Designing movement-based play with young people using powered wheelchairs

michael r kalyn
michael r kalyn
adam evans
adam evans

CHI, pp. 4447-4458, 2016.

Cited by: 24|Bibtex|Views31|Links
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Keywords:
leisure activityGamesyoung peopleplayful experiencesevere mobility impairmentMore(12+)
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Our work suggests that the participatory development of movementbased games has potential to create engaging playful experiences with a physical dimension

Abstract:

Young people using powered wheelchairs have limited access to engaging leisure activities. We address this issue through a two-stage project; 1) the participatory development of a set of wheelchair-controlled, movement-based games (with 9 participants at a school that provides education for young people who have special needs) and 2) thre...More

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Introduction
  • Young people with disabilities frequently experience barriers when trying to access leisure activities, limiting their opportunities to engage with peers and participate in wider society [31].
  • The authors establish a structured codesign process with the target audience, and examine how to create games that are engaging for individuals with severe mobility impairment that is sometimes associated with sensory or cognitive impairment.
  • Through this process, the authors elicit participant values with regard to selfperception, gaming preferences, and movement-based play.
  • The authors develop three wheelchaircontrolled movement-based games, and present findings from three case studies where young people using powered wheelchairs were invited to engage in play
Highlights
  • Young people with disabilities frequently experience barriers when trying to access leisure activities, limiting their opportunities to engage with peers and participate in wider society [31]
  • Our paper makes the following three main contributions: First, we provide insights into the perspectives that young people with disabilities have on games, providing evidence that game accessibility extends beyond interface design and needs to take into consideration additional aspects such as the representation of disability in games
  • Design Implications Resulting From Sessions 1-3 Building on the results of the first three design sessions, we identified the following implications for the design of games for young people using powered wheelchairs: (1) Genres and themes: Games should be casual in nature, allowing for short chunks of play to accommodate the players’ environment, and provide enjoyable experiences for players who may experience fatigue after short bouts of play
  • We provide design recommendations based on a participatory design process, we present three fully playable games that were developed based on these considerations, and we explore the experience they provide for young people using powered wheelchairs through case studies
  • Our work suggests that the participatory development of movementbased games has potential to create engaging playful experiences with a physical dimension
  • Findings suggest that we need to move beyond common approaches to game accessibility, not only creating accessible game interfaces and mechanics, but developing inclusive game content that appeals to players with disabilities: We need to ensure that games reflect how players – including young people with disabilities – view themselves, and enable them to become who they strive to be through engaging and empowering playful experiences
Methods
  • Design Implications Resulting From

    Sessions 1-3 Building on the results of the first three design sessions, the authors identified the following implications for the design of games for young people using powered wheelchairs:

    (1) Genres and themes: Games should be casual in nature, allowing for short chunks of play to accommodate the players’ environment, and provide enjoyable experiences for players who may experience fatigue after short bouts of play.
  • (3) Game controls: Game controls need to accommodate an extremely wide range of abilities among players, with some being able to use traditional game controllers, and other players having to rely on assistive technology as for example head switches or gaze-based interaction
  • To this end, wheelchair-controlled play offers an interesting design opportunity as many young people using powered wheelchairs will be able to navigate their wheelchair independently, and will not require additional support.
  • Afterwards, the authors followed up with participants in a semi-structured interview that explored their experience with the games and their thoughts on movement-based play
Results
  • The authors describe the case studies. For each one, the authors describe the participants’ individual background(s), the context in which they played the games, followed by an overview of main themes that emerged from the analysis of gaming sessions along with interview results.

    Case Study 1: Daniel The first case study outlines the experience of Daniel, who enjoys games and has been using a powered wheelchair through gaze control for a number of years.

    Participant’s background.
  • Case Study 1: Daniel The first case study outlines the experience of Daniel, who enjoys games and has been using a powered wheelchair through gaze control for a number of years.
  • Daniel has no control over his arms and hands, and experiences difficulties speaking.
  • To communicate, he uses a gaze-controlled communications tool which combines an eye tracker with a tablet and sound output; to control his wheelchair, he uses a head switch.
  • Technical limitations of this solution do not allow him to speak and steer the wheelchair at the same time, and he requires assistance to switch from communications to wheelchair control mode and vice versa
Conclusion
  • The authors focus on the participatory design of wheelchair-controlled movement-based games for young people using powered wheelchairs.
  • The authors see two main benefits that wheelchair-controlled movement-based play may have regardless of the levels of exertion that such games provide, potentially providing valuable experiences for people with severe mobility impairment.
  • Movement-based play offers the opportunity of diversifying leisure activities available to young people using powered wheelchairs, giving them an opportunity to explore their physical body in a playful context, possibly giving them access to some of the psychological benefits of physical play [31].Enabling young people with disabilities to participate in society is an important step towards increased well-being and quality of life.
  • Findings suggest that the authors need to move beyond common approaches to game accessibility, not only creating accessible game interfaces and mechanics, but developing inclusive game content that appeals to players with disabilities: The authors need to ensure that games reflect how players – including young people with disabilities – view themselves, and enable them to become who they strive to be through engaging and empowering playful experiences
Summary
  • Introduction:

    Young people with disabilities frequently experience barriers when trying to access leisure activities, limiting their opportunities to engage with peers and participate in wider society [31].
  • The authors establish a structured codesign process with the target audience, and examine how to create games that are engaging for individuals with severe mobility impairment that is sometimes associated with sensory or cognitive impairment.
  • Through this process, the authors elicit participant values with regard to selfperception, gaming preferences, and movement-based play.
  • The authors develop three wheelchaircontrolled movement-based games, and present findings from three case studies where young people using powered wheelchairs were invited to engage in play
  • Methods:

    Design Implications Resulting From

    Sessions 1-3 Building on the results of the first three design sessions, the authors identified the following implications for the design of games for young people using powered wheelchairs:

    (1) Genres and themes: Games should be casual in nature, allowing for short chunks of play to accommodate the players’ environment, and provide enjoyable experiences for players who may experience fatigue after short bouts of play.
  • (3) Game controls: Game controls need to accommodate an extremely wide range of abilities among players, with some being able to use traditional game controllers, and other players having to rely on assistive technology as for example head switches or gaze-based interaction
  • To this end, wheelchair-controlled play offers an interesting design opportunity as many young people using powered wheelchairs will be able to navigate their wheelchair independently, and will not require additional support.
  • Afterwards, the authors followed up with participants in a semi-structured interview that explored their experience with the games and their thoughts on movement-based play
  • Results:

    The authors describe the case studies. For each one, the authors describe the participants’ individual background(s), the context in which they played the games, followed by an overview of main themes that emerged from the analysis of gaming sessions along with interview results.

    Case Study 1: Daniel The first case study outlines the experience of Daniel, who enjoys games and has been using a powered wheelchair through gaze control for a number of years.

    Participant’s background.
  • Case Study 1: Daniel The first case study outlines the experience of Daniel, who enjoys games and has been using a powered wheelchair through gaze control for a number of years.
  • Daniel has no control over his arms and hands, and experiences difficulties speaking.
  • To communicate, he uses a gaze-controlled communications tool which combines an eye tracker with a tablet and sound output; to control his wheelchair, he uses a head switch.
  • Technical limitations of this solution do not allow him to speak and steer the wheelchair at the same time, and he requires assistance to switch from communications to wheelchair control mode and vice versa
  • Conclusion:

    The authors focus on the participatory design of wheelchair-controlled movement-based games for young people using powered wheelchairs.
  • The authors see two main benefits that wheelchair-controlled movement-based play may have regardless of the levels of exertion that such games provide, potentially providing valuable experiences for people with severe mobility impairment.
  • Movement-based play offers the opportunity of diversifying leisure activities available to young people using powered wheelchairs, giving them an opportunity to explore their physical body in a playful context, possibly giving them access to some of the psychological benefits of physical play [31].Enabling young people with disabilities to participate in society is an important step towards increased well-being and quality of life.
  • Findings suggest that the authors need to move beyond common approaches to game accessibility, not only creating accessible game interfaces and mechanics, but developing inclusive game content that appeals to players with disabilities: The authors need to ensure that games reflect how players – including young people with disabilities – view themselves, and enable them to become who they strive to be through engaging and empowering playful experiences
Related work
  • This section summarizes findings regarding the involvement of diverse audiences in the design of technology along with previous approaches toward the design of games for players with disabilities.

    Involving Diverse User Groups Through Participatory (Game) Design Participatory design (PD) – directly working with end-users throughout the development process [23] – is an inclusive approach toward the design of technology.

    Diverse Audiences and Participatory Design PD offers insights into users’ perspectives, and facilitates the design of systems that meets their needs [36], reducing marginalization throughout the research process [30]. This is particularly important when working with audiences with special needs; for example, children or people with disabilities [20].Malinverni et al [20] outline the opportunity of PD as a means of empowering children with special needs, while Holone and Herstad [16] reflect upon challenges that result from differences in abilities among participants, e.g., the use of proxies in communication.

    Participatory Game Design for Players With Special Needs A number of projects have applied participatory design in the development of games [18], with some of those exploring participatory design with players with special needs, for example, young people with learning disabilities [1], and children with autism [3]; research by Gerling et al [13] that compares involving young people using wheelchairs and game design experts shows that both groups produced comparable game concepts, but that young people using wheelchairs had a more realistic perspective on their personal situation. While offering many benefits, a participatory approach also creates challenges, some of which are uniquely associated with game development. For example, Waddington et al [33] apply PD in the design of therapeutic games for young people with neurological vision impairment. Their results suggest that that while generally effective, PD can expose vulnerability among participants as games are inherently challenging and therefore need to explore players’ abilities and disabilities. Likewise, Brederode et al [5] comment on the risk of PD to expose vulnerability. They explore participatory game design with children with physical disabilities, and highlight that the design process may be physically and cognitively exhausting, and sometimes created stress among participants. Along these lines, Guha et al [14] underline the importance of a respectful participatory game design process that involves participants in different stages of development based on individual abilities to avoid frustration and disruption.
Funding
  • Francis School staff for supporting our research
  • The project was funded by the University of Lincoln Research Investment Fund
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