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Fixing Word Scramble

Paul Hudson    @twostraws   

In project 5 we built Word Scramble, a game where users were given a random eight-letter word and had to produce new words using its letters. This mostly works great with VoiceOver: no parts of the app are inaccessible, although that doesn’t mean we can’t do better.

To see an obvious pain point, try adding a word. You’ll see it slide into the table underneath the prompt, but if you tap into it with VoiceOver you’ll realize it isn’t read well: the letter count is read as “five circle”, and the text is a separate element.

There are a few ways of improving this, but probably the best is to make both those items a single group where the children are ignored by VoiceOver, then add a label for the whole group that contains a much more natural description.

Our current code looks like this:

List(usedWords, id: \.self) {
    Image(systemName: "\($0.count).circle")
    Text($0)
}

That relies on an implicit HStack to place the image and text side by side. So, to fix this we need to create an explicit HStack so we can apply our VoiceOver customization. The HStack itself accepts a closure for its content, which means we can no longer rely on $0 from the List, so we’ll use a named parameter instead.

Replace the current List with this:

List(usedWords, id: \.self) { word in
    HStack {
        Image(systemName: "\(word.count).circle")
        Text(word)
    }
    .accessibilityElement(children: .ignore)
    .accessibility(label: Text("\(word), \(word.count) letters"))
}

If you try the game again, you’ll see it now reads “spill, five letters”, which is much better.

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