[games_access] Project idea

John R. Porter jrporter at uw.edu
Thu Apr 2 14:54:19 EDT 2015


Hey all,

I had an interesting thought about a possible project we could consider,
but it's not something I (at least for the next few months) have time to
push on personally, so I figured I'd toss it out here and see if it stuck.

Over the years, the suggestion repeatedly pops up of having information
about different accessibility features clearly listed in digital
storefronts – in particular, Steam. Everyone seems to universally agree
this is an awesome idea, but one that has significant hurdles. Most
obviously, it's dependent on convincing Valve to actually do it. And while
this isn't impossible, the fact that it hasn't happened yet means it's not
a trivial request.

A couple days ago, in a research seminar I run, one of the undergrads told
me about an awesome tool he uses called Enhanced Steam
<http://www.enhancedsteam.com/>. For those unfamiliar with it, it is a
browser extension that automatically kicks in whenever you are viewing a
product in the Steam store, augmenting the page by adding additional
information. Right now, it's things like historical price trends, time to
beat, third-party widescreen certifications, and so on. But generally, it
just aggregates information from elsewhere on the Internet.

So my thinking is this: why don't we explore the possibility of getting
accessibility information integrated into Enhanced Steam? From what I can
tell, that would essentially require two steps. First, we would need to
build the data source. We'd likely need to crowdsource it's population, but
there are definitely ways to pull it off. Second, we would need to get
Enhanced Steam to buy in and add accessibility information as a pane on
product pages. If the data is there, I also don't think this would be
difficult, especially if the request was made jointly
(IGDA+AbleGamers+SpecialEffect+etc.).

The way I see it, the benefit of this would be twofold. First, it would be
a tool of immediate utility. If all you need to do is install a free
extension to get access to this information, then it's going to be a boon
to a lot of people. And second, I think it could be a powerful proof of
concept. Even just getting it working for a limited selection of games
could show Valve in a very tangible way that the idea is worth getting
behind. Maybe they want to continue pulling from a community data source,
maybe they decide to formalize it internally. Who knows. But either way, it
would be a win.

Thoughts? I'm running purely on caffeine the moment, so apologies for my
rambling :/
-John




*-- -- -- -- --John R. Porter IIIwww.jrp3.net
<http://www.jrp3.net/>University of Washington,*
*Human Centered Design & Engineering*
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