[games_access] What is this SIG? (Thomas Westin) (Ian Hamilton)

blazeeagle at suddenlink.net blazeeagle at suddenlink.net
Mon Jul 9 13:40:23 EDT 2012

Nope. I'm bedridden.


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Today's Topics:

1. Re: What is this SIG? (Thomas Westin) (Ian Hamilton)


Message: 1
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2012 12:31:10 +0000
From: Ian Hamilton <i_h at hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: [games_access] What is this SIG? (Thomas Westin)
To: <games_access at igda.org>
Message-ID: <DUB116-W1041AAC60A88F0258B5E0FF91EC0 at phx.gbl>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"

Aaron: are you the same Aaron from one in a million? If so are you heading
to London?

Thomas: Put far better than me! Two things in particular -

> ? Learn from accessibility design in other areas, like the Web

> Accessibility Initiative at W3C.

> #5: As far as I can recall, this point has not been very followed-up, and

> it should be, just keeping in mind that games is rather different than

> hypertext.

>From my angle what there is to learn from them isn't accessibly itself,

>it's looking back at how the accessibility agenda progressed in industries

>that are far further ahead than games. That's certainly happening, for

>example the healthy debate the other week about legislation in web &

>construction. The history of other industries provides a pretty good basis

>for a roadmap. It's also interesting to look at more recent things too,

>like how mobile accessibility is progressing and what's driving that.

> Creating standards: I believe that standardization is good in many ways,

> but it is also very hard; it takes a lot of time, resources and industry

> involvement. Then, the next thing is to get developers to use those

> standards. Many websites for instance still doesn't use the alt-tag for

> images, an extremely simple thing to do but time is limited, not just for

> game developers :) If you want to go the standardization route, you should

> first team up with Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, EA, Blizzard and similar big

> players. After 9 years it has not happened yet, but of course it is

> something to strive for. Anyone who feels like picking up this huge

> gauntlet, feel free to do so.

Picked up. Hopefully that's something useful that I can bring to the table
as I have a background in standards & guidelines. I've had internal
accessibility standards successfully written and implemented within a
prolific publisher, they've been mandatory for every one of their internal
games and third party commissions over the past two years.

Having said that though, doing something internally where a mandate can be
passed at a corporate level is a bit different to across an industry - you
can't jump straight to standards. EA turning around and saying that all of
their games must comply with a basic level of accessibility isn't helpful
when there isn't any knowledge amongst developers. I've seen precisely that
happen before and fail, it needs to come bottom up as well as top down.

So guidelines & best practices have to come first. There's already plenty of
knowledge and previous guidelines work in existence, so it's a case of
pulling that all together, getting it up to date, and into a developer /
exec friendly format. For reviewing/feedback I have some good contacts for
input outside of the usual developers & GA experts, such as an ex-BSI
standards consultant, and the BBC's head of accessibility & usability.

And then yes, critically, getting people to use them. Can't move beyond
loose guidelines until there are plenty of proven case studies of them in
use. I have a couple of initial developers lined up, but if anyone on the
list has links with a developer who might be interested in some guidance
then please let me know!

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