Tom Atfield

Creative Director

Learning from video games: Accessibility in real money gaming


Article first seen on EGR Global 9th April 2021 - Click Here to visit the site

Last year, PlayStation 4 game The Last of Us Part II, was released and swiftly dubbed the most accessible game ever. Featuring more than 60 accessibility settings from control handling to visual personalisation, the game allows an unprecedented level of customisation and fine-tuning. For a great number of people around the world with usability restrictions, the title marked the first time they could play a video game without any barriers. Accessibility in video games has come a long way over the last few years with many major developers now incorporating it into their game design. We have yet to see the same movement in the real money gambling space. At mkodo, we believe this is set to change however and accessibility will soon become an integral part of the development process.


A significant number of people are affected by different impairments, such as hearing or sight difficulties, that could make it harder for them to access and use different products. In the UK alone, 22 percent of the population has some kind of disability, which companies could potentially be isolating by not ensuring their websites or apps are accessible. These range from hearing and sight difficulties to motor-control issues and colour blindness. As with other sectors, the gaming industry is expected and required by Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to provide equal access to people with disabilities and to ensure that their digital offering is as inclusive as possible. This will be particularly important to governments providing gaming services to their citizens. In fact, this year there is a new version of WCAG (2.2) due to be released this summer which will include some new criteria to conform to. We are working with our lottery clients to meet these guidelines and also recommend clients of other industry verticals to do the same. 


There are a lot of different design and usability elements to consider, from the colour contrast ratios and navigation tools to the font size and VoiceOver options, that could all help customers with certain needs. The strides that Apple has made in the area of accessibility with their latest operating system are amazing: Smarter VoiceOver, voice control and the new back tap are all available features. This has also been reflected in the latest version of the Android OS (11) with increased accessibility features including improved voice access and a talkback braille feature. Any app that is produced today should make use of this expanded toolset to ensure that the offering is as inclusive as possible.


Accessibility elements should be included early in the design and development processes to avoid future headaches and costs further down the factory line. They all contribute to the user experience too, which is really the key to achieving inclusivity. Using native components in apps and a clean html5 markup in web development are the simplest way to ensure an accessible product. An easy registration process, for example, should not be underestimated. It may seem simple, but people often drop off during this process because it is too clunky or difficult or is over engineered. Following this step with a clear navigation structure and concise information will help build trust with customers through equality and transparency.


As an added bonus, ensuring inclusivity features are central to a digital product’s design can help increase your company’s SEO rating and brand reputation – both of which are necessities in today’s digital world.