Accessibility

Vellum

For my capstone project for the UW Master of Human-Computer Interaction and Design (MHCI+D) program, advised by Vulcan, my team found that employees who are Deaf and hard of hearing adapt to their hearing co-workers’ unconscious habits and expectations, which often goes unnoticed and unreciprocated. We designed an app to help facilitate these informal conversations by encouraging visual forms of communication and promoting inclusive habits.

Blind-Accessible Tower Defense Prototype

I developed this prototype to show how a tower defense game can be played using only sound. It portrays important gameplay information though a balance of iconic sounds and text-to-speech. It also has stereo panning, a soundtrack that does not muddle the mix, and keyboard-accessible controls that are easy to memorize.

Let’s Talk about Blind Accessibility

In this talk for the NYC Game Audio meetup in 2019, I speak about the history of screen readers and respond to the audience’s interesting perspectives (a short version is here). Since this talk, I have had formal training in research and design, and though I would do things differently (i.e. keeping one or two thoughts per slide), the message is the same: accessibility makes technology better for everyone–and if we have blind-accessible solutions for books, film and websites, then why not games?

Interacting with Sound: Creating Accessible, Engaging Gameplay

This presentation for the Montreal International Gaming Summit (MIGS) in 2018 focuses on the current state of blind accessibility. I speak about developing personas, which I know are now unfashionable, but I think they help us express stories from interview participants while protecting their identities. I also continue to break down the role of information in game audio.

Game Audio: Beyond Aesthetics

This talk for GameSoundCon 2017 was unfortunately not recorded, but it began my personal expedition into UX design, UI heuristics, semiotics, and memory. I explored how sound design can value gameplay information as much as aesthetics to support blind accessibility and help all players learn more efficiently. Now, years later, it is wonderful to see how The Last of Us Part II has masterfully implemented these goals.

Breaking the Sound Barrier: How Game Audio Can Improve Accessibility

For my first talk at GAconf 2017, I introduce the communities that benefit from blind accessibility and sound design and game mechanics that can inspire us for developing new techniques in accessibility.

GAconf celebrates GAAD

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020, the Game Accessibility Conference leadership team invited past GAconf speakers to answer one question: “What does accessibility mean to you?”

A Hero’s Call

A Hero’s Call is an audio-only role-playing game by Out of Sight Games, founded by blind developers Joseph Bein and Ian Reed and sighted sound designer Drew Becker. I supported their team as a dialogue editor for 40 of the game’s characters to create a consistent audio experience. You can read more about the game’s development in my interview with Drew Becker and Polygamer’s interview with Joseph Bein.

Frequency Missing

Frequency Missing is a point-and-click adventure game for Android and iOS by Per Anders Östblad and Henrik Engström from The University of Skövde. This game has no accessibility options, rather it appeals to blind and sighted players alike with in-world audio description and cues. For the English translation, I edited and helped localize the dialogue and connected the team with producer Michael Schwalbe. You can learn more about the game in my interview with Per Anders and his presentation at GDC.

A child plays Frequency Missing on a tablet

Blind Accessibility—Step One: Get to know your players

I wrote this piece for the Audiokinetic Blog to inform game audio designers about blind game accessibility consultants they should know and the new updates to the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), which created an enacted a new role for text-to-speech in games.

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Why Now is the Time to Create Accessible Video Games

Tanya Chopp from Voices.com interviewed me about how sound design can help make games more blind accessible.

“Now is the time to open the door for those of all abilities to experience and enjoy gaming.”

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The Next Wave of Games Don’t Need Screens

Joseph Knoop from Vice Waypoint interviewed Earplay, a past client of mine, about audio-only games and asked me to share my thoughts about blind accessibility in games.

“Rather than … bringing in more blind gamers, I see it as bringing in more sighted players to blind-accessible games.”

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Audio Games with Ian Hamilton and Adriane Kuzminski

Joe Steinkamp of the Blind Bargains Podcast spoke to me and Ian Hamilton about the state of blind-accessible video games during CSUN 2016.

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Interview with Adriane Kuzminski

Michael Prince of Blogcritics interviewed me about my presentation and passion for blind accessibility for a podcast episode during MIGS 2018. He also wrote a delightful piece about my path into accessibility and how far the industry has come.