Gaming With People Who Have Disabilities

Introduction

Summer convention season is upon us, and that means thousands of gamers worldwide will be sitting down to play games with people outside of their own gaming groups. The likelihood that you will encounter a gamer with a disability during your convention games is higher than ever, so it’s important to understand how to interact with people who may do things a little different.

You may recall reading that at Gamestorm 15 (earlier this year) I encountered at least one other blind person at the convention, and it’s just a small local con. Several years ago, I sat down to play D&D with two other blind people at the same time. If you’re heading to a convention with thousands of gamers, chances are good you’ll encounter this too.

So what can you do to be conscientious of gamers … Continue reading

How to Bookmark and Tag a PDF Using Adobe Creative Suite

This entry is part 1 of 17 in the seriesTutorials

This entry is part 1 of 17 in the series Tutorials

Introduction

PDF bookmarks are great. They can serve both as a table of contents and a quick navigation tool for all users. Tablet and desktop users alike appreciate the ability to jump to specific sections of a book without having to navigate back to the Table of Contents, look up a page number, and then search for that page number. Best of all, they’re not very difficult to add to your documents.

In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through creating bookmarks using Adobe Creative Suite, which includes InDesign and Acrobat Pro. For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using CS6, or version 6 of the creative suite, but many of these features have been around since earlier versions.

As an added bonus, you’ll also learn how to create tagged PDFs which tell screen reader software … Continue reading

Why Fudge is a Great Accessible RPG Pt. 3

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the seriesFudge RPG Accessibility Spotlight

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Fudge RPG Accessibility Spotlight

Introduction

In part 2 of this series I talked about Fudge for Kids and Fudge for the blind. This week we’ll talk a bit about what makes Fudge a great game for people with dyslexia and similar learning disabilities. I didn’t have any additional input from the community, so please let me know about your own thoughts or experiences so we can make this column even better.

As a disclaimer, I am not an expert in the following field. I do, however, have close relationships with people who have dyslexia and other cognitive impairments.

What is Dyslexia?

Developmental reading disorder, also called dyslexia, is a reading disability that occurs when the brain … Continue reading

Why Fudge is a Great Accessible RPG Pt. 2

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the seriesFudge RPG Accessibility Spotlight

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Fudge RPG Accessibility Spotlight

Introduction

Last week I began a discussion about what makes Fudge such a great accessible RPG. I gave a brief overview of Fudge and talked a little about how it’s great for teaching children how to play RPGs (or just to help them learn valuable lessons, like how cool dinosaurs are).

I’d like to continue that discussion with a few more topics. I’ll begin with a few more examples of Fudge for kids — this time from the perspective of others who’ve had experience with that topic — and finish up with a few examples of how Fudge is great for people with visual impairments.

Fudge for Kids

Fudge for Kids doesn’t extend just to dinosaurs … Continue reading

Why Fudge is A Great Accessible RPG

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the seriesFudge RPG Accessibility Spotlight

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Fudge RPG Accessibility Spotlight

Introduction

Fudge, the Free-form Universal Do-it-Yourself Gaming Engine, probably wasn’t designed specifically with accessibility in mind but it possesses a lot of qualities that make it one of the best RPGs in regards to ease of access. It is simple yet powerful, infinitely adaptable, easy to learn and play, and its unique Fudge Dice are nicely tactile. I’d like to spotlight it for a moment and talk about why Fudge is a Great accessible RPG.

There is a lot to say about Fudge, so I’m going to break this down into a few articles over the next couple of days or weeks.

What is Fudge?

About Fudge: Fudge is a roleplaying game written by Steffan O’Sullivan, with extensive input from the Usenet community … Continue reading

More on Bookmarking and Accessible PDF Design

Someone on Google+ shared an article about bookmarking PDFs that detailed poor, adequate, and good examples of the practice. I found it interesting and appropriate to the topic of designing PDFs with accessibility in mind (read my previous post about that topic).

It’s important to point out, to publishers especially, that the very act of creating well-bookmarked PDFs puts you several steps in the right direction toward creating accessible PDFs, since many of the processes overlap. In some cases, you don’t have to go out of your way to support accessibility and screen readers, you just need to focus on doing what the average customer wants anyway.

You can read the original article here.

Finally, I wanted to share one last link. I came across this post the other day that offers up “ Continue reading

“Game Grids” Kickstarter Has Potential to Enable Gamers

Game Grids, if this project gets off the ground, is not only going to be something useful for many board game players, but *unbelievably* useful for disabled gamers.

The short of it is that these grids offer a place to put tile pieces so they don’t shift around during play.  This is *huge* for any low-vision or motor-impaired gamer who has trouble dealing with small tiles. With something like Game Grids, Alhambra (read our review) becomes less of a chore and more of a game again. Carcassonne becomes much less daunting.

This Kickstarter project is in need of a lot of help and doesn’t have a lot of time left. It’s billed as a useful way to keep organized when playing tile-based games, but it has the hidden benefit of being a great tool for disabled gamers — and that’s something we all should be able to get … Continue reading

‘Take On Rules’ – Helping Other Gamers

Jeremy Friesen of the “Take On Rules” blog recently posted a wonderful article entitled “Helping Other Gamers With Consideration for the Visually Impaired.” It is an excellent post in which he talks about his experience at GenCon and helping a visually impaired woman find a game to play that isn’t a hassle for someone with a disability to get into.

Some of the games he mentions in his post are:

It’s a wonderful story and a great read. I highly recommend heading on over and checking it out!

http://takeonrules.com/2012/10/07/helping-other-gamers-with-consideration-for-the-visually-impaired/#comment-1197

AXSMap.com – Find Accessible Businesses

About a year and a half ago, I told you about a new website called Wheelmap that aims to crowdsource knoledge of local businesses around the world and help people with disabilities find businesses that are accessible. (View the original article.)

It was a novel new service with big goals, and seems to be doing well. Who would have ever suspected, though, that a similar service would crop up? One that essentially competes with Wheelmap to do the same thing.

That new service is called AXS Map (pronounced”access map”). AXS Map is very similar to Wheelmap, but requires registration to use. It does, however, allow more detailed ratings about local businesses; users can rate the company’s front door access, floor access, bathroom access, and even note whether or not the building is quiet or has Braille available.

One of the other great features about … Continue reading

Accessibility in PDF Publishing

I am currently researching and writing an article (to be posted later) about accessibility in PDF publishing. In particular, I feel that game designers need to really consider how they launch their products in the digital age.

There are a lot of disabled gamers out there, and they deserve the same access to products that everyone else does. It takes a bit of additional effort for publishers, but it’s totally worth it.

To get you started, here is a link to a great resource about tagging PDFs for screen reader accessibility. It’s just one resource and one concern, but it’s the best I’ve encountered for this so far and it’s perhaps one of the biggest and most far-reaching things a publisher can do to make their products accessible.

WebAIM.org: PDF Accessibility

Hopefully that will get you started on your road to understanding the why’s and … Continue reading