Changeling’s Guide to Discord for Screen Readers: Introduction
What is This?
This is the first in a series of posts that explains how to use Discord if you also use a screen reader to access your computer and the Internet. It is not intended to replace the documentation for either Discord or your screen reader, but rather to explain how you can use the two programs together to have an enjoyable user experience.
What is Covered in This Guide?
This guide will explain what Discord is, its main features, how to navigate servers and channels, how to participate in chat, and how to adjust settings. Depending on the reception while this guide is being written, as well as the number of requests for it, I may cover creating and managing a server.
What is the Intended Audience?
This guide is intended for people who want to use Discord and need a screen reader to effectively use their computer. Beyond that, it is intended for people who like user directions that contain more detail than just lists of shortcut keys. While this is a set of directions, it is styled to read like a conversation between you and me. When I published Changeling’s Guide to Mastodon for Screen Readers, the style of the guide seemed to be its best received feature.
What is Covered in the Rest of This Post?
The rest of this post answers the question of what Discord is, and ends with a walkthrough for creating an account. The final section will offer suggestions of things you can do to prepare for the next post in the series.
What is Discord
According to its website, Discord is a free, secure text and voice chat solution for gamers. While its design reflects its stated target market, the service has quickly become a way for groups of people to connect and chat with each other. These groups are joined in virtual areas called servers, and these servers can be host to different categories called channels to help organize the conversation. The advantage here is that unlike a Skype or WhatsApp group where every message in the conversation gets sent to everyone in the group, a user can configure Discord so that they only receive notifications from certain channels, or on certain conversation topics, from a server. It is intended to keep people from feeling like they are in a sensory overload version of hell caused by too many notifications. Users can also live stream to servers, or voice chat in designated channels on servers. Like any service, the first step to using it is to create an account.
Creating an Account
Before You Begin
The first thing you’ll want to do is download the appropriate version of the Discord software for your operating system. This guide will focus primarily on the Windows version, but you can also download it for Mac, as well as iOS and Android. If you’re not using any of these, or if you want to test drive the service before installing software, you can use Discord from your preferred web browser.
To install Discord, go to discordapp.com on the device on which you will be using the service, and select the download link. The site will detect the appropriate version of your software based on your browser. Once you’ve done that perform the normal steps for installing software on your machine, and you’ll be ready to create an account.
If you want to run Discord from a browser, you’ll want to create an account first, and then select the “Open Discord in Your Browser” button.
To Create an Account
Go to discordapp.com/register, and provide your e-mail , your preferred user name, and a password then click continue. You’ll then be prompted to set up a server, but you can click “Skip” for now. The final step is verifying your email address, which involves clicking a link in an email sent by the Discord service.
A Quick Word About Usernames
When you sign up for a service, the process usually goes something like type your name into the box, see your name is being used by someone else, then choose a username that has your name with a long string of numbers after it. With Discord, each user is designated a tag, or the hashtag (#) followed by a four (4) digit code that accompanies your user name, so you can always have your desired username in chats. For example, my Discord info is Changeling#5469.
This post explained what Discord is and guided you through the registration process. If you haven’t yet done so, you’ll want to install the Discord program. You might also consider making a list of your interests to help you find appropriate servers for you to join. The next posts will discuss the layout of the program’s interface, how to adjust user settings, as well as finding and joining servers.