Monday, November 07, 2016

More on Accessibility and VR.

If you haven't read the previous post about accessibility and VR you might want to check out that post  and follow the link there to a detailed discussion of accessibility and VR on another blog.  These two posts (and their links) provide a great deal of information about accessibility issues and VR.

VR is one of the current hot technology topics in education, and it's starting to be used in business training too.

The video: Accessibility and VR: Accessibility Basics and How They Relate to VR  by Brian Van Buren is at the end of this post.

This is worth the time (The video runs 43:31) if you have any interest in accessibility in gaming and especially VR (and AR/MR).   Brian is talking to an audience that I assume is predominantly VR designers, so some of the talk is technical, but most of it is to help the designers understand accessibility issues.

I found it helpful because it expanded my thinking about accessibility into the gaming environment which is starting to show in K-12 and higher education. Brian makes the connection to ADA and Section 508.  He points out that Section 508 is for government purchase of technology and so anyone hoping to sell VR products to governments needs to make the product accessible.  He points out that while Section 508 is a US law other countries have similar legislation.  What he doesn't reference is VR as starting to move into academic settings and the need to meet both ADA and Section 504.

Brian cites an  projection that by 2024 VR will be a $120 billion industry, and he indicates that may be optimistic, but still...

My favorite line  comes at the end, in Brian's final final thoughts where he says -- and it's on the slide:
"Thinking about accessibility makes you a better designer: designing for accessibility creates a better product" 


Laura M. said...

Thanks for this, Ray. I would love to talk more about this sometime!

Hazel Owen said...

Love that final comment from the video (which I am just about off to watch / listen to as I make my dinner).

I recently came across this resource from the University of Melbourne that considers seven aspects of virtual reality and accessibility + an overview. For each of the seven aspects the creators of the resource have briefly identified 7 basic pros and cons. Having read that comment one of my musings is, even if developers only focused on the factors identified, I could see how this would make the VR experience way better for everyone - while also opening up a raft of possibilities ... if, as you say Ray, the momentum continues and doesn't go the way of Second Life. Mark Bartlet from The AbleGamers Foundation’s, feels that "the hype is a good thing", who goes on to say "“I can’t say what it will do for my community. I am not 100% sold on what the tech will do for gaming, much less the disabled community,” Barlet said. “We are going to see one or two rounds of games, everyone will take advantage of it and then the market is going to speak and then we will decide if we like virtual reality or not … it has been in the hands of so few people, that we don’t know what the truth is yet” (source: