Tag Archives: inclusion

Gaming Companies Making Efforts to Create More Inclusive Games for People with Disabilities

Boy is playing inclusive games on mini computer

More than half of the sixty million people living with disabilities turn to the world of gaming to meet the need for friendship, belonging and self-esteem. According to Mark Barlet, founder of AbleGamers, gaming is a way for them to free themselves from their disability. They can present themselves in a manner that has fewer stigmas.

The reality is, there is a huge market for accessible gaming for people with disabilities and with the advancement of technology, the options are growing. More than ever, developers are considering people of all abilities as they create their virtual experiences. 

PC is the Most Flexible 

While there may be objections amongst the disability community, developers believe that in terms of gaming platforms, the most flexible is the PC (Personal Computer). This is due to the many plug-and-play devices that can be used. While consoles offer more cutting edge games, they are often not suitable due to their closed systems.

There are, however, initiatives meant to make the inclusive games more accessible to a broader range of people, with everyone playing an equally important role; from the developers to the caregivers. This article looks at the initiatives being put in place and how they have helped more and more people with disabilities get into the world of gaming.

man playing video game with hand controls

AMS Vans’ Dallas Crum tests out some hand controls connected to a driving game.

Game Design

Game engines are the tools used in the creation of video games. More and more developers have understood why the element of inclusion should be considered from the beginning; at the game design level. This has been the case recently with specific game engines already encouraging accessibility. An example such as Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4, which enables developers to see the appearance of their game with various forms of color blindness, allows developers the opportunity of addressing disability in their game design.

Accessibility Features

Certain major brand consoles have also joined in on the push for more inclusive games. Xbox One and PlayStation 4 accessibility features allow the player to redesign the controller layout to one that would suit their needs.

There is also the Xbox Co-pilot option found on Xbox One. This feature allows a player to pair a second handset to the first one which allows the player to recruit a friend or caregiver to help with certain buttons or with multi-tasking.

With the increased popularity of Virtual Reality, it has opened another alternative to how gamers can enjoy the different products. However, there is still a way to go. Virtual Reality Headsets can be bulky and when they require head movement, that can be a challenge for some individuals. The opportunity they present for vast and diverse experiences for a user with limited mobility, though, can’t be ignored.

man wearing virtual reality headset

Virtual reality could be the future for gaming for people with disabilities.

Disability-Friendly Companies

Companies such as Special Effect are creating inclusive games and developing all new ways to enable people to play. Furthermore, they are crafted on a case-by-case basis to meet the specific person’s needs.

AbleGamers develop solutions that game developers can implement to make their products more accessible. Remappable keys; which would allow users to reconfigure controls, color-blind options and closed captioning are a few recommended solutions. Tutorials are essential for players with cognitive disabilities since they will allow players to learn the game without fear of failure.

AbleGamers educate content creators, hardware and software developers on how to develop accessible games. On top of that, they also teach and support caregivers on the advantages gaming has to those with disabilities. Events such as Accessibility Arcades help show disabled gamers the technology that helps them enjoy gaming like everyone else.

According to statistics, there are roughly thirty-three and a half million of gamers with disabilities in the United States, two-thirds of them being male. Click To Tweet

Find More Inclusive Games

Able gaming can be fun for people of all ages and abilities! The more accessible gaming is made, the more inclusive it will be. For more information on how this is being made possible, head on to AbleGamers.

Speaking of accessible equipment, we install a variety of hand controls for wheelchair accessible vehicles at AMS Vans! You can read about some of the options we offer here.

NASA Space Center Levels Playing Field for Employees with Disabilities

WH Staff Visits GSFC

Business owners who still think accessibility is not that important should take a hint from NASA. The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s inclusive culture impressed Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, during a tour of the space center’s satellite testing facility. He shared his experience on the WhiteHouse.gov blog.

According to Dale, Goddard fosters a culture that emphasizes recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining employees with disabilities. Goddard’s human resources managers attended a first ever disability job fair held by the Office of Personnel Management in 2009. The center has hired many qualified engineering, science, math, and technology candidates thanks to its relationship with the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s (AAAS) Internship Program. The space flight center also works with the Workforce Recruitment Program and vocational rehabilitation centers to obtain qualified staff. These hiring and recruiting practices enables Goddard to achieve internal veteran and disability hiring goals.

WH Staff Visits GSFC

Goddard also sets a standard for accessibility that any businesses should strive for: ensuring new-hire training for all, regardless of physical ability, through a feedback system that helps minimize unintentional barriers. Staff and management also participate in learning and development sessions that give employees an opportunity to address accessibility and insensitivity issues, as well address disability-related issues.

Lack of reasonable accommodations is a common barrier to employment for job applicants with disabilities. Goddard ensures a level playing field for all employees by maintaining a centralized accommodation fund that allows managers to make accommodations without having to worry about their operating budgets.

Dale was impressed with how well the staff diversity matched the diverse skill sets necessary to stay on the cutting edge of space and earth sciences. He, along with a group of other individuals, got to meet some of the staff responsible for designing “some of the coolest hi-tech stuff.”

WH Staff Visits GSFC

The group was welcomed by a blind EEO specialist. They were given a demonstration of a space vacuum simulation that was presented by a thermal engineer with a physical impairment. Deaf engineers showed group mockups and test equipment designed for the satellite’s command and data center. For Dale, it was proof positive that persons with disabilities are capable of doing anything they set their minds to, if given the opportunity.

Sources:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/09/26/nasa-goddard-space-flight-center-disability-employment-done-right
https://www.aaas.org/careercenter/internships/
https://wrp.gov/

Image source:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/nasa_goddard/sets/72157627238955455/with/6012239474/

Wheelchair Stars in Fashion Campaign for British Department Store

The British department store, Debenhams, has cast wheelchair user Shannon Murray in its recent fashion campaign for famous designer Ben de Lisi’s brand called Principles.
The campaign also includes three other models that the company considers more realistic: Tess who is 5 feet 4 inches and considered petite, Tokumbo Daniel, who is a size 10, and Kate Fullman, who is a size 16.

Shannon has been modeling for over fourteen years, but she felt the Debenhams shoot was different because it was “another small step towards inclusion and representation.”

This was the first High Street campaign to feature a woman in a wheelchair, and disability advocates were mostly positive about the images. A spokesperson from the Direct Action Network, Clair Lewis, said: ‘As long as the campaign is more than just a brief moment of tokenism then I think it should be welcomed,’ she said.
‘Britain is a varied placed filled with women of different sizes and ethnic backgrounds. The models and high street windows should reflect that variety but all too often they don’t.’

When asked his thoughts about the campaign, fashion designer Ben de Lisi added: “I think Shannon looks amazing.”

We think she does too! What do you think?

SOURCE: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1253699/Wheelchair-user-set-disabled-model-star-major-High-Street-campaign-Debenhams.html?ITO=1490