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Unified Design of Universally Accessible Games (Say What?)

December 7, 2006 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 6 Next
 

Step Three: Appropriateness Analysis for the Design Alternatives

A matrix is constructed correlating the perceived appropriateness of each selected design alternative for every user attribute. The rows of the matrix represent distinct user attributes while its columns show game design alternatives. Each cell, depending on the suitability of the particular design for the specific user attribute, is filled with one of the symbols depicted in Table 1.

The alternative interactive designs appropriateness matrix can be filled in by reviewing related literature, using previous know-how in the field, as well as by questioning domain experts and representatives of the target user groups.

Symbol

Meaning

(ideal)

Explicitly designed for this user attribute.

(appropriate)

Suitable, but possibly not the best choice.

(could be used)

If nothing else is available, it can be used, though not recommended.

(inappropriate)

Totally inappropriate, will result in posing an accessibility barrier.

(neutral)

Does not have any effect on the particular user attribute.

Table 1 : Alternative interactive designs appropriateness symbols

A basic design goal of UA-Games is that for every abstract task, there is at least one “ideal” or “appropriate” input and output design alternative for each user attribute and target user profile. A user profile is a collection of user attributes (e.g., novice, sighted, hand-motor impaired gamer). The appropriateness of a design alternative for a specific user profile can be inferred by merging the corresponding rows of the matrix that contain attributes of this profile, as follows:



Figure 4 : Example of appropriateness matrix for the design alternatives

If the design alternative is inappropriate ()for any of the user attributes, then it is deemed as inappropriate for the entire profile.

If the design alternative is neutral () for a specific user attribute, it means that it is not related to this attribute and thus it does not affect the design’s appropriateness for it.

In all the other cases (i.e., ideal, appropriate, could be used), the lowest appropriateness value supersedes all the others.

Thus, for example, Figure 5 illustrates the appropriateness matrix for the case of a low vision, novice player that can use just a single switch. As can be seen, this is a particularly difficult case, since the available solutions are very limited and not optimal. Nevertheless, it can still be ensured that the game is accessible in this case.



Figure 5 : Appropriateness matrix for a low vision, novice player that can use just a single switch

Step Four: Compatibility Analysis Among Design Alternatives

When alternative interactive designs have been identified, it is essential that cases where two or more alternatives are mutually incompatible are pinpointed, so that they can be avoided. To this purpose several related compatibility matrices need to be devised. A compatibility matrix has as rows and columns all the alternative interactive designs that can potentially be concurrently active at a particular point in time. If two designs are compatible then the corresponding cell is filled with a green tick (), else with a red X (). Figure 6 presents a compatibility matrix created for the alternative input designs of the example presented in Figure 4.


Figure 6 : Example of a compatibility matrix for the alternative input designs of Figure 3

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 6 Next

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