Guidelines for Inclusive and Accessible Games – #GamesUR US Conference 2017

Are we kind of settling in? How are we doing? My name is Tom Lorusso This is Lauren White We are here from XBox research We’re very excited to be talking about guidelines for inclusive and accessible games Yes, that is a little different than the title in the program, because we changed it at the last minute Literally, up to the last minute So just a quick word on who we are, Lauren and I are on Xbox Research We worked on the platform side So Xbox Research is games plus the platform So we work on all the experiences on an Xbox that are not a game, so social, collections, store, all those kind of things We’re doing a lot on PC and mobile as well, so all the gaming experiences you have We work and cover a lot of those Now one of the focuses in the last couple of years has been looking at inclusivity and accessibility It’s been a great learning experience for us We’ve done a lot of studies, lab studies, surveys, interviews, a lot of expert review A lot of lit review on this topic over the last couple of years Both as part of our kind of main job and then also as a side job, because we’re just very interested in it And so when we talk about inclusive and accessibility, we’re really talking about this People with different levels of ability, hearing, speech, and all that that we’re gonna go into much longer So some of the goals for this talk, we wanna give you first some insights about sort of the space How to think about the audience How to think about doing research and product development, when we look at people with different abilities So I’m gonna talk on that Lauren’s gonna come up and give some specific guidelines on how to improve your game Share some of the things we’ve learned both from the platform and the games Also honestly from Office from Windows It’s a big push around Microsoft so we have a lot of learnings that we can help Hopefully it will be useful for you in your games We wanna give you some of the tools and some of the language to have these discussions when you go back to work on your projects Both to do the research and also to talk to your product teams And of course we’re up here, we’re excited, we hope to get you guys excited so you actually want to go back I wanna show you some of value for doing this kind of research as well So I’ve got about six or seven insights that we’ve learned about the audience And the first one you can even see right in the title talking about inclusive and accessible So you’ll hear us use those interchangeably Most times you’re talking about this, you’re talking about accessibility And really the way we think about that is you’ve got your experience, you’ve got your game You’ve designed it for your core set of users It’s great, it’s working well And then if you have time and if you have the money and if you have the buy-in You get to say, okay great now I have to think about How is this game gonna be be used by someone with low vision or with low hearing? Let me go tweak some setting or enable a high-contrast mode or something like that And that’s great, we don’t mind that, there’s nothing bad with that, we do a lot of that in XBox as well What we’re trying to do is to push more towards inclusive design, you can think about that as universal design And that’s really all about getting earlier in the design process So thinking about my core set of users, but then also broadening that, even the design in the spec phase How are all of my users gonna use that? We could talk about this for an hour, but I’ve actually got a short five minute video It’s from what we call an inclusive design sprint So in order to try to get the team thinking about these types of people earlier, people with these types of abilities that you can see The design team brought a bunch of PMs, designers, devs, into a room for a few days And really did a deep dive on this topic of accessibility and inclusivity And then we made a lovely video about it Both to help with the product team and improve the product, and also to build empathy throughout the company So hopefully this will work >> An inclusive design spread case study Xbox social gaming with >> As design director for Xbox we decided to focus on gamers and particularly deaf and hard of hearing gamers >> Games are no longer just entertainment They’re a vital part of sort of society at large >> Given the opportunity to share my experiences with other people who are going to take this and hopefully turn this into something that’s really useful for me and for other people who have my disability as well >> Accessibility is not the goal of inclusive design But rather observing how people with different level of ability navigate a typical situation And use that analog as a starting point for designer features >> It really isn’t about designing for people with disabilities, it’s really just about a design process that meets everyone’s needs >> Coming here and talking about Xbox, cuz that was the point of the discussion It seems however the discussion was everything else outside of Xbox >> My favorite part, so far, has been the inclusion of the subject matter experts You hear their story, you feel their story,

in context of the, as a person in a way that you don’t get in text on a forum or a user voice >> Some of the inclusive design tools were really helpful to help me think about different slices of the experience >> You’ve got this basic idea that makes a lot of sense We have it kind of frame by frame >> Thinking about someone that is doing something on a bus >> What if in fact we transport that to another location and so running that through a couple of different places, whether it be in transit >> Someone that has a different type of ability, that is in a different context in their life >> Well this is kind of a niche case or there are only a couple people who might benefit In all actuality it is a lot of people, and so there is kind of inherent value in those things as well >> The one thing that I would want to come out of this Would just be a different way of approaching how you actually start the design process Rather than starting out in that tunnel development phase where you’re just generating this just for an Xbox player But just thinking outside the box and make sure that it is inclusive to everyone >> So I just really try to impress on the participants That the things that they design are having a massive impact on the quality of life for thousands and thousands of people >> Back with the design director of Xbox >> Well I’m super excited with the outcome of this sprint >> One of the projects that we came up with from the design sprint is basically including emojis in the virtual keyboard >> Which allows deaf or hard of hearing players to understand the emotional context in which text based communications are made >> So the virtual keyboard is something that appears system wide And this would be something that deaf gamers would be able to convey that certain level of emotion That they may not have been able to do beforehand >> One way that the inclusive design sprint really made a direct impact was thinking about how we expand the tags Or sort of the standards that would govern these different clubs or these different parties One of the features that we’re talking about bringing to the console, the PC app, the mobile app this holiday season is actually something called the clubs The idea is that, in this example, you’re getting together with other deaf gamers And this is just one particular example But you could congregate around any sort of interest or common element that you might have with other people >> The bottom line around it is even though these social and emotional needs were specific to deaf gamers >> With the Xbox console, these are social needs that everyone experiences >> I think ideally the more that we do these types of things, the more that people see us doing these types of things, the easier it will get And I think it’s already clear that Microsoft as a culture does value all humans >> Certainly them taking the lead, Microsoft, on accessibility for customers with disability And them doing that as they have been is enormous >> We just can’t afford to have things that are that important inaccessible to a huge percentage of the population >> Our team works behind closed glass doors The screen reads Inclusive, a Microsoft design toolkit, WDG video >> Great, so hopefully that gives you a little more information about kind of accessible versus inclusive We’re very proud of the work that came out of that as well And you can see some of these things that may seem simple Like, put emojis on a keyboard, really can come out of something like that In terms of something for a smaller audience You know it’s gonna have an impact on a bigger audience, which we’re gonna talk about later as well So that was kind of the first insight, think more about inclusive versus accessible Then the next one is, just who are we are talking about, when we talk about accessible versus inclusive? Everybody has different definitions, we talked about different abilities This is more about scope One thing we learn is quickly you have to scope this once you start talking people So they’re really forming, categorize we think about, vision, mobility, hearing, and speech Now, there are more than this You can think about cognitive, there are some other things that people like to talk about, absolutely But in many cases when you’re talking about your gamer audience if you start off with these four you’re gonna go a long way So traditionally you would think of these as well, blind and wheelchair, or paralyzed, deaf and mute And that kinda brings us to our next insight which is, disabilities are not finite There are a range of abilities Someone in a wheelchair is just on one end of that range They have a serious, permanent mobility problem But you can imagine there are tons of other people that have different

kind of problems So one quote that we love, this was a participant we went to their home We had them do kind of an out of box study for Xbox for the Xbox One And it was fantastic because there was no guide dog, there was no cane She didn’t talk about herself as being blind but she had very low vision So in conversation, you were talking to her normally and then as she started unboxing and using the product She did it very much the same we would do, but instead of doing it at arm’s length or sitting on the couch, she had everything right up to her face, just right up to her eyes, because her vision was so low And in this case, she specifically saying well I’m not blind enough to need narrator, which is a screen reader, or any kind of tool Any kind of assistive technology but she just has a low level of vision and cannot see the screen from far away So her whole home, anything she was interacting with technology was all set up to be extremely close to the screen So as we go through this and we talk about low vision, we’re really talking about that range, and of course that applies to hearing and mobility and speech as well So one of the next insights, besides being a range of abilities that someone has, there’s also this temporal aspect And this was a real epiphany for me So if you look in the upper left, we’ll just go through one example of having a mobility issue We certainly talk to gamers and work with gamers that are missing limbs, that have only use of one hand, right? So you can imagine that you could design a controller or design a UI, or even design a game, that can only be played with one hand And you would think, yeah, but really how many gamers are gonna have that issue? But then you start to think about more of the temporary problem with your abilities, right? So I think everybody in here has probably been in a cast, in a sling, either for a couple weeks or a couple days I know I have So now you’re thinking about I just wanna start Netflix Or, I just wanna do something and navigate with one hand because this other one’s in a sling And you can imagine that circle of a tiny group of gamers who have lost a limb Now, you have a broader set of gamers who just have a temporary issue Then, of course, situational, so a new parent The other one is great if you’ve got a drink in your hand, you’ve got your hand in the Cheetos, right? You wanna just do things with one hand because you’ve only got one hand at the moment You can think about trying to open a door Just something where you only have one hand available Everybody will hit this scenario in some part of their day, their week, their month So again you can go around and see the examples from the different types of abilities But hopefully this’ll help you think that you’re not just addressing this tiny group of people You’re addressing people who have permanent, temporary or situational problems with their abilities So the next one we learn was that, and I love this cuz it’s printed outside on our buildings We have a bunch of these printed around really trying to change the culture But the idea that 70% of disabilities are invisible to the eye, right So again, I looked at this audience I don’t see anyone in the wheelchair, I don’t see anyone with a guide dog But I’m sure there are people out there right now having a hard time seeing this slide Who have a low vision, who have hearing aids that maybe a little subtle you can’t see them No one in the wheelchair but I’m sure that you’ve got people have back issues, people can’t sit here for the next two hours cuz their knees are gonna hurt You may have full use of your hands, but again, you may have some kind of arthritis or something that I wouldn’t even know about So it’s, once you’re even just looking at a group of people, actually talking to a group of people, doesn’t mean you understand their abilities So as you’re doing your interviews, as you’re talking to folks, even if you’re not doing this kind of work, add a few questions Talk to them about their abilities How’s your vision? How’s your motor skills? Try to understand their level of hearing or if they have any issues with those This is a great one too This is the next thing you learned is using people first language So what we say is important How we talk to people is important We’re sitting in front of a bunch of researchers trying to build rapport with participants, build empathy How we label things? All of that is very important and what we found is that within this community they are really pushing for a people first language And what that means, as a short example, is instead of saying well you’re a deaf gamer, it’s you’re a gamer with deafness And hopefully that resonates because a deaf gamer makes it sound like well I’m deaf and I happen to play games And really we wanna be thinking about well I’m a gamer, I’m a person, I’m a mom, whatever, who happens to be deaf And this isn’t coming from us This is coming from the community This is an article I grabbed that talks about it that I recommend you go read But we’ve seen it first hand that it helps build empathy with the participants you talking to, with the team members and members of that community But also, it’s a nice little subtle mind shift to remember that these are people, these are gamers, these are fans, these are people who wanna have a great experience who happen to have solve level of ability The last one I’m gonna talk about before Lauren comes up, this idea of starting small and having a big impact And, again, I hope this is something that resonates because many cases we start out looking at a small group of people find their issues, and then look for solutions Once we have those solutions we try to think well who else is this gonna impact, right? The world of accessibility and inclusivity is filled with these I just picked this one in terms of the curb cut outs So originally, the curb cut outs were designed for

wheel chair access as part of the Americans with disabilities act But if you’ve ever pushed a stroller across the street, used a bicycle, carried a wheelie bag behind you like a lot of us have done in the last couple days, you know the curb cutouts are used by everyone all the time in all kinds of different situations, right? So here’s something very specific that was done for mobility issues that now everybody gets to enjoy It’s actually very difficult to think about if we didn’t have those right now, how much of a pain it would be for all of us in this room There’s plenty of examples with gaming We talked about the Emoji keyboard If you’ve used an Elite controller on some of the controller mapping, a lot of that was around expert gamers and e-sports and all that But there’s also a big push from the accessibility side of the house to say, well, if I don’t have the right level of mobility in this hand, I wanna be able to take that trigger and put it on the other trigger And that’s why we are pushing in more and more, not even just for the elite controller, but for a lot of our other devices To give people who can’t use the thing exactly the way it is more customization to move the buttons around and really, it would be great We could do a whole talk about bendy straws, electric toothbrushes, there’s a whole list of things designed, some of the doorknobs, and you can see those bars on the door there to easily push out All designed around mobility issues that now we just take for granted So those are some of the insights on kind of the people and the process I think the best way to sum that section of the talk off, is talking about how wide is your perspective, right? We tend to sit down and think I have a game, and I have a gamer Those are the people I’m gonna test with and run studies on They’re gonna have a full set of abilities If you could come out of anything with this talk, it’s to just open up your perspective Think about here’s the group I usually work with, let me add a few more people that have differing sets of abilities Let me think about how people with those abilities are gonna experience my game And now, I’m gonna hand it over to Lauren, who’s gonna come talk more specifically about games and UIs, and how you can integrate some of this into your product >> Thank you Tom Hello everyone I just wanna switch gears and talk a little bit about some guidelines So we learned a lot as the Xbox platform and across other Microsoft products to kind of inform some guidelines to help improve accessibility of games to everyone So don’t freak out, there’s a lot of information on here, I’m gonna talk through every one of these guidelines and I see some people taking photos This is the opportunity to take the photo of the slide So first up, providing immersive gaming experience with multiple senses I think games are already really good at doing this Games are a visual medium, They have auditory components and sometimes tactile components So on the screen here I have an image from the game Forza and you can see that there raindrops hitting the windshield So you have a visual indication of the rain hitting the car and you also have the kind of pitter-patter noise of rain hitting the windshield And then, also if you’re playing this on a controller you have maybe the controller is handling a little bit differently The car is driving differently, because you’re driving on a wet road So imagine there are three different media for you to convey that experience in your game through these different senses Give control to your gamers This is something that I think also some games are really good at doing Think of someone that has low vision and they want to read the subtitles of a cutscene again Or think of someone that has low mobility that knows that they’re never gonna be able to complete this boss because they just don’t have the dexterity to press all those buttons at just the right time, but they still want to play the rest of the game So they seem like separate requests but this is really about the same idea of giving control to the gamers to experience the game at their own pace And here’s just an example of how that kind of control can manifest in a game This is a screen shot from Gears of War 4, and you can see that there are different acts or sections of the game that you kind of go in, play, replay, etc And this is just giving players a control to play the game at their own pace This is a very long quote and I’m not gonna read it This is from Turn 10, the studio that created Forza They started getting a little bit of feedback from people that the driving lines, or the kind of driving assist lines weren’t visible to some players And they heard this back and realized the colors are actually off Some people that have color blindness won’t be able to see these So they took the extra step and changed these, and it actually ended up helping not just that original audience, so people that had color blindness, but it helped a larger group of people And here’s an example of that Let me get the video to play Okay, so you can see here that there are these,

the chevron are the kind of arrow point Shapes, and it goes from this gradual blue color, to this yellow color, to this red color Red being the, my god, slow down You’re gonna crash if you don’t down around this corner And they originally had this as a green color, which to some folks is actually not visible So just by changing this, they made the game more inclusive to a larger group of people 4.5 to 1 contrast ratio, this is one of my favorites This is a graph of the Xbox color scheme And the outline in red are actually failures that break this contrast ratio minimum So you can see or hopefully you probably can’t see that going from the upper left corner to the lower right corner, the color and the contrast between the text of the font and the background is not sufficient So there are certain items that are just completely lost or invisible based on that contrast ratio And here’s how this can manifest in a game So on the left, this is from Halo, I just took a screen shot So right in the middle of the screen, there are some crates and like a little platform And after doctoring up the image a little bit and playing around with the contrast The image on the right is with the kind of experience of having an inability to distinguish contrast efficiently And you can see that a lot of the elements that all of those artists spent so many hours detailing and designing are now completely invisible So the screen on the right could be something that someone sees just normally So fortunately, if you are able to see the screen on the left without any issue, this is just what it would kinda manifest for some people that have visual issues Font size, and color This is one piece of feedback if I were stuck in an elevator with any one of you This is the one that I would probably talk about the most Font sizes are too small Font sizes are too small The example that I have up here is from the amazing movie, Toy Story, it’s awesome And the subtitles are turned on So even though Toy Story is a very rich, colorful, animated movie, the subtitles are still visible based on that contrast ratio, and also based on the size Or excuse me, the subtitles are taking up approximately a fourth of the screen which is sufficient enough for most people to be able to read those Perfect time to take a break On the flip side of that, this is Gears of War 4 I’m not bashing on Gear of War 4 too hard I know the researcher that works on that team This is a screen shot that I took directly from the game On my Xbox, I didn’t change the ratio or anything like that These are the actual subtitles that appear in the game And you can see, or maybe you can’t see that they are taking up about a 16th of the screen So much, much smaller than Toy Story As you know, TV screens get better resolution, 4K pixels are getting more pixely There’s a big push with designers, I think to create more visual and intense images And sometimes this is at the cost of font sizes such as subtitles Caption everything Caption everything So the previous two slides that I just showed were about subtitles And for those of you that do not know the difference between captions and subtitles, I am going to explain it to you So subtitles are just a way for dialog to be portrayed in text So characters are speaking, something’s happening It’s just the audio text of what is being spoken Captions do that and more Captions also include the tone of voice, is someone yelling, is someone whispering They also include sound effects, is there a dog barking, is there a car horn They also include kind of the emotionality of the music that’s playing So is there scary violent music playing? Or is there a subdued bassy music playing? So it’s just a way to convey more information about what is happening in the game if you do not have the ability to hear This is just another example, this is from the TV show Scrubs if you have seen it This is just a way to covey another kind of sound effect, and how that would manifest in a closed captioned type setting, and also note the contrast of the font So live TV is already really good at doing this Netflix is actually starting to do this if you’ve kind of played around with the subtitle sections of Netflix They are starting to include more closed captioning on more of their programming Coming back to inclusive design like Tom was talking about,

this is not something that should be considered an accessible feature Imagine if you are in a loud bar and you can’t hear what is going on, but you still wanna know what is being said Imagine if English is your second language, and you just need an additional component to be able to understand what is being said on the TV Or imagine if you are a parent and you have a sleeping kid in the next room, and you cannot play the audio but still really wanna know what is going on in the game, or movie, or TV show This is just not for people with low hearing This is just another example, I have a couple examples of captioning This is from the game Half-Life 2 And this is a way to distinguish the different speakers that are talking in the game or the TV show The text on the upper part in the italics is this kind of voice over and narration that’s happening in the game And then the text on the bottom in the kind of regular font is what is being said by the actual characters in the game Separate audio channels So I have an actual video here that I’m gonna play a couple minutes in, and then I’m gonna jump around and play several more minutes in the video So for some context, there is a gamer who’s blind, his gamer tag is Sightless Combat He is a phenomenal Killer Instinct player I think he’s blown a lot of competitions out of the water So I just want to play a couple minutes of this video This is something that he threw up on YouTube I will have the link at the end of the presentation But this is just him talking about how he is able to play Killer Instinct as a 100% blind gamer [MUSIC] Oops [MUSIC] >> Hello, everybody I am Sightless Combat, and this is my first commentary centric video on YouTube This is a video focusing on how I, as a totally blind player with absolutely no sight whatsoever, actually tackled Killer Instinct as a game Not completely, because that would take lots of time, but just the basics of how you yourself can get involved in playing this as a blindfolded player If you have vision of any sort, and as a non-vision impaired player, if you don’t have any vision So [LAUGH] hopefully that makes sense So the key thing you’ll notice at the moment is that the music is up [MUSIC] Now as good as Mic Gordon’s soundtracks are, and as good as Atlas plugin sound dweller soundtracks are going to be once we get to hear them in the game We’re going to have to turn these down for this experiment, not experiment, but this video I was just going back now into the main menu So if I go into options, go down four, I’ve learned these by heart, into audio options And then we go down four again, we have the music slider Now, we will turn that, actually I’m gonna leave that up while I explain this There is a slider above the music Slide that just to about called hard volume Now, if I move to the right You hear that noise? Which means it’s all the way up I was partially responsible for this slight of being in the game myself Because middle of season two, I actually went onto the forums and said look guys, online I am dropping so many combos, it’s ridiculous Here’s a bunch of suggestions I have for making this better for visually impaired players Those particularly with no sight at all, who can’t see the KV meter and the shadow meter Cuz at the time, I was just having to guess when I had shadow meter, and guess when I was gonna drop a combo So that was very frustrating After a bunch of the community rallied around me, and were very kind and basically said this would be a good idea And one individual decided to troll the thread And basically be a bit of a pain I can’t remember exactly what was said But I believe it was implied that, that person had worked with who were blind, hadn’t played video games and it wasn’t the dumb thing And I think that was the implication, though I can’t specifically remember so don’t quote me on that So after that all happened, and the community did rally around me, I was surprised a few patches later that the developers sneaked in, without any of us realizing they were gonna do it, they sneaked in a sound update Where it said in the patch notes, I’ll see if I can link it in the description of the video They said added audio cues for KV meter, shadow meter, and eventually they added, I don’t know if it was in that update or whether it was in

A later one, they added queues for Cinder’s Burnout and this as well So you knew when they were affecting you It makes it actually feel a little better when he connects those as well, cuz you know your limbs are on fire, which is rather interesting >> Okay, so I’m gonna jump around to a little bit more He goes into a little bit more depth about this, but I wanna demonstrate what he’s actually talking about after he goes in and changes some of these audio settings Let’s see, that >> So we’re doing that We’re gonna beat up on Kan-Rah Actually, you’ll notice each character has a sound So that’s Maya We’ve got TJ We got Riptor We got Omen We got Argys he seems to take awhile to load and let’s not go through all those Might do that in a separate video, maybe, so we’re gonna beat up on Kan-Ra >> Fight >> So now this just loads So basically, the way it works, I’m gonna suggest before we start that you put stereo headphones on, so that you can get the full effects of this Make sure they’re on the right way as well, that’s very handy These integrated in music still sound good >> You make a fine specimen >> No subtitles [CROSSTALK] >> Okay, so you can hear Fulgore making noise on the left hand side Now if I press back to block And the little noise is my shadow meter going up And you hear it again in a minute And then if I hold, so this is backwards And if I hold forward as well, I walk forward and there’s the shadow meter again So if I now crouch, there’s a sound And if I crouch again, and let go, crouch, let go there’s a sound, like that Now if I jump that’s just the neutral, if I jump back, you can hear that pan if I jump forward You can also hear that pan if I jump all the way from your left hand side of the screen to the right hand side of the screen Like that, and if I jump all the way to the left There we go, now if I teleport, it will still move as well So if I do core circle back and right trigger I will end up behind Kan-Ra Hang on let me get my inputs right There we go and if I do a quarter circle back and light kick on this side I will flip to the left hand side of the screen where I was before And then if I do quarter circle back and medium kick, I will go into the sort of the middle of the screen ish And then if I do quarter circle back and kick again, I will end up hitting Kan-Ra, because I got my inputs wrong There we go still move slightly inwards, so if I now teleport back to this side Now one last thing as well, spacing is a thing that you just get used to So I move like, dashes as well have sounds so You get the idea, so That little noise means you can use your devastation beam, more commonly referred to as the hype beam, which makes this noise >> Extreme >> Giant red laser >> Okay, so I just wanted to end with that So just remember that he is a completely blind gamer, and he was creating that video as a demonstration of how he’s able to play this game, with the ability to kind of change the audio settings in the game And turn down that amazing music and just be able to hear a little bit more of the sound effects of what was going on, especially with the HUD meter that he was talking about And I actually forgot to mention, I apologize, I tried very very hard to get the closed captions to show up for that video I could not for the life of me figure out how to do that and embed it from YouTube So I have a link to the video, so if you would like to see it with closed captions there is a link on the resource site that we’ll show at the end Okay, so second to last one that I wanted to talk through, this is all about having a screen reader narrator This is something that a lot of folks talking to gamers that are familiar with screen readers or voice overs or narrators, these are all basically talking about the same thing This is something that they’re starting to expect in the lot of devices so Windows, Apple TV, phones, etc All of those products have this kind of feature already and

this is just something that is basically expected on a TV experience hands on with games So you’re probably thinking why would someone that is blind, play Halo? And back to Tom’s point with that quote, just imagine that someone might not be able to completely see the text on the screen but they’re able to still play the game So this is a kind of feature that would allow someone to be able to navigate through the UI of the menu to actually start playing the game in the first place So I don’t have a video from this But you can imagine that if I had a screen reader turned on for this setting, it would read out item one of four, start playing the game item two or four audio settings or things like that So basically just read through the text that was appearing in that user interface So the last one that I have is about communication This is a basically another way of saying speech to texts, text to speech, a feature to allow people to communicate in games We’ve heard a lot of feedback that people struggle with party chat features, especially on the Xbox We’ve heard some pretty negative horror stories of people are getting kicked out of party chats, getting uninvited to raids, and just basically losing out on the multiplayer experience Because they’re not able to keep up on the communication party chat situation with other gamers We also know that a lot of these gamers go over to play on PC because it’s just easier to play games on PC with the ability to type out text on a keyboard and so forth So this is just something that we’re really pushing for as a platform and over across the way at GDC this is something that is being discussed right now with developers But there is a mechanism that we are providing as a platform so that if you are creating games for Xbox, that there is an ability to leverage this So the big picture, I’ve walked through a lot of guidelines Tom walked through a lot of the kind of what and why this is happening for us as researchers and us as a larger company We are all about the user, we are all about the experience We’re trying to make our products, our services, our games, etc., better for people But I really challenge everyone to really think outside of those walls and try to think about hitting a larger audience And realizing that some of the things that you could be changing, little tiny things are not just targeted at a very specific audience, but they can impact a bigger audience, a much larger audience If you worked on any time of web or PC communication, you know that there are standards for doing this already And as a platform with games this is something that we know that is coming down the line It’s something that we should probably start paying attention to So a little bit of a recency effect, if there’s anything I want you to remember just remember these three slides So first off just think about inclusion versus accessibility Think about what Tom was saying about the temporary situational permanent issues that some people face What if you were to play your game what if you played your game without sound, what would that experience be like? What if part of your screen were blurry, what would that experience be like? Second, if there are many researchers out there, which I think most of you are, actually, talk to these people They are very, very willing to provide feedback, and they are willing to talk about this They’re a very engaged audience I know a lot of the people that we talked to are ecstatic that number one we’re listening and that number two we are trying to actually improve something So I’ve had a lot of people come up to me and ask well how do I go do that? I’d recommend reaching out to the communities, I think most areas have some kind of blind association or deaf community association where they gather as a community And meet and talk about job opportunities and resources that are available to them, so they are out there And I would just encourage everyone to just go and talk to them, and try to get one person in your study and just talk to you to see what their experience is like And lastly, just go through your experience and just see what little things you can change And if anything, make the font size bigger, that’s all I ask If one person goes out of here and makes the font size bigger, I will consider this talk an absolute success So, think about the door handle that Tom mentioned, it’s little things like that where you would think, well, why should we have a different door handle? But you realize, well, yeah if I am holding a beer or a baby, it is easier for me to open the door this way So, just think about those kinds of opportunities you can do to change your game or your product, whatever you’re working on So I’m gonna leave the resources slide up here for a while, I also threw up Tom and my contact information We have several minutes to answer questions, and I think Tom and

I would be more than happy to answer questions I want to point out the very first link up there is the design sprint tool kit and that is a publicly available resource that all of you can use If you wanna use it as an individual or take it back to your team, this is the ability to kind of walk through the different exercises of what is a temporary situational permanent disability kind of thing look like So there’s a lot of resources there to jog your mind and get into this mindset of doing this kinda stuff And then third from the bottom there’s the link to the YouTube video with the sightless combat player that I showed earlier And if you do need subtitles there are subtitles embedded in YouTube, so I apologize for that But if you search for sightless combat you should be able to find some of his other stuff cuz I think he’s in a couple videos Yeah, and then I have a bunch of other statistics stuff up here as well, where I got a lot of these numbers that were showing up on the slides Yeah, I think I’ll stop right there and, if anyone has any questions, we can answer them now or otherwise just come find Tom or myself throughout the rest of the day Thank you guys >> [APPLAUSE] >> Really [LAUGH] >> Thank you for this I think it’s super awesome I actually noticed recently in a bunch of newer games that in the settings there was a color blind mode that was added in So you mentioned that this is kind of a push that you’re going for What kind of steps are you taking in order to push this out to all developers in order to get these kinds of things in games? >> So a couple of different things I think first off, if you kinda think about this as a platform versus a content, that can really help divide the conversation a little bit more So as a platform, we’re really trying to drive in a lot of those features and basically create the foundation for developers to access this kind of stuff And I mentioned the speech to text, narrator, high contrast, magnifier So those kinds of things are available as a platform like system wide kind of thing But the thing that is slowly starting to catch up with us is actually with the content So the example that I showed with Killer Instinct, that was not something that was explicitly like, we need to do an accessible thing, we’ll do this thing It was just something that they just happened to do, so it wasn’t a, hey, we need to go make this thing Let’s implement this somehow from some systematic way It was just something that they changed, and I think that was also the example from Forza as well But that was a little bit more directed from a specific audience So as far as how to get this in there, I think if you wanna look at it from a systematic way of well, let’s just start with one thing, being font size Let’s start with that and then go from there, and see where that takes us Cuz I know that, especially for smaller houses, doing a lot of this kinda stuff can be incredibly expensive and just get squeezed out of the budget, and squeezed out of the timeline So it’s really kind of about finding those little things that can be really tackled, to just make a bigger impact down the road Anything else, okay >> This is great, I really appreciate you guys giving this talk What is advice that you have maybe for researchers who are trying to be advocates for players with disabilities and getting more inclusive game design in moving forward? This is an awesome list of resources, but how can we convey to our dev teams that this is an important thing that we need to be taking into consideration? >> Yeah, the video that Tom showed in his section of the presentation about the design sprint, that was something that was actually done, not just with a group of researchers but there were devs, PMs, designers, plus a researcher in the room So it was really a group effort and I think the word of the day is probably empathy Once you start getting those subject matter experts in there and you start talking to a gamer that wants to play your game but can’t for some reason, I think it’s that kind of thing Like starting small with an individual that can probably be a little bit more effective than just throwing out a bunch of stats around, millions of people have this, millions of people have that That gets, I think a little lost But if you actually have an individual face to put to the issue, I think that can really help drive that point home I would also, not to wave the Microsoft flag too hardly, but I would really recommend checking out the toolkit, that link on the top There’s just a lot good stuff in there that you can use

Do printouts or on-screens, or whatever with your team to walk through different sections of this is what the experience would look like if someone has a permanent or temporary, or situational disability And I think it just kinda opens up more people’s mind to what is going on and gets rid of this barrier of, well we’re not just thinking about blind, we’re not just thinking about deaf, but we’re kind of opening up to more people And, do you have anything to add? >> Yeah, the only thing I was gonna add there is this second one here So it seems like tackling this is a big road block Like, I have to run a study or I have to build up this recruiting but we’ve gotten so much buy-in from just having one or two people show up, you don’t have to tell the team Just run your six sessions, add a seventh or eighth and start showing them the videos, and have them come to the lab, and we get a ton of traction just from that And there’s really no approval or no giant budget asked, it’s just getting a few folks in And as Lauren mentioned, in many of the cases they are formed around communities, and more than happy to come in, so they love doing it as well >> Thank you so much for the talk, very, very good >> Yeah, thanks >> I was wondering you were talking about design sprints, I wonder how do you design sprints on your work with other team members and in your work in general? >> The design sprints were, as I was just mentioning before, it’s one of the big reasons of doing that is to get the team on the same page, that are coming from different disciplines So maybe a designer is not really thinking about that They’re thinking about, my gosh, I want the pixels to be beautiful Just getting everybody on the same page I think is the biggest point of having the design sprint Whether you are working on the exact same product or, at Microsoft there’s many, many different things that people are working on But just getting everyone on the same page I think is the most efficient way and most effective way to get that across >> There’s one more >> Yeah >> So you talked a lot about the visual and the audio issues for accessibility, but one of the biggest issues that a lot of people have with games is the controller itself And being unable to use it, you were talking a little bit about one-handed How much are you able to work around the limitations of having to use an Xbox One controller or having to use a keyboard and mouse and things like that? How much design work can go into that, and how much of that has to be a limitation of the medium? >> Back to one thing that Tom brought up with the Elite controller Solving for a one-handed controller is very, very, very difficult I think the initial design of the Xbox controller was obviously designed for two hands that are a certain size and that have a certain amount of dexterity to be able to grip it, and reach the buttons, and press the buttons, and all of that So I think the leaning a little bit more on the elite controller and the flexibility to be able to button map, and I know that a lot of games also do this, where you’re able to swap the default mapping to something else So it’s that kind of thing that gets a little bit closer to be able to solve for that issue But it is very, very difficult, and I think that’s why there are a lot of gamers that go over to PC because there’s a little bit more flexibility of being able to change inputs And yes, I can have a keyboard over here, and I can map certain keys to do these certain features in the game But I don’t have a better answer, it is a very tough question But I think the elite controller and the ability to not only change the mapping of everything, but change the different types of buttons So if you’re familiar with it, there’s different paddle sizes that you can use, and longer thumbsticks, and shorter thumbsticks, and all of that kind of stuff So there’s more flexibility to be able to use the controller in different ways, yeah? >> [INAUDIBLE] >> Yeah >> No, no go for it, the boss is saying we’re allowed to talk about those features so I guess- >> Yeah sorry, I was being overly cautious So there is a feature that Xbox really somewhat recently, called Copilot mode This is the ability to platform feature, to be able to essentially split one controller and put into two controllers So not like player one’s controller and player two’s controller but player one has two controllers So imagine the situation of a parent that wants to be able to do all the fine dextrous movements of, like actually moving the player around and everything else But there’s a kid or someone else that has limited mobility that only has the ability to just like press one button But they still wanna play the game but there’s just too much involved in playing the game So Copilot allows that controller to be able to have the dexterity of being able to move and then a separate controller that just has one button So every button on the controller is just jump or even button is just shoot

So it allows two people to play at the same time Hopefully I explained that pretty clear, that was really fast but Yeah, that’s another way to kind of solve that problem for the one handed controller issue Yeah? >> Thanks guys, that was a fantastic talk When we develop for first party, we know that it comes with a host of compliance issues Do you see a day where Microsoft might want to make a lot of these part of the compliance of developing for Xbox? >> I could see that happening I don’t know specifics of that being a kind of thunder hand coming down, saying you must do this I could certainly see that happening though If we kind of pay attention to the legal history around the American Disabilities Act, that kind of stuff And also a lot of the standards that I know the government has to abide by, as far as, like accessibility for documents, and that kind of stuff So if you’re kinda paying attention and assume that, well, that kind of stuff that happened is probably gonna happen At some point, I could actually see that happening, but I don’t know anything for sure, yeah Anything else? >> So thank you again, this is awesome stuff >> Sure >> So I’m kind of curious This is a little geared towards a console, which obviously has a lot of opportunity From a mobile developer I’m kind of curious, kinda on two fronts How well you think this translates into the mobile world, particularly the phone or kinda what would you think is the biggest area of improvement that needs to happen as far as smartphone accessibility or inclusive design >> Sure, I think for mobile the biggest issue is the actual touch screen interface itself Having talked to a lot of folks in the lab, one of their biggest complaints is with this kind of modern push towards technology to go towards touch screens And one example of that comes immediately to mind are excuse me, are things like the stove and microwave Where buttons have now become kind of flush with the surface And you don’t know if you’ve pressed the button Especially if you can’t hear anything So there’s no kind of tactile, feedback of okay, I’ve pushed this thing Wait, I don’t know if I’ve pushed this thing And obviously, you can imagine that that happens on a touchscreen So that’s where I think focusing on just the kind of visual and auditory stuff that’s for a mobile, I think, really has to amp it up a little bit Because you don’t have the flexibility to deal with a lot of that tactile stuff I know, I’m actually an iPhone user, but I think Android, I think, has the ability to do this, where there’s the ability to create different buzzes and so forth So that’s probably one step going towards, just getting feedback of, yes, I press this button, and there’s some kind of persistent feedback that happens But yeah, as far as different types of input mechanisms, I think I’ve seen different plugins for phones That have buttons for gaming and that kind of stuff That’s probably a little bit closer But I don’t think that solves for the issue of it just being a touch screen itself, yeah Anything else? Okay cool Yes, Tom and I will be around all day, so if you think of anything else just feel free to come and talk to us Thank you again >> [APPLAUSE]