Jennifer McNamera, Vice President Serious Games and Strategic Partnerships, BreakAway Games
Increasingly, serious game products are used in education, skill development, employee selection, credentialing, and promotion opportunities. Products in these spaces generally need to comply with mandates to provide broadly accessible content. Historically serious games have provided basic in-game accommodations, some include alternative non-game content to ensure equal access, and recently some consumers have slowed in adoption of game approaches citing concerns regarding their ability to provide accessible experiences. Ideally, serious games should accommodate disabled users through the assistive technologies they utilize in their daily lives. But guidelines for accessibility aren’t currently directed for our technologies. The most used serious game development engines render games inaccessible to standard assistive technologies. And the creation community lacks accessibility design guidance specific to serious game products. In this session, the presenters will share how candidate serious game product accessibility is evaluated for procurement, discuss use of Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates, and share information on design decisions and development approaches to meeting serious game accessibility goals.
Attendees will gain an understanding of how serious game products are vetted by procuring organizations. The session will include an overview of the process of creating and providing a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) as well as a discussion of how end consumers use the VPAT. Attendees will also learn about ways to meet accessibility goals presented within the framework of the Web Content Accessibility Guideliens (WCAG) and discuss how WCAG does, and does not, offer practical guideance for game developers. Finally, the presenters will share various approaches to meeting accessibility goals, with pros and cons shared for each to help developers decide the best path for their products.