’t realize how IMPORTANT accessibility options are until you need them. I’m glad it’s even there but much catching up to the competition needs to be done. This fiasco tonight made me wonder if I needed to return my quest 2 due to the lack of accessibility options for low vision plus I couldn’t even set it up for like two hours just because of menu sizing! How ridiculous is that?! Oculus if you need help then you need to get help! Learn from other companies! Request accessibility feedback from real disabled people or those closest to us as they too understand our struggles! Y’all don’t want to have less than you competitor and lose customers! I also had contrast issues while setting up my wifi as the colorsbappeared to me as a light grey text on a dark grey background and the letters were also small. I couldn’t even tell what the whole typed out thing said, so you can only imagine how many times i had to retype. We should have the option to modify all headset settings (besides guardian) in the app. It’s saddening really, as oculus is a company that’s been out for a while. They should know how to do accessibility correctly by now. Real disappointing. Honestly since oculus is ran by FB whose been around almost as long as I’ve lived, I feel like they should  KNOW and BE better! 

Blindjew
Level 3

I'm also legally blind and a user of the Quest 2 specifically. A lot of the same issues, and some in-system zooming capabilities for windows would help as well. The largest issues have been the menu interrfaces being unreadable in general and especially so for low vision and legally blind individuals. The voice commands options ar enice, but as of yet limited, but they are definitely useful. I can 'see' in VR far better than in real life, and I sometimes use the passthrough mode for just everyday things. (Digital glasses are a thing, but far, far more expensive than a VR headset and with a far narrower range). Due to the cost of Digital glasses compared to something like a Quest2 headset, having some more accessibilty features could really change lives for the better, especially zooming within the interface and/or more voice command options and potentially text-to-speech. If there are any softwares for Quest2 that do either of these already for the AR aspect, let me know!

KatsPurrr
Level 2

Hello, 
Thank you for sharing this well thought out post. I am also legally blind and my experience is very similar to many in this thread. I really hope that as VR becomes more main stream Meta begins taking accessibility more seriously. The opportunity is huge, the idea that a metaverse can "enable the disabled." is amazing. Especially the SeeingVR toolkit, a pair of bioptics costs thousands of dollars in the real world and they don't have the Field of View, clarity, flexibility that a drag and drop Unity tool kit introduces. 

In my search for accessible games I found NeosVR, it's a great metaverse platform on it's own (I highly recommend it) but where it really shines is in it's building system you can literally create anything and I really mean anything you can dream of. Once I learned my way around the tools and with the help of a few friends I met on the platform I created an amazing magnifying lens. The lens is attached to my left wrist and only appears when a certain gesture is triggered. I also applied motion smoothing to the lens so that none of my jitters are transferred to the magnified image. The magnification level can be adjusted via another gesture on the controller. If anyone here decides to try Neos reach out to me and I can share this tool with you. 

  

There are some brilliant suggestions especially the reading out menus.  I have sight problems myself and think it's long overdue that they add something like this

Zimon85
Level 2

I tried the Quest 2 at my friend's yesterday and I had a blast BUT I could not read the text on the dashboard and home menu at all. We switched font size to the largest size but it's still way too small. 

I made an account here just to say that I totally agree that I wish I could make the home menu bigger or walk up to it so it's in my face.

I'm going to hold off for the time being but I hope they do something about this because I REALLY want to buy one now.

I would buy one right now if I could drag or make the UI closer.