Improving Accessibility through Partial Automation

Digital games are designed to be controlled using hardware devices such as gamepads, keyboards, and cameras. Some device inputs may be inaccessible to players with motor impairments, rendering them unable to play. Games and devices can be adapted to enable play, but for some players these adaptations may not go far enough. Games may require inputs that some players cannot provide with any device. To address this problem, we introduce partial automation, an accessibility technique that delegates control of inaccessible game inputs to an AI partner. Partial automation complements and builds on other approaches to improving games’ accessibility, including universal design, player balancing, and interface adaptation. We have demonstrated partial automation in two games for the rehabilitation of spinal cord injury. Six study participants with vastly different motor abilities were able to play both games. Participants liked the increased personalization that partial automation affords, although some participants were confused by aspects of the AI’s behaviour.

For more information

Partial Automation:

Gabriele Cimolino, Sussan Askari, and T.C. Nicholas Graham. 2021. The Role of Partial Automation in Increasing the Accessibility of Digital Games. Proc. ACM Hum.-Comput. Interact., Vol. 5, CHIPLAY, Article 266. ACM, New York, NY, USA.

Experience of Persons with Spinal Cord Injury:

Gabriele Cimolino, Sussan Askari, and T.C. Nicholas Graham. 2021. Beyond Fun: Players’ Experiences of Accessible RehabilitationGaming for Spinal Cord Injury. In Proceedings of the 23rd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS ’21), October 18–22, 2021. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 20 pages.