Evil Within 2

G.A.Y.A. - An Exhibitor’s Guide to Convention Accessibility

G.A.Y.A. - An Exhibitor’s Guide to Convention Accessibility

This is your timely reminder that not everyone who will approach your booth at a convention has two moveable arms; is of standard height; and can differentiate between red and green. Not everyone can hear (even with headphones) and not everyone can see.

This is your reminder to be prepared for that.

To be prepared to engage respectfully with people who are different from yourself. To be prepared to engage with consumers who can’t play your game. To be prepared to answer questions about accessibility and have hard conversations.

And yeah, I get it. Sometimes the person on the booth won’t have intimate knowledge of the access issue’s origin or the technical details for how to fix it. Sometimes there won’t be time or space for an in depth chat about what led to the design of something inaccessible.

It happens. Not everyone knows everything. There isn’t always enough time. You’re human.

But you need to do better for your disabled consumers.

You’re not being asked to be an expert on everything accessibility. You’re being asked to acknowledge the person in front of you isn’t able to play your game, for reasons beyond their control. You’re being asked to acknowledge their access concern and treat it with respect, rather than dismissing it as unimportant. You’re being asked to prepare to admit you hadn’t thought about it or haven’t been able to execute it for whatever reason.

Sometimes, that reason is ignorance. A lack of lived experience. Sometimes it’s ‘We didn’t know any disabled people who could test it’. Sometimes it’s ‘We didn’t think that was an issue’. Sometimes it’s ‘We didn’t know how to fix that.’ It’s okay to admit those things.

But you need to do better for your disabled consumers.

You’re not being asked to be an expert on everything accessibility. You’re being asked to give an explanation, a reason, a response to the person in front of you, about why they are unable to access your game. You’re being asked to listen to the consumers if they offer insight about what would allow them to better access your game. You’re being asked to respect their wishes if they decline to talk with you further about accessibility.

You’re being asked to remember that your booth might be the fourteenth inaccessible game that consumer has encountered that day. You’re being asked to remember the additional effort and energy it takes some consumers to navigate a world designed to exclude them. You’re being asked to do your part in making that easier in whichever way you inhabit a convention.

This doesn’t just go for booths at conventions when you’re seeing thousands of people a day. This goes for the other 360-odd days of the year, too. When you get emails, tweets, Steam reviews, and itch.io comments asking for better accessibility in your games.

This is your reminder to think about it, now, before the awkward conversation at a convention.

What will you do?

Image – Gamasutra

Evil Within 2