Thursday, December 3rd, is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. To celebrate, and to bring awareness to gamers with disabilities, we’re selling all of our PDFs for 50% off from DriveThruRPG.
The theme for this year is Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.
“The right to participate in public life is essential to create stable democracies, active citizenship and reduce inequalities in society.”
It’s every individual’s responsibility to be inclusive of people from all walks of life. As gamers, we’ve been exposed to a lot of discussion about the rights of women and people of color–and to be sure, discussion of those rights is absolutely imperative–but we don’t often talk about the rights of people with disabilities. Too few games are designed to be accessible, and while there are a few companies such as Accessible Games trying to make a difference, the discussion has yet to break into mainstream public awareness.
One of the problems is that the tools and software used to create games, especially RPGs, don’t always make it easy to create accessible PDFs. The best products on the market are expensive, and the cheaper products don’t natively support many accessibility features. This makes it difficult for small press publishers on tight budgets to easily create accessible PDFs in a cost-efficient manner. There also seems to be a lack of publisher awareness of the tools and techniques needed to create accessible documents, meaning that even publishers with the means don’t necessarily have the knowledge they need to implement the techniques.
For board games, there are a lot of other complications. Not all unique or interesting game mechanics are suitable for all audiences and ability levels. There are, however, many techniques game designers and publishers can use to ensure maximum accessibility to as wide an audeince as is reasonable for the game–choosing when and how color is used to portray important game mechanics, limiting the use of small text, etc.
As a designer and layout artist, I’m available to consult on your projects if you have questions or need me to help improve the accessibility of your PDFs. Simply contact me for more information.
If you’re a gamer and see something that could be improved with a publisher’s products, I would encourage you to reach out to them by e-mail or social media to initiate the conversation. Most publishers aren’t even aware there are accessibility issues with their products, so it’s up to their fans to help raise that awareness.
If you’d like to support Accessible Games in our mission to ensure there are games out there for absolutely everyone, please consider taking advantage of our sale. This one-day-only event is happening today, December 3rd, 2015.
Even if you missed the sale event, you can still find our great games at DriveThruRPG.