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Building a world of accessible gaming.
For this design initiative, I aimed to create something that I was truly passionate about, that topic being optimizing video games for the visually challenged. My hope was to create an all-inclusive UI editor for gamers of all backgrounds to use to create fully accessible gaming experiences. Introducing NewGen, a PC plugin that can be used to customize video game settings to meet the needs and preferences of players with visual or cognitive limitations. In addition to the settings feature, this application also functions as a development guide. Users may choose to use NewGen either as a UI editor or an educative tool depending on their use case and they may create an account either as a player or a game developer.
Interested in how this project came to life? Keep scrolling 🚀
A little bit on how this idea came to fruition. NewGen was a product inspired by my personal passion for gaming. I was first introduced to the world of gaming back in October of 2019. It has been a way for me to alleviate stress from worldly things and build connections with new & old peers online. It was an enjoyment that I truly valued in my day-to-day life, but was this enjoyment accessible to everyone? That was when I began to question the idea of accessible gaming and to my dismay, discovered that accessibility was still a very new concept in the market of video games. As a result, I made it a challenge for myself on how I could contribute my skills as a designer to bring forth a viable solution to this issue.
A question to consider...
This was the fun part! Exploring the potential of my idea. Although every design process can differ, no other process would have matched this.
By combining the primary and secondary research, I was able to identify key features that mainstream games significantly lack in. The first feature is navigational dialogue. In-game activities such as crafting, purchasing and identifying inventory MUST be paired with assistive narration. Without it, gamers with visual challenges would then have to rely on their own intuition to figure out how to progress in the game. Next is the navigation of the menu. Whereas not all game menus are terrible, the addition of descriptions for what the function of the menu option is can prove to be quite helpful, and makes the game more user-friendly. Lastly is the abundance of high color contrasts found in games, typically in dark to light areas. Gamers with light sensitivity would suffer from this especially if there is no option in the settings to adjust the brightness and color contrasts to suit their needs. That is why colour and brightness customization is a MUST HAVE in game settings.
Define & Discover
Define & Discover
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The designs are finally done! After countless rounds of critique and modifications, the application is finally optimized to its fullest potential. NewGen is now comprised with a comprehensive list of features that offers a vast range of settings and development recommendations. To see what this application offers, take a look through the feature highlights below:
Set up your account preferences using our fun onboarding flow.
Sign up for an account by first identifying yourself as either a gamer or a developer! You may also select from a list of game genres and disabilities to personalize your default settings.
Customize the game interface to match your preferences.
With the wide range of accessibility settings offered by the NewGen plugin, players can edit and improve inaccessible elements to better the gameplay experience.
See real-time edits using the In-Game Preview feature.
Easily preview the changes and modifications that you have applied to your selected game.
Save setting presets to quickly access the game.
Set up and save your menu presets in 2 simple steps to load into your game faster the next time you activate the plugin.
Check out the Development guide for the implementation of the features.
If you are a game designer or developer, then the development guide is just for you! Hit the toggle on the bottom left to see coding recommendations and regulations for accessible gameplay.
Here's the prototype link in case you missed it at the top :)
Looking back 🤔
Although the main focus of this project was on accessibility, I was still fairly new to the concept and all that was involved with it. As a result, some design decisions were made poorly and failed to meet accessibility standards. These features are now labeled as the top priority in case the project is ever revisited again in the future. Some accessibility concerns include having proper contrast when introducing text on images, having proper animation timing, and revising the sitemap skeleton to ensure a seamless user experience on the application. Another consideration that I had while reflecting on this project was that it may not be entirely viable. As I am not a game developer myself, I am unaware of the physical and logical limitations of handling an application of this scale. Having the ability to completely alter the interface of a video game may be too ambitious of an idea and would need to be re-evaluated if I ever hope to launch this product.
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