Sensitivity Sliders

Simply stated, a critical component of accessibility giving players with strength or dexterity issues the ability to master movement of input devices like the mouse or joystick. For those who have low strength or dexterity, the ability to set the sensitivity level to an incredibly high level lets players transfer small movements of the controller into large movements on the screen. This allows for reduced effort on the part of the gamer and allows for increased time playing. On the other side of this is giving gamers with reduced control of their movements, like those cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders, the ability to reduce controls sensitivity, so their broader movements will result in more precise game actions and a better overall gaming experience.

Rift is a wonderful example that allows both the mouse sensitivity and camera controls to be set to levels that are extremely slow or ultrafast, which incorporates users anywhere on the spectrum. 

 

Linage is an example of a game that does not allow sensitivity to be moved in either direction and therefore makes it difficult for anyone that does not fall in with the ‘default’ to move the mouse accordingly.

The problem with both sensitivity sliders and camera controls occurs when assumptions are made as to what the appropriate level of speed should be. Consider supporting a broader range of sensitivities than might seem intuitive to prevent disabled gamers from being locked out of the game entirely.

Examples

a gamer with Muscular Dystrophy wants to play your brand-new game that just launched today. Because of his disability, he is only able to move his mouse about one inch in every direction. He fires up the game on his PC, but as soon as the splash screens are over the sensitivity levels are set to such a low level that moving the cursor around the menu screen is impossible. If the game developers have added in sensitivity settings in the game, he will be able to raise the sensitivity to a very high level, allowing that one inch of mouse movement to mean a full trip across the screen.

The other side of this, an elderly woman with tremors in her arms and hands was a gamer long before her current condition. For Mother’s Day, her grandson just got her a new casual game to enjoy. Like any gamer, she hurries home and loads the game only to have her arm start acting up as soon as she sits down. She can’t click on the puzzle pieces because the mouse moves too wildly and no sensitivity sliders were included in the game. If sensitivity sliders had been included, she would have been able to lower the sensitivity and make moving the mouse more manageable.