Developing Effective Research Methodologies for the Evaluation of Player Experiences of Gamers with Disabilities
Despite providing a source of entertainment to over 2 billion players worldwide (ESA, 2018), and evidence to suggest that video game play can contribute to general wellbeing (Jones et al, 2014), video games remain frequently inaccessible for players with disabilities. There is agrowing body of research focusing on how to make video games more accessible and we have seen some accessibility options integrated to popular titles, such as Assassins Creed (Ubisoft, 2018) and FIFA (EA, 2018), with many of these options frequently used by players with disabilities (Powers et al., 2018). However, the means with which game developers can evaluate the effectiveness of these accessibility options are less well documented. Typical iterative playtesting can be logistically challenging with players from this population. Although techniques such as remote testing have demonstrated some success when evaluating the user experience of non-games with people living with disability (Petrie et al., 2006), this type of research does not exist for games and there are no case studies which demonstrate how these methods may be applied with gamers with disabilities.
This presents several pertinent research questions:
a): What are the challenges that game developers face when attempting to evaluate the experiences of gamers with disabilities?
b): Which research methodologies can be applied to effectively measure the experiences of gamers with disability, and how can these methodologies be adapted to mediate the challenges that game developers face?
To provide answer these questions, the proposed research will be broken down into stages:
I): Extensive literature review of the on methodologies used to assess the experiences of video game player and non-game user experiences, and how these have been applied to the experiences of gamers with disabilities.
II): Qualitative interviews with the key members the industry will help to identify the methods they use to evaluate the experiences of video gamers with disabilities and the challenges they encounter.
III): Based on identified challenges and literature, several research case studies will be conducted in order to evaluate the effectiveness of various research methodologies.
These will likely include remote and local playtesting, as well as data collected through surveys and game analytics.
Beeston J., Power C., Cairns P., Barlet M. (2018) Accessible Player Experiences (APX): The
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Jones, C., Scholes, L., Johnson, D., Katsikitis, M. and Carras, M. (2014). Gaming well: links
between videogames and flourishing mental health. Frontiers in Psychology, 5.
Petrie, H., Hamilton, F., King, N. and Pavan, P., 2006, April. Remote usability evaluations with
disabled people. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human Factors in computing
systems (pp. 1133-1141). ACM.
Software Association, Entertainment. (2018). Essential Facts about the Computer and Video
Electronic Arts (2018). FIFA 2019, computer program, EA Vancouver.
Ubisoft Entertainment (2018). Assassins Creed Odyssey, computer program, Ubisoft Montreal.
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