A Review Accessibility Checklist/Guide

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This is meant to be a short guide on how to look for and present information for accessibility reviews. While covering for accessibility can seem vast and incomprehensible at first to wrap your head around. (given the fact that everyone experiences their disability differently) You will find that there are common threads to look for in order to look for in order to cover the crucial information required to help people with accessibility concerns make a choice about video game.

Accessibility concerns are most commonly categorised as follows (though this is not an extensive list):

  • Deaf & Hard of Hearing
  • Vision/Blind & Hard of Sight
  • Cognition
  • Mobility/Motion
  • Colour Blindness

Each of these have their own concerns with their criteria, but all of these have ways of easily finding key information for those who don’t suffer from said disability. While this is no substitute for peoples experiences; this is meant to be an easy way to illustrate accessibility points in standard reviews.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing

  • Audio Descriptions or Closed Captioning for events and sounds that are in game. For example; *tromp* *tromp* *tromp*
Example of Audio Description
  • Subtitles – this is the ability to see the games dialogue on screen. Subtitles can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Vision/Blind & Hard of Sight

  • Increase Subtitle Size – this is the ability for the player to be able to increase the subtitles size to a point where it is comfortable to read.
Example of Large Font options, Color Blind Modes, High Contrast UI and Menu Narration
  • High Contrast UI – this gives the player the option to change the way a menu is presented to them which can give them the ability to see menu options clearer.
Example of a before and after of applying a high contrast option for the menu’s UI

Cognition

  • Highlighted Words – this gives players the visual cue to take note of important concepts or actions
  • Clear Navigation Markers – using clear and visually distinct markers to highlight different and important aspects that the player needs to be aware of.
Example of clear visual navigation markers. The red dots illustrating enemies, the stairs icon for a stairs, blue dots for objects and green x’s for tiles.
  • Toggling On/Off of Visual Effects & Motion Blur – players who suffer from triggering of visual effects (like flashing lights for epilepsy) or motion blur that could trigger motion sickness would need the ability to switch these modes on or off.
Example of a motion blur effect from Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which at launch was not to switch on or off.
  • Tutorials – players with cognition issues may need to repeat tutorials or review specific elements of gameplay.

Mobility Options

  • Key remapping – the ability to remap any action key to a preferred key defined by the player
  • No Quick Time Events / Button Mashing / Option to help with QTE – For players with limited movement Quick Time Events can be nearly impossible to complete, having the option to skip or bypass them can be very beneficial.
Example from Spider Man of an Auto Complete Mode for Quick Time Events
  • Difficulty Modes – Having different difficulties level can make levels or battles that would take a considerable amount of physical effort for that barrier, that would be reduced.
  • Options to invert axis or have left handed modes – for those who are left handed or for those who have specific controller set ups that require the inversion.

Colour Blindness

  • Colour Blindness Options – this allows the player to change colour options to a way that makes them easier to see.

While these lists could go on and on (and this guide is not meant to be extensive) – it’s important to realise that a lot of these things reviewers would come across as they are reviewing a game. They’re in things you would interact with or come across as you progress, meaning all you would have to consider in terms of time is just keeping an eye out for these options and including them where possible.

If reviewers and critics find this helpful, please feel free to share this with your editor in order to incorporate these into your style guides.

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