A young dancer who’s deaf, wrote a review of the game, “Dance Central Spotlight” with Kinect, with several accessibility tips for developers of gaming interfaces. Specifically,
Video games are not excluding [people who have hearing issues] with music-based games, but are… providing a visualization of music that can bring music to deaf and hard of hearing gamers in new ways.
For product improvement, the reviewer requested:
- Captions for voiced set-up instructions (a hearing person had to calibrate the Kinect!).
- Subtitled music lyrics to sing (or pretend to sing) alongside dancers and observers.
- Visualisation of music and notes whenever possible in game footage.
Simple tweaks to genuinely improve products while enabling peer participation. Here’s why:
Video games give me a new way to interact with music by visualizing what is otherwise only audio.
Dance For Social Participation
Dance routines are a natural way to teach language and social skills. At Heuser Academy in the US, children learn spoken language through dance, while a teen dance program at Millersville University teaches self-expression, balance, social skills and teamwork.
There’s also the fact that music may unlock speech-perception in cochlear implants.
And technology has a role in giving access to music, with web systems inspiring deaf kids to learn to dance, and sub-woofers giving access to dance, art & PC games. Just remember, some kids may use Bluetooth or FM links to hear music with their digital hearing-devices.