As part of our Disability History Month celebrations, we are hosting a competition for students to help us design an accessible games console controller.
From Thursday 16 November until Tuesday 12 December, we want students to come up with a concept of a games console controller designed to make digital systems more accessible to individuals with disabilities. The designs will then be judged by a select panel, who will decide on the most innovative design.
To enter the competition, all you need to do is design or draw a blueprint of your idea, with a short statement explaining your ideas behind the design and how it works to be more accessible to individuals with disabilities. To submit your design of an accessibility games console controller, please submit the concept/blueprint by filling in the form.
What is an accessibility controller?
Accessibility controllers typically offer customisable input options and are designed to accommodate a variety of needs. They may include features such as larger buttons, programmable inputs, adaptive controls, and compatibility with other assistive devices. The goal is to provide a more inclusive and adaptable gaming or computing experience for individuals with diverse abilities.
Companies and developers in the gaming industry have been increasingly recognising the importance of accessibility, and some gaming consoles and platforms now offer built-in accessibility features. Additionally, third-party manufacturers and organisations are creating specialised controllers to enhance accessibility for a wider range of users. These efforts contribute to making digital experiences more inclusive and enjoyable for everyone.
Rules and guidelines for designing an accessibility controller:
Designing an accessibility controller involves considering the diverse needs of users with disabilities and creating a device that accommodates those needs. Here are some general rules and guidelines to consider when designing an accessibility controller:
- Provide a high degree of customisation to cater to individual needs. Users should be able to adapt the controller to their specific requirements.
- Include a variety of input options, such as buttons, switches, touchpads, and joysticks, to accommodate different types of disabilities. Make these inputs programmable to allow users to map functions based on their preferences.
- Design the controller for comfort and ease of use. Consider the physical capabilities and limitations of users, ensuring that the device is ergonomic and reduces strain during extended use.
Accessibility Symbols and Labels:
- Use clear and universally understood symbols and labels for buttons and controls. Ensure that users with various cognitive abilities can easily understand and use the controller.
- Ensure compatibility with a wide range of gaming platforms and devices to maximize accessibility. This may involve providing adapters or compatibility with popular assistive technologies.
- Build the controller with durability in mind, considering the wear and tear it may experience, especially for users with motor disabilities who might interact with the controller more forcefully.
- Strive to make the accessibility controller affordable to a wide range of users. This ensures that more people can access the technology they need to enjoy digital experiences.
- By following these rules and guidelines, designers can create accessibility controllers that are effective, user-friendly, and inclusive for individuals with disabilities.
Examples of Accessibility Controllers:
Several examples of accessibility controllers exist, and these devices aim to make gaming and computing more inclusive for individuals with diverse needs. Here are a few examples:
Xbox Adaptive Controller:
- Developed by Microsoft, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is a notable example. It features large programmable buttons and 19 jacks that can be connected to a variety of switches, buttons, and other input devices to accommodate different accessibility needs.
Logitech G Adaptive Gaming Kit:
- This kit is designed to work with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and includes a set of buttons and triggers that can be configured and placed to suit individual preferences. Logitech has created it in collaboration with Sony.
- The Quadstick is a mouth-operated game controller designed for individuals with limited mobility. It can be controlled using sips and puffs, and it provides a versatile input method for various gaming platforms.
- These examples showcase the variety of approaches taken to create controllers that cater to different accessibility needs. As technology continues to advance, it's likely that more innovative and inclusive solutions will be developed to make gaming and technology accessible to an even broader audience.