The Xbox Research Accessibility team releases the Game Accessibility Workshop Toolkit

The toolkit includes instructions and visual assets for developers to conduct Game Accessibility Workshops, making it easier to design with accessibility in mind from the start.

May 16, 2024
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At Xbox, our mission is to bring the joy of gaming to everyone. That includes the 450 million gamers with disabilities worldwide. The Xbox Research Accessibility Team is part of that effort, working with studios to help them create more accessible products. In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we are excited to announce the public release of the Game Accessibility Workshop Toolkit.  

Game Accessibility Workshops are the cornerstone of Xbox’s approach to accessibility. From features such as Turn 10’s blind driving assist in Forza Motorsport, to Rare’s audio aim assist in Sea of Thieves, to Playground Games’ picture-in-picture ASL in Forza Horizon 5, Xbox Game Studios have demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach year after year. At Xbox, studios that have participated in accessibility workshops are more likely to achieve higher levels of success in accessible design, increasing the number of accessibility features built into their games and being recognized for their accessibility advancements by the gaming and disability community.

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And you don't have to take our word for it! Here is what Xbox developers have to say about their experiences participating in these workshops:

“Hearing how the advisor navigates game worlds with limited vision was fascinating as a level designer and got me thinking how we can communicate navigation when we can't rely on visual cues.”

“It [workshop] just changed our minds about what accessibility really is about and who it's for. We got to see people who, for many different reasons, were not able to really enjoy our game and it gave us so much more empathy for the fact that accessibility is really for our users.”

“Each of the interviewees explain their own difficulties and experiences. It gives a tangible aspect of their disabilities and of the accessible tools that will help them better in the game experiences.”

By providing guidance on the "who, when, and where" of the workshop, a detailed instructional walkthrough of the core workshop activities, as well as visual assets you can use for those activities, we aim to provide all game developers with a tool to help them bring accessibility and inclusive design practices to their studio. The core workshop activities include an interview preparation guide, an insights synthesis exercise, accessibility goal discussion questions, and a design ideation exercise for attendees to practice applying accessible design insights directly to game design.

Whether your team is just getting started on their accessibility journey or you’re looking for a way to level up your team’s accessibility goals, try out our toolkit and let us know what you think. We welcome feedback from game developers trying out the toolkit to help us continue to improve this resource over time. In addition, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask questions. We’re here to help you get started.

Create your own accessibility workshop by downloading the toolkit today!

As you get started with the toolkit, keep in mind that it is meant to be a tool that developers can leverage to build workshops or activities that work for them. We recognize that, like players, each studio is different and will be starting from a different place and have different needs. The toolkit is not intended to be a statement on how game accessibility should be approached. Instead, the goal is to provide scaffolding from which others can build, extend, modify, or remove as needed. The toolkit was created with this flexibility in mind. 

If you’d like to learn more about the kinds of insights that studios get from these workshops, check out this presentation at the European Game Accessibility conference.