Ascension: Accessibility Winner

Ascension is a deck-building game. It involves starting with a few cards, buying cards or defeating monsters, and slowly building your deck. Over time you “banish” bad cards to raise the average value of cards in your deck. You play against an opponent, and attempt to collect more “honor” than them.

It is a well-designed game, but more interestingly, it is an extremely well-designed app.

Ascension carries the torch of accessibility, not only for the new user of the application but also for people with various needs.

First of all, on a basic level, playable cards are lit up with a border.

The four apprentices and the militia are lit with a white border because they are currently playable.

Additionally, different color borders indicate different possibilities.

The green borders indicate the ability to purchase that card.
The red border indicates the ability to defeat that monster.

Using color as an indicator is only accessible if it is also backed up by another way to tell the options (in the case of colorblindness).

In this case, the cards are labeled as “Monsters” (red border) or “Heroes” (green border).

Additionally, you can always double tap a card to zoom in, making easily accessible to anyone with compromised eyesight.

Double clicking on card zooms in for better readability.

When you aren’t sure about what you’re supposed to be doing, you can always read the text directly above your hand.

This may look confusing, but the text “Select Effect to Copy” can help clarify.

Another terrific feature is the end turn warning window. If you attempt to end your turn while there are still things you can do, you will get a pop-up asking you to confirm whether or not you’re truly done with your turn.

This can prevent you from making big mistakes!

Additionally, the game allows for two different methods of play. You may drag cards to wear they go or you may double-click a playable card, and a button will appear next to it that you may click to play that card. Allowing both options is great for people with reachability restrictions. Dragging can be difficult on a large screen and this backup option is terrific. (And if you have an iPhone X, dragging can often accidentally close the app!)

Overall, Ascension is a game that is very well designed, and I believe it meets the standards of accessibility in a number of ways.

And it proves the mantra that if you design something to be accessible, you will be designing a better product for everyone.

I’m a Product Designer at Grubhub working on the LevelUp Team to create branded apps for restaurants.

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