Global Accessibility Awareness Day happens to be today, a special date that’s in place to help focus on “digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people alive today who live with disabilities or impairments.” It happens to fall on the third Thursday of May every year.
Microsoft has for a long time shown its dedication and commitment to empowering people living with disabilities, and this year is no different. Building on this premise, the Xbox team has announced a plethora of new accessibility awareness and support features designed to enhance the gaming experience for users with disabilities.
Here’s everything you need to know:
The Xbox Ambassador program
A little over 7 months ago, Microsoft debuted the Xbox Ambassador program, a program designed to provide a safe space for gamers, where each member is celebrated and the gaming experience is elevated. And in a bid to enhance instances where gamers get to learn more about accessibility, the Xbox team debuted the Xbox Ambassador Accessibility Explorer Path.
The Xbox Ambassador Accessibility Explorer Path not only provides gamers with insightful information about accessibility but also provides them with first-hand experiences with the feature.
Ever since its debut, a little over 7 months ago, more than 110 quests have been incorporated into the platform. To date, ambassadors have been able to complete over 1 million accessibility-focused missions.
New accessibility updates making their way to Xbox
First up, Xbox will be updating its accessibility support pages to now cover more than 150 accessibility controls across PC and console. This builds on, Xbox’s redesigned and overhauled navigate support hub.
The new support pages can be accessed via the accessibility tab on Xbox App on PC, Xbox.com. Xbox further added that the feature will be coming to Game Bar soon.
Next up, Xbox unveiled a new accessibility settings menu in the Xbox App on PC back in March. The settings menu was categorized into two: Disable background images and Disable animations.
These settings were put in place to help gamers establish more control over visual components to reduce instances where they encounter irritation, confusion, and more.
What’s more, Microsoft also shipped a new update for the Microsoft Store on Xbox.com. As such, the new experience caters to gamers with disabilities, in that, they are able to filter their searches while incorporating their “accessibility needs and preferences, as well as search for games based on their Supported Language, with over 17 supported languages.”
Additionally, Xbox has made enhancements to its Microsoft Game Accessibility Testing Service. It launched this program with the objective to help publishers and developers validate the accessibility of their games.
Xbox has since made improvements to the program by adding more information detailing how developers can validate Accessibility Feature Tags in their games. And to further build on this premise, the Team has further included 119 more test steps as well as 124 examples to its Accessibility Feature Tags platform.
The company has provided more insights on its dedication to this cause that you can catch up on over at its blog post. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.