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Turn off the graphics: designing non-visual interfaces for mobile phone games

Abstract

Mobile phones are a widespread platform for ICT applications because they are highly pervasive in contemporary society. Hence, we can think of mobile gaming as a serious candidate to being a prominent form of entertainment in the near future. However, most games (for computers, console and mobile devices) make extensive use of the visual medium, which tends to exclude visually-impaired users from the play. While mobile gaming could potentially reach many visually-impaired users, who are very familiar with this technology, currently there seems to be only very few alternatives for this community. In an attempt to explore new interactive possibilities for such users, this work presents an initial study on non-visual interfaces for mobile phone games. It is based on Semiotic Engineering principles, emphasizing communication through aural, tactile and gestural signs, and deliberately excluding visual information. Results include a number of issues that can be incorporated to a wider research agenda on mobile gaming accessibility, both for the visually-impaired and sighted.

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Valente, L., de Souza, C.S. & Feijó, B. Turn off the graphics: designing non-visual interfaces for mobile phone games. J Braz Comp Soc 15, 45–58 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03192576

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Keywords

  • Mobile non-visual games
  • accessibility
  • audio games
  • haptics and gestures
  • visually-impaired users
  • semiotic engineering