AbleGamers launches accessibility tester panels

The AbleGamers Foundation, an American charity who help people with disabilities to play games by giving them controllers which suit their needs, have launched a new initiative to help improve accessibility problems in games. Their Player Panels will connect developers and researchers to people with disabilities as accessibility testers. Hopefully this scheme will lead to more games being open to more players – and from the start, rather than having accessibility options patched in.

For years, AbleGamers has advocated for more accessibile games as well as giving hardware to people who have difficulties with regular controllers – ranging from sensitive gamepads to mouth-operated joysticks and eye trackers.

They explain their desire behind now creating the Player Panels:

“Every year we have countless calls for help from universities, game companies, and other organizations, asking us to provide the names and contact information of people with disabilities. Sometimes, it’s about testing games; other times it is about seeing if a new way of doing things helps make things more inclusive.

“We felt it was crucial to create a program that would protect players while enabling a database of accessibility testers to be created who WANT to be involved and contacted. We’re aiming to make the largest group of people who want to help shape the future of game accessibility ever created.”

They want the Panels to “connect disabled gamers and top organizations that share the mutual goal of making sure as many people as possible can game regardless of their disability.” And yes, Panel members will be compensated for their time.

This sounds splendid.

If you’re interested (and in the USA, I believe), head over here to sign up.

3 Comments

  1. aircool says:

    Great… if they manage to come up with decent colourblind options, that will be a good start.

    • aircool says:

      Well, I’m not in the USA but I applied anyway. I ticked 4 of the boxes, so who knows. They’re also not just looking for people with physical disabilities which is good to see.

      Just wish there was something similar in this country.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    Good initiative. Anything that makes games playable for more people is a good thing. Naughty Dog did a really good job on Uncharted 4 (link to polygon.com) adding options simplifying some interactions.

    Personally as someone who is constantly fighting to avoid Repetitive Strain Injuries because both my work and hobbies involve extensive use of computers, I was really happy they let you change button-hammering QTEs (which are the worst goddamn input idea of ALL TIME) to simply HOLDING the button, because when games overdo that shit to the point where it hurts my hand I actually end up having to re-position my grip on the gamepad to just mash that one stupid button with my pointer finger until it goes away and I can get back to the actual game. So being able to turn that garbage off is a welcome change. (though honestly it would be better if designers just stopped making button-hammering QTEs altogether)

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