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CCOG for MM 279 Winter 2022

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Course Number:
MM 279
Course Title:
Accessibility and Equity in Digital Development
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Evaluates industry approaches and discusses assistive devices and design patterns that broaden accessibility. Implements accessibility for differently-abled users and legacy devices in the design process. Examines digital development outside of the USA throughout history and how language, cultural differences, and geography affect project success. Discusses prohibitive culture and content in digital development and the effects of media on societal health. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Apply existing explicit guidelines and legislation created by groups such as the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), the International Game Developers Association (IGDA), and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to projects.
  • Discuss how access to hardware may limit users’ abilities to participate in digital experiences, and identify alternative accessible methods.

  • Design sequences that allow users to adapt the experience to fit their abilities, and relate how these processes may affect a digital experience, meaning or success.

  • Explain cultural accessibility, exclusivity, and privacy considerations, and how to prevent negative impacts of released content.

Course Activities and Design

Course material will be presented in a lecture format. This course is  designed to maximize learning through the use of strategies such as outcome based instruction, collaborative learning, contextual application  and performance based assessment. Lecture material will consist of discussion, diagrams, multimedia, and other educationally sound practices. Other activities will include hands-on utilization of multimedia software. Demonstration and handout materials will be provided.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment is designed to indicate achievement of the course outcome and performance tasks. The instructor will outline the methods used to assess student progress and the criteria for assigning a grade at the beginning of the course. Assessment will be based upon a combination of in-class participation, attendance, examinations, and quality of the multimedia project(s). Determination of problem solving skills, team work, and communication skills may also be included.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Accessibility definitions from IGDA, International Game Developers Association:

·       Visual

·       Auditory

·       Mobility

·       Cognitive

·       Technology

Defining Accessibility

Discussion: What is accessibility, and how does it change a game? 

Introduction: IGDA, APX (Able Gamers Guide) 

 • Formalizing guidelines specific to games

 • Reviewing workflow process for inclusive games 

1.     Defining game experience goals

2.     Reviewing platform options

3.     Implementing design patterns

4.     Testing for differently-abled users (APX)

Introduction: CVAA (Communication and Video accessibility Act)

 • How are games assessed under these guidelines?

 • What types of experiences do these apply to?

WCAG; Connection/Device Accessibility

Introduction: WCAG

 • How has the web approached these problems?

   • A–AAA Tiers

   • Design patterns

Activity: Identifying “problem | solution” with different websites? 

  • mobile site with menu extending offscreen

  • low contrast color 

  • image tags for text-audio devices or slow connections

Overview: Adaptations

 • Visual Impairment

   • Dyslexic font [Overland]

   • Color blindness or device settings

   • Warnings for sensory sensitivity (epilepsy, autism)

• Blindness

   • Text tags [ClipTrack, ClipReader]

   • Binaural recording (spatial sound)

Discuss: Design patterns

 • Haptic feedback

 • Dialogue that provides context 

 • Character silhouettes

 • Sound design (foreshadowing and feedback)

 • Zooming

 • Windowed compatibility


Overview: Adaptations

 • Difficulty hearing, language barriers

   • Text tags [ClipTrack, ClipReader)

   • Subtitles (on-screen)

   • Warnings for sensory sensitivity (epilepsy, autism)

• Deafness

   • Haptic feedback
   • Signing


Overview: Hardware

 • Xbox adaptive controller

 • Remapping controls

 • Designing in VR (ergonomics) 

 • Eye tracking as a controller


Overview: Perception variances

 • Attention disorders

 • Emotional triggers

 • Autism

 • Sensory sensitivities

 • Memory issues

 • Game literacy


Overview: Exclusionary content

 • Addressing problematic elements

   • Exploiting sexuality, handicaps, and other trauma as narrative devices

   • Gamergate

   • Diversity

• Community moderation

   • Staffing and planning (risk management)

   • Filters

   • Selective streamer/publicity channels (press kits)

  • Audience agency (see: Other Side of Braid)

Design Patterns for the Future

Overview: VR/AR Ergonomics

Discussion: What is coming down the line? 

 • Broader global reach - niche forming

 • Alternative controls for games (alt.ctrl.gdc)

 • Current state of WebXR [Voices of VR Links]

 • Future of digital security