Accessing Potential Through Assistive Technology
Gifting Guide Day 23: Accessibility in Video Games

For many years the answer to accessibility in the video game world revolved around providing controller access for players with varying abilities. This often meant several days 3D printing, soldering, fiddling with interfaces, and general frustration. The industry turned upside down with Microsoft’s introduction of the Adaptive Controller. Gamers could finally interact with just about any game in a plug-and-play manner. If you had buttons and/or a joystick positioned in a comfortable position, the Adaptive controller could accept the input and allow you to be transported into the endless worlds of gaming…

…As long as you could actually play the game. While many individuals could now manipulate controls, game developers were still treating accessibility features on the software side as an afterthought. Hopefully gamers wouldn’t need subtitles in large, easy to read font to catch important lore information. In a similar vein, why would they need to adjust the UI settings? It’s not like you would ever be playing on something other than a large TV or monitor or at a distance farther than a few feet away. Gamers are also known for their love of mountain dew resulting in quick reaction times and the ability to play for hours at a time. No need for aim assist or reasonably spaced save points. Thankfully this mindset is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

In the past year alone, we have gotten games with the ability to not only have subtitles but fully customize their font, color, background opacity, and more. Similar features exist to customize menu buttons. Need help visualizing who the bad guys are? One developer introduced a filter that would highlight them with a high-contrast color of your choice, the same for the good guys and scenery. Remember when you had to choose between easy, normal, and hard? Some developers now let you customize specific elements down to how fast animations play, characters move, damage is dealt, and a variety of other options. Motion control required for solving puzzles or performing tricky actions? Many games now allow you to turn the feature off or make it button controlled. Speaking of which, custom button/keyboard mapping has entered a new galaxy. Gone are the days of having to twist your fingers or use your third hand to be able to pull off various moves. Want to have one input act as a sequence of presses, there’s a game that will allow it. Don’t want to fiddle between holding, tapping, and pressing a button which would result in different results, you can probably reconfigure it.

While not all games and developers can accommodate all the mentioned features, or the hundreds not covered in this post, it is quickly becoming the case where accessibility is the standard. Game designers are producing games built around accessibility features rather than tacking them on at the end. The video game world is embracing that gamers come in all forms and living up to Microsoft’s mantra, Gaming for Everyone. Post inspired by Game Maker’s Toolkit, please watch their video on the subject.

Find out more:

Gifting Guide Day 18: Mobile Device Accessories

Many people with and without disabilities rely on their mobility devices nearly 24/7. For some it can be life line, for many with disabilities it’s an outlet to the world. That’s why it’s important to keep the device powered and within reach. Let’s look at a few ideas of how we can achieve that!

power bank with solar panel

Power Bank

  • A power bank is an external charging device that can charge or power a mobile device when a wall outlet isn’t available. This is a great gift for someone who needs access to their device for multiple hours a day and/or isn’t able to be near a wall outlet or physically can’t plug their phone in to charge.
  • These little devices can range in features from high to low charge capacity, charging time, solar power, or input and output ports.
  • PRO TIP: Be sure you find a power bank that works with your device type and that will recharge your device multiple times before it needs to be recharged.

Find several varieties at Amazon or Best Buy.

Before and after image of a cord protector. this cord protector is a pink owl

Extra Cords and Charging Blocks

  • Keep spare cords and charging blocks in your travel bag, on your mobility device, or in your car. You never know when you might need one or when yours will go out. Extra cords and charging blocks are a great gift for someone who uses their devices regularly. Just be sure to note what type of cord is compatible with their device! Also consider what length cord they may need
  • I don’t recommend picking up cords from the local dollar store or at the counter of a gas station. These might be suitable short term but they won’t last long…
  • PRO TIP: If you’re gifting cords to someone who is susceptible to damaging their cords look for cords with a protective cover or purchase a cord protector. An example is pictured. Not only can cord protectors help to make sure the joint of the cable doesn’t get bent and frayed, a protector like the one pictured can provide better grip to plugging in the charger.

Find several varieties at Amazon or Best Buy.

collage of the Mount It mount on a table and attached to a wheelchair

Phone Mount

  • Mounting the phone or tablet can make a world of difference in accessing one’s device. Especially with all the new features of mouse emulation, head tracking, switch access, etc it’s important to make sure the device is mounted so the user can adequately see the screen.
  • Mounting the device to a wheelchair can also help make sure the device doesn’t fall and get damaged while the user is moving about.
  • Pictured is a Mount-It tablet wheelchair mount that I’ve recommended before. It’s a decent less expensive option for mounting to a round pole or table. There are more substantial versions that have a higher price tag…I like those too. There are also cheaper versions of device mounts that you can even get from places like Five Below. Just know that you’re pretty much getting what you paid for! Make sure you test the mount in the environment to make sure it won’t fail and potentially ruin the user’s device.
  • I also want to note that their are floor stand versions of mounts, there are device holders that can strap to a person like what runners use, and there are even phone mounts that are commonly used by bicyclist. Pick a version that works best for the user and how they need to utilize their device.

Find several varieties at Amazon or Best Buy.

Adonit stylus targeting a cell phone

Adonit Dash Stylus

  • I’ve trialed a lot of styluses and by far the Adonit Dash Stylus has been one of my favorites. The Adonit line of styluses creates it’s own electrical charge so it doesn’t require that the stylus fits into the users hand a certain way to create current. Because of that it also has a fine tip point, whereas many styluses have to have the large rubber tip so that the device will recognize it.
  • The Dash stylus has a magnetic usb charger so it’s easy to pop on and off to charge and it doesn’t require bluetooth connection…making it even more user friendly.

Find out more about the Adonit styluses.

Do you have a favorite mobile device accessory that you’d like to share about? Comment below!

Did you enjoy this training module? Please complete our participant survey to help us with our federal reporting.

Follow us on social media to keep up with the latest on the Gifting Guide!

This list is provided for informational purposes only as APTAT does not endorse specific products or brands. When purchasing be sure to thoroughly research the product features to ensure it will meet your individual needs.

Alternative Computer Access

This module will guide you through alternative types of computer access and different ways to control the computer. Please take note of which version of operating system (OS X El Capitan or Windows 10 for example) the resource is for as software and hardware for computers is always rapidly changing!  If you see a product you are interested in, please check our lending library for loan availability.

Macs (uses OS X)

To check what operating system you are running on click the Apple logo in the very top left-hand corner then select “about this Mac”. At the top of the pop-up window, it should say OS X followed by a name. For example OS X Moutain Lion or OS X El Capitan. If you have a different operating system than the one listed with the instructions below some direction may have changed. Please contact Apple Support or your nearest Apple store with any questions regarding your operating system. 


PC (uses Windows)

To check what operating system you are running on click on the “start” menu and click on settings. From the settings menu click on “about”. Where it lists the edition is what operating system you are running. For example Windows 8 or Windows 10. If you have a different operating system than the one listed with the instructions below some direction may have changed. Please contact Microsoft Support with any questions regarding your operating system. 


Using Technology to Prepare for Employment

In this course, you fill find lessons in using technology to help prepare for employment. There are a lot of wonderful resources out there! Please follow the links below for more information.

Exploring Careers

Searching for Jobs

Jobs in Alabama:

 Large Search Sites (across the U.S.):

Completing Applications

Creating a Resume

More Free Web Resources
%d bloggers like this: