[games_access] Looking for feedback

Chad Philip Johnson chad at anacronist.com
Fri Apr 17 00:54:47 EDT 2015

Hmmmm... well put.  I was thinking that it would be nice to build some
evidence where accessibility considerations also contributed to improved
game design and thus higher sales were attained.  Then I had a really
hard time coming up with ways how this could be done.  A company would
have to release two versions of the game in the same market--one with
these extra design considerations and one without--and then have sales
performance and user feedback compared [???].  

Focus groups for an unreleased game would be the only way to build data
of any value.  Even then, the developer would have to develop two
versions of the game simultaneously:  one with accessibility features
worked in and another without.  It still doesn't make very much sense.
Perhaps it could be done with a very early version of the game....

Academia is really the only place where an undertaking like this might
be feasible.

On the flipside, with the right analytics, it is definitely possible to
track increased sales due to the addition of accessibility features.

Perhaps the connection between accessibility and improved game design is
too abstract an idea for most.  It may also take some finesse.
Chad Philip Johnson
Anacronist Software

> Date: 16 Apr 2015 00:35:58 -0700 From: Ian Hamilton <i_h at hotmail.com>
> To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List  <games_access at igda.org>
> Subject: Re: [games_access] Looking for feedback Message-ID:
> <COL401-EAS473F56530E9FCFD393D999491E40 at phx.gbl> Content-Type:
> text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> I think both angles can have value, depending on the situation and
> people involved.
> Two real world examples:
> First someone who was trying to persuade others in their team to
> implement multiple input methods.
> The good game design for all players angle was no use, as the designers
> were convinced that the input method they had chosen was the best. They
> couldn't picture anyone having different preferences.
> So then the accessibility angle. Doing the work solely for benefit of
> minorities was easier than the game design angle because it's not
> really a matter of opinion, its easy enough to explain that some aren't
> physically able.
> It came down to the line, but towards the end of development they
> implemented four different input methods. It was solely on the basis of
> accessibility, the designers were still convinced that their original
> method was obviously the best, and the only people who would use the
> others would be people who physically had no choice.
> They then tracked the data and discovered how wrong that was, each of
> the four input methods saw approx 25% use.
> So in this example selling it on game design alone was ineffective.
> Accessibility alone was more effective, but still tough. But now that
> they have the data, for future games they'll be able to solidly argue
> that it should be done for both accessibility and good game design,
> which will be an easier sell again than either angle was individually.
> Second example, one of the big FPS franchises.
> The designers there desperately wanted to work on accessibility, but
> any time anything disability related made it onto the backlog it was
> kicked straight off again by their bosses, due to the usual
> misconceptions about demographics and return on investment.
> So they were looking for ways to get stuff in as good design. Top of
> their list was remapping, which they wanted to push as something
> beneficial for core gamers, and not mention accessibility at all.
> They weren't successful with that particular feature, but it's
> certainly something that I've done myself before when dealing with my
> own colleagues or bosses who are actively hostile towards accessibility
> and can't be persuaded otherwise... Leave the term accessibility out of
> the equation, just let it happen naturally by concentrating on the
> things that can easily be justified as good general design.
> It's not ideal, it can be trumped by other people's ideas of what
> constitutes good design and I wouldn't rely on it as a first resort,
> but it can help in a pinch.
> Ian

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