[games_access] games_access Digest, Vol 163, Issue 6

Luke BROOK l.brook at ecu.edu.au
Thu Mar 9 20:13:19 EST 2017


Hi all,

Its interesting this has come up- and I’d like to contribute to the discussion if that’s ok.

I’ve recently completed my PhD research, which focused on identifying a means of facilitating the development of accessible games for the deaf and hard of hearing. I’ve spoken to Ian previously about my research, which involved the development of a web-based accessibility feedback tool similar to what you have discussed below.

My thinking was along the lines of providing an automated tool to aid in assessing hearing accessibility, and provide a report of potential solutions based upon the results of the assessment.

To develop the tool, I first developed a means of identifying and classifying the individual visual and audio feedback elements in games- which was a mammoth task given the various genres, platforms, design choices etc. The reason for this was that while while the GAG and Includification guidelines do provide excellent generalised recommendations for using alternative forms of feedback to audio, they don’t describe technical implementation (nor were they ever intended to).

By reviewing numerous games, and identifying the various forms of audiovisual feedback, we were able to identify commonly used visual feedback elements used to complement specific categories of audio feedback. For example-

[cid:A6716982-7783-4488-B3A2-3F84D53DC21D at gateway]

The above is a small snippet of a much larger table, which encompasses several categories. The table classifies the various forms of visual and auditory feedback used in games, and common methods for technical implementation. Each is accompanied with descriptive examples for implementation in different genres.

Using these results, we developed a web-based accessibility feedback tool, specifically for assessing and gauging the level of hearing accessibility in games. The tool included:

  *   A front end web-form with questions related to the design of the game
  *   A DB populated with the findings of the audio/visual feedback data
  *   A reporting system which produced a document with recommendations for visual elements which could be implemented to complement specific forms of audio feedback

The questions for the form were derived directly from guidelines and previous academic research. The questions used were fairly low level. For example, the first question was based upon Includification's baby-friendly test:
1. Does the game use audio feedback?
1.1 IF no End
1.2 ELSE continue
2. Can the game be played by the intended target audience, with the audio muted, with no adverse impact on gameplay or user experience?
3. Is audio feedback used for X category of game sound?
4. Is the audio feedback represented in an alternative form of visual feedback?
etc.

The web-tool went through several iterations, and we had varied levels of success.

From the findings, we found that an automated approach could be used to provide a basic level of assessment. However, the tool lacked specificity and flexibility. For example, there are certain aspects which cannot be currently simulated which are critical to assessing accessibility, such as user testing to gauge the impact of specific game sounds on user experience. In addition, the person conducting the test would need to have some underlying knowledge of the target audience’s needs and (dis)abilities (i.e. textual feedback is unsuitable for young children, especially considering the symptomatic delay in expressive and communication skills, which often extends to reading comprehension).

Based on these findings, we ended up developing a new game assessment framework instead. The iterative framework is a three-step process, which can be integrated into both prescriptive design approaches and adaptive/iterative design approaches (to accommodate both mainstream development and indie development). The framework can be used during development, or to assess a completed game, and includes user testing to evaluate the impact of game sounds.

I’d be happy to share my findings if it will help with the development of your own tool? My thesis is currently undergoing examination, and I should be able to share the final publication with you in the next couple of months if that suits.

Thanks,

Luke

Luke Brook
PhD Candidate | Lecturer Games & Interactivity
School of Arts and Humanities | Edith Cowan University
2 Bradford Street, Mt Lawley, Western Australia - 6050
Phone: (+61) 401 904 671 | Email: l.brook at ecu.edu.au<mailto:l.brook at ecu.edu.au>

On 10 Mar 2017, at 5:54 am, Ian Hamilton <i_h at hotmail.com<mailto:i_h at hotmail.com>> wrote:


How about just a third party tool as an initial MVP to test the waters with - e.g. google form+sheet?

Still need to get the round tablers who wanted email sign-up added to the system, would definitely be worth bringing up again once both Karen and James are on the list as they both seemed pretty keen.

Ian



On Thu, Mar 9, 2017 at 9:25 PM +0000, "Mathias Nordvall" <mathias.nordvall at liu.se<mailto:mathias.nordvall at liu.se>> wrote:

If this gets formulated in such a way that it could somehow also be used for research as well I'm sure that a university, for example mine, could host it on our servers

On Thu, 9 Mar 2017 at 22:09, <games_access-request at igda.org<mailto:games_access-request at igda.org>> wrote:
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Today's Topics:

   1. Accessibility Feedback Tool (Gemma Thomson)
   2. Re: Accessibility Feedback Tool (Chad Philip Johnson)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message: 1
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2017 16:13:44 +0100
From: "Gemma Thomson" <gemma at kaludoscope.com<mailto:gemma at kaludoscope.com>>
To: <games_access at igda.org<mailto:games_access at igda.org>>
Subject: [games_access] Accessibility Feedback Tool
Message-ID: <006f01d298e7$bee3e780$3cabb680$@kaludoscope.com<http://kaludoscope.com/>>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"

Hello all,



Further to the SIG roundtable at GDC (and in the sincere hopes I'm not
jumping any guns here), I'd like to follow up in regard to the notion of an
accessibility feedback tool. For those who weren't present: a few of us got
to talking about a feedback form and/or database of accessibility feedback,
flowing from game players to game developers and publishers. A few ideas
flew around, such as:



*       having said database hosted by this SIG, in the interest of sharing
knowledge amongst industry;
*       keeping the tool open for indies and large studios alike by way of
an easy deployment tool (examples might include presskit()
<http://dopresskit.com/>  or distribute() <https://dodistribute.com/> ,
primarily from Vlambeer)
*       having this start as a relatively small-scale project, not least to
ascertain how much work it would actually take to maintain.



As a relative newcomer to the SIG and this mailing list I'm not entirely
sure how these things are usually done, but if there's a project team to be
made then I'd like to help where I can, and lend some 'indie' input! Perhaps
a bunch of us could get together in a Slack channel or something?



Also as I say, I apologise if I've jumped a gun and there are perhaps
minutes from the roundtable yet to come.



Thanks!

~ Gemma

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Message: 2
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2017 13:08:43 -0800
From: Chad Philip Johnson <chad at anacronist.com<mailto:chad at anacronist.com>>
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List <games_access at igda.org<mailto:games_access at igda.org>>
Subject: Re: [games_access] Accessibility Feedback Tool
Message-ID: <fceaaf5b-971c-0a8f-8db0-99f2c52df4dd at anacronist.com<mailto:fceaaf5b-971c-0a8f-8db0-99f2c52df4dd at anacronist.com>>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"; Format="flowed"

Hi Gemma,

Most people at the roundtable seemed to be in support of this idea, so
it's great that you brought it up on the mailing list.

As I see it, the main hurdles seem to be:  1) finding (or possibly
developing) web software that would serve this purpose, 2)
infrastructure, and 3) having somebody to service requests and perform
ongoing maintenance.  Assuming we would eventually get past hurdles 1
and 2, it's the day to day stuff that is probably the biggest concern.

It might be possible to design the system in a way where minimal
oversight is required.  For example, developers and publishers request
an account and then maintain all of their own feedback. If done a
certain way, this wouldn't create a great deal of additional work for
the SIG and its members.

Regarding infrastructure, we are in the process of moving igda-gasig.org<http://igda-gasig.org/>
to the IGDA servers.  While the available resources will be greater than
what we currently have, I don't really know about the bandwidth,
software packages, hosting options, etc. that will be available to us.
Ian, Thomas and I were discussing this somewhat recently.  There is an
additional difficulty in that we must make all technical requests to the
person who administers the IGDA servers, which means that we don't have
direct access to this infrastructure.  So hopefully there are some gains
to be made here.  I will send off an email tonight to stir up some
dialog (I've been meaning to do it anyway).

Beyond all of that, we would just need to come up with an overall design
for this feedback tool that would be reasonable and also serve its
intended purpose.  As you mentioned, scheduling an online chat and
hammering out some of the details may be a good place to start.

Chad Philip Johnson
Anacronist Software

On 03/09/2017 07:13 AM, Gemma Thomson wrote:
>
> Hello all,
>
> Further to the SIG roundtable at GDC (and in the sincere hopes I?m not
> jumping any guns here), I?d like to follow up in regard to the notion
> of an accessibility feedback tool. For those who weren?t present: a
> few of us got to talking about a feedback form and/or database of
> accessibility feedback, flowing from game players to game developers
> and publishers. A few ideas flew around, such as:
>
>   * having said database hosted by this SIG, in the interest of
>     sharing knowledge amongst industry;
>   * keeping the tool open for indies and large studios alike by way of
>     an easy deployment tool (examples might include presskit()
>     <http://dopresskit.com/> or distribute()
>     <https://dodistribute.com/>, primarily from Vlambeer)
>   * having this start as a relatively small-scale project, not least
>     to ascertain how much work it would actually take to maintain.
>
> As a relative newcomer to the SIG and this mailing list I?m not
> entirely sure how these things are usually done, but if there?s a
> project team to be made then I?d like to help where I can, and lend
> some ?indie? input! Perhaps a bunch of us could get together in a
> Slack channel or something?
>
> Also as I say, I apologise if I?ve jumped a gun and there are perhaps
> minutes from the roundtable yet to come.
>
> Thanks!
>
> ~ Gemma
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> games_access mailing list
> games_access at igda.org<mailto:games_access at igda.org>
> https://pairlist7.pair.net/mailman/listinfo/games_access
> The main SIG website page is http://igda-gasig.org<http://igda-gasig.org/>

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