Make Products Accessible by Design from Day 1

Product Inclusion Action - Make Products Accessible by Design from Day 1

Identify the needs of players with disabilities early in development and solve for them throughout your experience to benefit all players.

Customer Challenge

Many gamers with disabilities have difficulty using our products even if they meet minimum compliance standards because features aren't always customizable. Compliance doesn't always equate to a fun experience for everyone. Going beyond compliance to create usable and delighter experiences empowers everyone to play and create while also indirectly benefiting many additional consumers. ​​​​​​​

Business Impact

  • The World Health Organization estimates that there are more than a billion people with disabilities across the world (roughly 15% of the population of 8 billion). 
  • ​​​​​​​When we think about 3.2 billion gamers in the world, it is estimated that there are over 650 million gamers with a disability and over 40 million gamers with a disability that impacts their gaming experience. That's a huge population!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
  • 25-30% of Xbox Gamers identify as having a disability.
  • 10% of Xbox Gamers report that they have a disability that impacts their gaming experience.
  • ​​​​​​​We also know that accessibility features are not only used by people with disabilities. Features like subtitles, gameplay difficulty, and input settings are often used by gamers without disabilities.

References: Xbox Accessibility Survey: Gaming Habits & Preferences, Xbox Research Synthesis 2020

Graphic showing that ~20% of players across the globe are players with disabilities.

Source: 2022 State of Accessibility in Gaming​

Questions to Consider

  • Is your team aware of what you need to do to achieve accessibility compliance, and have you discussed what you could do beyond compliance that will really delight customers and open doors of play and creation?
  • Does your product convey critical information using multiple senses for players using visual cues, audio cues, and physical sensory cues for oncoming attacks? Can players control or configure this to best meet their needs?
  • Does your experience gate access to a feature behind fine motor skills that might not be attainable to gamers with disabilities?
  • Are you proactively considering how to delight players with subtitles and screen reader customization?
  • Are you getting feedback from gamers with disabilities throughout development? 
  • Are you including gamers with disabilities in your community and influencer outreach?
  • Are you openly informing customers about accessibility features, both within product and in marketing? If you are shipping a game, have you leveraged the Accessible Feature Tags?

Steps to Achieve It

1.  Set Goals for what you want to achieve & share them with your project stakeholders

  • Do planning at the start of projects to identify opportunities & obstacles. 
  • Go through the 10 Product Inclusion actions to bring intentionality into your designs. 
  • Put accessibility goals in place for all events (Physical, Virtual or Hybrid). Leverage the Xbox Playbook for Accessible Gaming Events

2.  Identify & Utilize resources to help drive success

3.  If making a game:

  • Engage players with disabilities to Co-create your experience.
  • Consider hosting an accessibility design workshop early on to help bring accessibility planning to life early on in your process. 
  • Do research to get an understanding of the different types of disabilities that can exist and review the Accessibility Guidelines to plan how to incorporate accessibility into your game. 
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Leverage Inclusive Listening Systems to include feedback from players with disabilities throughout development.   
  • Ensure that upon release your game is tagged with the  Accessibility Feature Tags in the Xbox store so that players can search and find your product in the store! 

4.  Share accessibility features in product and marketing

  • ​​​​​​​Surface accessibility features within your product experience so that users are aware of the features and options available. 
  • Share your accessibility features & plans with your marketing & PR teams so that they are a part of your teams storytelling​​​​​​.