[games_access] Important Question: What is our meta aim?

Kiernan Sleep KSleep at microsoft.com
Wed Jan 7 09:54:02 EST 2015


Great article, Thomas - thanks for highlighting it!

For anyone who's interested in reading the whole thing from start to finish, I managed to find it here - http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10209-010-0189-5/fulltext.html 

My thoughts -

I 100% agree with you as regards figuring out all the angles when it comes to defining *who* is impacted by accessibility, or lack of it, based on their unique disabilities and impairments.  This richness and context is essential for building a compelling case; it may be that a phased approach to tackling accessibility issues (i.e. championing one demographic at a time rather than pushing a broad agenda from the outset) is the best way to tackle this.

I'd be really interested to find out how Dan (I'm sorry, we've not yet been introduced) gets on.  Does anyone know when we can expect these findings to filter through? :)


Cheers,

Kiernan.

Kiernan Sleep | EMEA Test Lead | GTE Europe

Microsoft Limited (company number 01624297), a company registered in England and Wales whose registered office is at Microsoft Campus, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1WG



Message: 1
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2015 10:09:10 +0100
From: Thomas Westin <thomas at westin.nu>
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List <games_access at igda.org>
Subject: Re: [games_access] Important Question: What is our meta aim?
Message-ID: <83BC9130-F92C-4791-A184-2C771E91D419 at westin.nu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"

I agree with both of you, companies with share-holders are from what I?ve learned not even allowed (by their share-holders) to do anything that doesn?t bring return on investment. However, larger companies should have a larger responsibility in making their games more accessible, but as long as there is a lack of laws it can only be a recommendation.

Dan recently volunteered to find out more about this situation in the US (as I am based in Sweden), and we will hopefully be able to share some results of that soon. Regarding business cases: As has been shown in research by e.g. Yuan, Folmer & Harris (2011) there are several aspects to consider in making a business case. For instance, what type of games affect accessibility for which impairments, and what age groups have various impairments and how many of people in these age groups with disabilities wants to play games in the first place, today and in the future. 

Best regards,
Thomas

Yuan, B., E. Folmer, and F. Harris, Game accessibility: a survey. Universal Access in the Information Society, 2011. 10(1): p. 81-100.


6Jan 2015 kl. 15:04 skrev Ian Hamilton <i_h at hotmail.com>:

> It depends on the scale of organisation, individuals and indies are far more likely to  be interested without having to have the business case laid out for them, sometimes just prevalence data is enough, or sometimes because it's the right thing to do, sometimes because they don't like the idea of their creative vision reaching less people, etc. 
> 
> And even in corporate land although business case is often a requirement it also isn't enough on its own, I've seen several examples of management being fully bought in and accessibility still failing, either because the people tasked with implementing it didn't have the knowledge or interest needed (even rigid publisher accessibility requirements being routinely flouted because the developers didn't understand the point of it), or because the manager was a lone champion, so as soon as they left it crumbled.  
> 
> When I've seen lasting cultural change it has been due to sustained pressure from multiple directions; top-down from management, bottom-up from designers and developers, and also continual external pressure from customers. 
> 
> All of that aside, I do completely agree about how important it is, particularly once you get into exec / management / publisher territory. And it's something that separates gaming from other industries too, there aren't really other industries where it's so easy to gather real data and form the business cases.
> 
> I've been working on getting decent data gathered and shared, there are a few nice examples now that I regularly talk about in conference talks etc. but they're all from indie-land, what we really need is some data gathered and made public from a big name AAA... if, for example, Destiny was to publish data on how many of their players played with subtitles turned on, I doubt you'd see many games ever released without subtitles afterwards (esp. given the CNET survey on it, which came out at 79% of gamers playing with subs turned on).
> 
> Sometimes the data can be nailed down to a specific group, such as tracking VoiceOver usage (really easy to do, with one single line of code), as VO is used almost exclusively by people who are legally blind. So for example 13% of MUDRammer's players being blind Vs the couple of days taken to make the game VO accessible, or the two weeks spent making Solara blind-accessible resulting in 1% of their players being blind (in line with demographics), but those 1% being by far the most loyal and highest spenders on IAPs.
> 
> Sometimes it can't be nailed down to disability, like the subtitles example, where people would be turning them on for all kinds of reasons. I don't think that's really an issue though, because if you can demonstrate that a particular feature has a good return on investment, then in business terms it's worth including, regardless of who the audience is.
> 
> Out of all of the many different angles there are to pursue it's the 
> business case one that most excites me, because of what I mentioned 
> earlier about data being hard to come by in other industries. So hard 
> business case data from games will be used as an example by those 
> other industries. /
> 
> I've seen similar happen with data from DVD sales (with subs Vs without subs) being used as a business case example for web accessibility despite really how unrelated it is, so it's not hard to picture, for example, that Destiny example above being used as an example of business case for subtitles in VOD set top boxes.
> 
> Accessibility ratings is something that conversation keeps coming back to. It's too broad a field to cover everything individually, and the other end of the spectrum, a windows store style 'accessible' tickbox doesn't work either, not even for apps let alone games.
> 
> Personally I like Steam and IndieCity's approaches.. Steam allowing filtering of listings by accessibility feature (although just for captions at the moment), and IndieCity just picking a few of the most commonly needed considerations to flag up, such as whether a game is colourblind friendly, has remappable controls, or has subtitles. 
> 
> Combining the two things would be great, so developers able to tick a few boxes for which common things apply to them, and then also some free optional text to mention any additional considerations.
> 
> If, for example, iTunes or Steam was to include something that like, it would make an astronomical difference, not just for the gamers who need the features but also for developers, being able to get an extra bit of discoverability in crowded marketplaces.
> 
> Ian
> 
> 
> From: KSleep at microsoft.com
> To: games_access at igda.org
> Date: Tue, 6 Jan 2015 11:08:18 +0000
> Subject: [games_access] Important Question: What is our meta aim?
> 
>  
> In my experience, if you want to influence change on a corporate-cultural level and get people thinking and building games, in this case, with accessibility firmly in mind, upfront and early in the design process, by far the most efficient and long-term impactful way to do it is to focus on money and build a compelling business case for companies to care about tapping into all those un-enfranchised people out there.
>  
> It?s a question of quantifying cost vs. potential benefits.  Money is the language CEOs speak and my background of having worked extensively in both convinces me that it?s the leadership teams of the big publishing houses and development studios that invariably set the company vision and the tone as regards the inclusiveness and accessibility of their products.
>  
> Nail the business case before anything else and the development teams will fall into line ? resulting in a trickle-down effect through the first and third-party studios.
>  
> Given the small and increasingly homogenous nature of the industry there are probably only a dozen or so people we need to focus on influencing, and this could (and is) probably best achieved via a small summit where we pitch our case, state our desired outcomes and seek long-term buy-in.
>  
> So, to summarise ?
>  
> 1.       Build a compelling business case
> 2.       Approach leaders and arrange a summit
> 3.       State desired outcomes and seek buy-in
>  
> Short-to-medium term, that would be my approach.  Longer-term goals should be centred on formalising a commitment to accessibility throughout industry via universal ?Accessibility Ratings? on all games in the same way we age-rate titles before release to market.
>  
> Thoughts?
>  
>  
> Kiernan Sleep | EMEA Test Lead | GTE Europe
>  
> <image001.jpg>
> Microsoft Limited (company number 01624297), a company registered in 
> England and Wales whose registered office is at Microsoft Campus, 
> Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1WG
>  
> 
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Message: 2
Date: Wed, 7 Jan 2015 14:55:30 +0100
From: Thomas Westin <thomas at westin.nu>
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List <games_access at igda.org>
Subject: Re: [games_access] Important Question: What is our meta aim?
Message-ID: <EDD30E51-38D9-481D-BD0D-C8EEEEB7F1BB at westin.nu>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"

Hi all,

Here is some interesting stuff from NAD via Dan;
- I knew about the communication services part (I think it was brought up on this list by someone in 2010 or so), but I wasn?t aware of a waiver with a deadline. This will be interesting to follow-up in October/November:

> Dear Mr. Fischbach,
> 
> Thank you for contacting the NAD. We fully support making games accessible for people with disabilities. We're not aware of any efforts in Congress or at the Department of Justice addressing video games accessibility. 
> 
> However, under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, advanced communications services are required to be accessible to people with disabilities. We have made arguments before the FCC that many online games are primarily used for advanced communications services and thus should be made accessible. However, the FCC is still working on the ACS rules and actually granted a temporary waiver until October 2015 for games where ACS is a primary or co-primary purpose to the Entertainment Software Association.
> 
> Please let us know of any efforts to make games more accessible.
> 
> Sincerely,
> Andrew Phillips


Best regards,
Thomas

7Jan 2015 kl. 10:09 skrev Thomas Westin <thomas at westin.nu>:

> Dan recently volunteered to find out more about this situation in the US (as I am based in Sweden), and we will hopefully be able to share some results of that soon. 

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