[games_access] category hearing impairment

Ian Hamilton i_h at hotmail.com
Tue Dec 2 02:43:13 EST 2014

The BBC have some nice well researched guidelines that are along the lines of Gareth's gamasutra article, but with a fair bit more detail on how exactly to go about meeting the words per minute targets:


It's a shame that subtitles and captions in games are universally so far behind TV, when they could be so far ahead.

The BBC also did a nice bit of work recently on how to handle positioning in dynamic UIs (something that Tomb Raider could have benefited from, the subtitles appearing over the top of the QTE prompts wasn't great):


There are other things to bear in mind aside from the straightforward visualisation of sounds.

Firstly taking other areas of accessibility into account, to avoid situations like this..


There's a fair bit of Twitter rage about Dragon Age: Inquisition at the moment fir the same reason, but also because they use full caps for their subtitles, which will cause problems for many people who have difficulty reading.

Another really important one is communication in multiplayer. It's common for people with hearing loss (or impaired speech) to be kicked out of games for not communicating properly. A few examples of how to address are Halo Reach's chattiness matchmaking preference, Hearthstone's pre-defined text chat, Portal 2's emote based communication, and Dawn of War's non-verbal use of things like map pings.

And last two simple things that are helpful for different degrees of hearing loss. Different people lose different frequencies, so being able to adjust volume levels for different types of sounds is important. And for some it's unilateral, I.e. only in one ear, for which a mono toggle helps.

Diablo 3 is a nice example of both of those things:


Subtitles need to start as an accurate representation of the final state of the audio and then be edited down. So they can't be used as a script for the audio - the audio might change in production, and it might be appropriate to say more in audio than is possible to fit in using subtitles.


----- Reply message -----
From: "Sandra Uhling" <sandra_uhling at web.de>
To: "'IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List'" <games_access at igda.org>
Subject: [games_access] category hearing impairment
Date: Mon, Dec 1, 2014 23:46

Hello I am looking for information about hearing impairment.

I have already:

* Article: the sound alternative

* DGC (I added communication, this was missing)

* Guidelines of the gamasutra article

Is there something else important?

I am wondering what is first: subtitle or voices?

Can subtitles support the speaker to record for the voices?

Best regards,


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