Last week, @steemmonsters released a big update post explaining the battle mechanics, and the stats and abilities that will be present in the game. On August 29th, 2018, they released the new version of the Steemmonsters.com website, redesigned and improved, and brought something many users (including me) had been waiting for! The stats and abilities for each card!
I had been waiting for the stats to learn what each card does, and to begin thinking about how to use my cards in battles once they start. So, I was excited about this update! Then, I went off to check the new website...
I can't comment about the new visuals because I'm visually impaired and can't evaluate that aspect, but I can say that the non-visual aspect got some improvements. As I had mentioned in my first Steem Monsters post, the previous site had been very unfriendly to screen reader software (which blind people rely on to use a computer). The site had a lot of important images without text, including the cards themselves (I couldn't even know the cards' names). Now, things have gotten a bit better.
- The element icons (Fire, Water etc.) in the lore explanation on the main page have alt text, and screen readers can read them normally.
- On both the collection page and the market page, the controls to filter cards by type, rarity and element are perfectly navigable by using only the keyboard now. The cards' names also appear as text, and screen readers can read them.
However, the accessibility problems still aren't all gone, and what I had been dreading happened. The card stats are represented by icons!
Image source: screenshot of the page on the new Steemmonsters.com showing a few of my cards with their stats
It's still impossible to reach the cards via keyboard input (only through mouse clicks). I believe the suggestion for a fix I had left on a comment to Steem Monsters two months ago is still valid.
Stats and ability icons have no text for screen readers to convey anything, and the tooltips that appear on mousehover are also inaccessible to screen readers. I believe just adding alt text with the stats/abilities names would solve the problem, but meanwhile, this is what's happening:
For example, this is all the screen reader tells me about the Goblin Shaman card:
3 3 2 4 Goblin Shaman★ 1
I had to resort to Firefox's HTML inspector to find the icons' filenames, and figure out what number corresponds to what. Here is my conclusion. The first number (3) is how many of this card I have, the second (3) is the Mana cost, the third (2) is Speed, the fourth (4) is Health, and the number next to the card's name (1) is the level. I had thought that if I could memorize this order, I could get around the numbers for all my cards... but where are the Armor, Magic Attack, Melee Attack and Ranged Attack stats? They aren't here, maybe because they're 0, but other cards that have them may have one but not the other(s), and I won't be able to tell which one is missing unless I use the HTML inspector every time I need to check a card. Also, the abilities are images and have no text. At least the image's filename has the ability's name, so it's not impossible to figure out, though again I'd have to resort to the HTML inspector every time I need to check an ability.
If I do some workarounds and manage to simulate a mouse click on the card's name, a dialogue with more details appears. If I manage to simulate a click on the text saying "Stats," a table appears with the stats and abilities the card gets at each level, and most of the table header items are also icons without text!
More HTML inspection and image filenames-checking later, here is the order of the header columns:
LVL, Magic, Speed, Armor, Health
Below the header, each table row has the numbers corresponding to each header item, and the last column has the icon for the abilities the card will have at each level (again, images with no alt text).
Well, I tried... this is as far as I've gotten, and because of the different abilities and stats that may be on one card but not on the other, it's probably no use trying to memorize the orders.
Since the site's accessibility has improved a bit with the last update, hopefully it keeps improving in the next ones... meanwhile, I think I'll need an external list of what stats/abilities cards get at each level, so that I won't need to be constantly struggling with the official site. As a comparison to Pokemon, I imagine this list as something like those online Pokedexes that list every Pokemon with their base stats, max stats, what moves they learn at each level, among other things. I could either wait in hope that a third-party website such as @peakmonsters (Peakmonsters.com) will eventually implement stats/abilities-viewing and show their names as text, or hope that some Steem Monsters enthusiast will compile the info and publish it on a post or a wiki like Steem.center.