Accessibility Dos and Don'ts
My GCAP 2017 talk with John Kane presented developers with new ways of considering accessibility, and offered a lot of practical tips. Here they are, in the form of an easy-to-use checklist. Now there's no excuse to avoid making your game a little more accessible!
- Make your menus work with everything
- Make your keys rebindable
- Make your sensitivity adjustable
- Allow simpler control schemes if possible
- Add these features EARLY
- Put buttons in places that make sense. Make them look like buttons.
- Tween your UI whenever possible - it helps people keep track of changes
- Test your game for motion sickness, simulation sickness, and epilepsy.
- Make sure head-bob can be turned off and field of view can be changed.
- Make your settings menu navigable with a keyboard AND gamepad.
- Let people turn off screenshake and flashing visual effects.
- Add dyslexic font options if your game is text heavy. Increase spacing between letters for readability. Left-aligned text is preferred for left-to-right languages; don't justify your text alignment!
- Accelerate when you tween your player’s motion. ESPECIALLY in VR.
- Put moving or distracting backgrounds behind your UI or your text. If you do, allow them to be turned off.
- Put time limits on interactions. If an interaction requires button-mashing, add a toggle to let the player “hold” the button instead.
- Use ableist language.
Gender and sexuality
- Allow users to opt-out
- Understand what you’re actually asking—and ask that
- Use radio buttons for gender select
- Only have two options
- Make the question compulsory
- Always have ‘male’ as the default
- Randomise the default character(s)
- Ask what you need to know, not just what everyone else asks
- Provide options for body diversity (e.g. shape, size, characteristics)
- Consider the options you have given your player—who are you including and who are you excluding?
- Make a white, middle-aged, able-bodied man the default
- Restrict options arbitrarily (i.e. clothing or voice due to gender)
- Make assumptions
- Make your game colour-blind accessible. Consider using Brewer palettes, which have been made to suit all forms of colour-blindness.
- Have adjustable UI/text size if possible.
- Check the contrast of your text.Give it a black outline if necessary.
- Have brightness/contrast adjustment in your game.
- Use colour on its own to convey information.
- Have subtitles if you have voice over. 79% of players prefer subtitles.
- Subtitle all background noises too, and allow different types of subtitles to be turned on and off.
- Consider letting people change how subtitles look.
- Have separate volume controls SFX, speech and music. If possible, add a mono toggle for people who have difficulty hearing in one ear audio toggle.
- Have visuals to match any sound cues in your game.
- Consider TTS if voice-over is too costly.
- Have a visual cue when someone is talking
- Support text chat as well as voice
- Let people pick if they want to play with others who use voice chat (or not)
- Try limited phrases or emoji based chat, if you don't want to deal with rude language. It’s been shown to be a good way to foster a less toxic playerbase too!
- Start thinking about accessibility and inclusivity early
- Always ask questions
- Don’t expect people to consult for free
- Consider why you need information from your player
- Don’t make assumptions based on the information you receive
- If you offend someone, use it as a chance to learn and be better
- Access resources, learn from good examples, and improve yourself
- Web Content Accessibility Guidelines • w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
- WCAG automated testing • wave.webaim.org or tenon.io/testNow.php
- Accessibility Developer Tools • Official Google plugin for Chrome
- Game Accessibility Guidelines • gameaccessibilityguidelines.com
- Polyglot Gamedev Translations • github.com/PolyglotGamedev
- Arabic support for unity plugin • Konash/arabic-support-unity
- Bad "Arabic" in games • NopeNotArabic.tumblr.com
- Colorblindness Simulator • color-blindness.com or coblis-color-blindness-simulator
- Colorblind safe palettes (Brewer Palettes) • colorbrewer2.org or mkweb.bcgsc.ca/brewer
- Info about Dyslexia and fonts • ccd.edu.au/news/articles/2016/dyslexie/index.html
- Todd Harper • chaoticblue.com
- Queerly Represent Me • queerlyrepresent.me
- Rudeism • twitch.tv/rudeism
- #a11y • Digital accessibility hashtag (A - one - one - Y)