Accessibility

The Rules of Rules of Play! Or how Kahoot! terms and conditions may apply to your interactive product

As a post-grad student and an avid digital media professional, my main goal for this year is to build the alpha version of my gamified presentation building tool: Dis+Play.

Among the many similar digital products that I found on my competitive analysis , Kahoot! one of the most inspiring titles that I came across.

This norse educational quiz builder is equipped with a fun and colorful interface and a great sense of purpose that led it to invade schools all over the world to make classrooms a fun environment. However, a deeper reading into the terms and conditions, privacy policy and inclusion & accessibility policy of Kahoot have really revealed interesting details about how this company runs their product.

 

Terms and conditions & Privacy policy

Aside from the default terms such as keeping security and privacy as a user’s responsibility and making it clear that accounts and service may be terminated by any reason, Kahoot! has a whole section dedicated to how their rules and tracking apply to children under 13.

They say that only emails and usernames are tracked for children and only with the means of recovering passwords. This kind of concern is very noble and also essential when you are dealing with something like privacy for kids. To establish what accounts should not be tracked they have an special kind of account made only for students under thirteen.

 

Inclusion & Accessibility policy

 

“We believe that learning should include everyone.

We believe in removing barriers to education.

We believe that diversity is an asset that enables us to learn from 

each other, and should therefore be positively encouraged.”

 

Here the company states how their services are made to be as accessible as possible to any and every user. The passage above gives a fantastic insight of how Kahoot designed their tool with a high focus design thinking and empathy for their users.

This is also shown on their objective of keeping up with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)  (http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/). Kahoot tries to keep their product percievable, operable and understandable to all of its users.

 

Conclusion

Reading the legal terms behind a company really opens up space for great insights. Hidden behind every rule there is major concerns with both the users and company. I had no idea of the importance of how data tracking for children was such a sensible matter, Dis+Play may will also have children as a great portion of our users and having this in mind from the start can change the whole shape of our analytics plan.

I was aware of the importance of WCAG, but the way Kahoot paired it with the speech about breaking barries for education also inspired my product to follow these guidelines as strictly as possible. Empowering the users despite disabilities, status and other characteristics is essential and should always be one of the main pillars of a well-thought product, specially when the subject is education.

 

Darkvision: Where are the games for blind and visually impaired players?

bateye

Life is not like a RPG where you carefully build a character choosing each attribute, talent and skill, you never know when or how you are going to get a permanent disadvantage. The truth is that there are more than 280 million visually impaired humans living around the globe, and as any living being, they like to play.

Developing for this user base has always been a challenge, as the game designer Eitan Glinert states in his great article about the matter “Designing Games That Are Accessible To Everyone

“ […] games for the blind shouldn’t mean games for only the blind.

Games for only the blind is a terrible model that most blind people themselves hate[…]”

Of course!

Making a game exclusive for the these players is the absolute opposite of making accessible games. In Glinert’s philosophy, games should be make with accessibility in mind to get the best experience even for disabled users. Nevertheless there are always the stray sheep like the blind youtube user MegaTgarrett who got until the end of Zelda: Ocarina of Time only by using audio cues, patience and tons and tons of save states.

A blind man cleared water temple, what’s your excuse?

If you watched the video above you can see how the last part of the game was a chore to complete, but at the same time, the way the audio cues of Link’s steps and Zelda’s shouts make this section of Ocarina of Time possible to complete.

But what we are after in here aren’t games that these users have to struggle to complete, on the contrary, they must be fun and playable for all fans of videogames.Where are them? Do they exist?

Fear not! I’ve compiled a list of three games with excellent ratings, scroll down for the delicous loot!

lootLoot Time!

blindlegend

A Blind Legend

A Blind Legend is an action/adventure game released in April of 2016 that relies only on audio inputs and awesome voice acting. The game costs only C$ 7,78 and his reviews are very good, it is worth checking out. The game is available for android, iOS and PCs.

audiorun

Audiorun

Audiorun is an action game for iphones by game developer Alexander Shen, it uses heartbeats and crisp sound design to give the player the sensation of being jumping from rooftops and obstacles while the protagonist is running.

king-of-dragon-pass

King of Dragon Pass

King of Dragon Pass was launched in July of 2015 and is fully accessible for visual impaired users at the same time it is beauty to behold. The art is amazing and the game is praised for its charming customizable narrative. The RPG/adventure game is available for iOS and Android devices, as well as on Steam and it is a must for all the fans of the genre no matter their status.


You can see(or listen) that these are just a glimpse of the huge existing market of games adapted to this public and they are still engaging and fun experiences that anyone can enjoy. There are many other games accessible at audiogames.net (with at least 500 on their archive at moment this post is being written).

This is the golden age for visual impaired gamers all over the world. As the videogame industry matures and development tools become more and more accessible (even for blind developers!) we will start to see more mods adapting gameplay for all kinds of gamers, just as it happened to Minecraft that turned a mod into an official version for the visually impaired. There will always be issues with making multiplayer versus games symmetrical for all users at the same time, but this is just a sidequest in the path of a, until now, very successful main quest.

Until the next quest, adventurers!