AbleGamers Announces DPAD Initiative Focusing on Marginalized Developers

The AbleGamers Charity has announced the official launch of its Developers Promoting Accessibility and Diversity (DPAD) initiative.

This initiative is open with a focus for marginalized developers —including those who are disabled, of color, women, and/or members of the LGBTQIA+ community— to apply and if selected will grant them free access to a session of the Accessible Player Experience (APX) Practitioner course. (The course has recently moved to an online remote course)

For those unaware, the Accessible Player Experience (APX) is a design tool based on research that has been conducted with participants of the AbleGamers Player Panels program.

This program currently has roughly 600 players with disabilities. The course launched last year and has been used to train over 100 developers already across major studios in the gaming industry. The course, according to the website, covers the following.

  • Apply our data driven APX Design Patterns and promote a focus on accessibility early in the design cycle
  • Learn to identify accessibility issues during the design cycle and implement solutions to fix them
  • Equip yourself with the data you need to show accessibility is a worthwhile investment in your title
  • Understand the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) and what it requires

These 2-day courses usually cost $2,000 with all of the proceeds supporting AbleGamers’ mission and initiatives, and while the course is still being offered, the DPAD initiative is available for those to sign up as initiatives. AbleGamers will then select 3 DPAD initiative applications to attend each session. Those looking to submit an application can do so over on the official website.

A video from AbleGamers launched a few months ago and shows some examples of why gaming is important to players, and so it makes sense to ensure that those games are available for more. Knowing how to tackle barriers is a fantastic step to involving a wider audience.

Earlier this year, the AbleGamers charity issued a statement in support of Black Lives Matter, promising to continue conversations on how to show solidarity with and further support the Black community. The DPAD initiative is one of the outcomes of those conversations.

The press release associated with this news touches on the current global pandemic situation, stating that AbleGamers believes the community has seen how important gaming is to remain social. Due to the events that have unfolded this year, the charity recognizes that there are still incredible deficits in how members within the community are treated despite gaming’s ability to connect everyone.

“The overt and subtle inequalities that exist in the gaming space and the world at large for people with disabilities, people of color, women, and the LGBTQIA+ community is soul-crushing and frankly, infuriating.” Said Mark Barlet, Founder & Executive Director of AbleGamers, “It’s not enough to just say that it’s unacceptable. We all have to do something about it.”

“We’re hoping to create a diverse diaspora of game developers who are bastions of accessibility in an industry that’s increasingly seeing the importance of accessible design practises,” said Greg Haynes, Lead Games User Researcher at AbleGamers. They continue, “DPAD initiates will be on the front lines of opportunity. As we train dozens of initiates each year, we’ll hopefully begin to shift the dynamics of inequality and under-representation in this space.”

AbleGamers will be present at this years Game Accessibility Conference 2020 that’s due to be taking place online in September.

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Ben Bayliss

Deaf Editor at Can I Play That? - British and enjoys games with good subtitles and will complain about bad subtitles.

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