Global Accessibility Awareness Day

May 19th’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day is an an annual event ‘to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital accessibility and users with different disabilities’. It runs across all industries, and this year saw a big increase in the game industry’s involvement. Taking part can mean any level of involvement, all the way from a #gaad tweet to a conversation at work, going mouse-less for a day, all the way through to organising awareness raising events.

I usually chip in with a talk or two. This year I had one on mobile accessibility at Nordic Game and one on 2015’s advances as part of ID24. I’ve also been keeping an eye out for game accessibility related tweets, articles and so on, and have listed the ones I’ve come across below. Seeing the big increase on last year (including companies like Microsoft, Sony, Naughty Dog, Turtle Rock and Harmonix getting involved), has really been quite something, it can only lead to good things.


First up The Paciello Group hosted three live streamed talks as part of their ID24 event –

In gaming – some things should be easy, some should be challenging, everything should be inclusive

Bryce Johnson, XBox

Uncharted 4: A New Adventure in Video Game Accessibility

Emilia Schatz and Alex Neonakis, Naughty Dog, and Kevin Chung, Sony

Changing Tides: 2015’s Games Industry Accessibility Advancements

Ian Hamilton

Sony also put out the Uncharted overview video separately, which has seen a huge amount of interest from players of all level of ability and some decent press coverage too, raising bucketloads of awareness, which is of course what the day is all about. At time of posting there are around 70k views, and quite incredibly for youtube, almost universally positive comments left on it.

And Tara Voelker of Turtle Rock put out a twitch stream about accessibility in Evolve, which is archived here:

#GAAD Tara talks about accessibility and Evolve

Articles & blog posts

Inclusive Gaming with XBox One

Barrie Ellis, OneSwitch

Uncharted 4 (PS4) accessibility

Barrie Ellis, OneSwitch

Possum ZX Spectrum

Barrie Ellis, OneSwitch

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Steven Spohn, AbleGamers

On Board Game Accessibility

Meeple Like Us

Making games accessible: thoughts and resources

Cloudy Heaven Games


And last but not least, a non-exhaustive collection of gamedev related tweets that went out under the #gaad hashtag

What does it all mean?

While all of this is great in itself, it’s a symptom of something larger. No matter which way you look at gaming, whether it is the doors finally being open on accessibility in consoles and engines, the level of implementation in games, the number of talks at CSUN and average attendance at GDC accessibility talks, attitudes amongst the gaming community… they all paint the same picture, which is that accessibility in gaming is on an exponential curve.

But it isn’t a given, we can’t be complacent. We have to keep that momentum going. GAAD is only one day of the year, we need to keep on with this for the 364 too, keep the conversation going, keep letting people know that this matters. The more people do that, the more lasting change we’ll see, and the more studios and gamers will be able to benefit from all that accessibility in games brings.

For somehighlights of the above vidoes, articles and tweets, see the next post on GAAD quotes.


Comments 1

  1. A great comprehensive post of all that happened during GAAD, great job Ian. This is not just a good post in regards of the awareness day, but an overall good summary of what is happening in accessibility. Thank you for the nice summary and your continued effort in spreading the message.




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