Role: Game Designer
Team Size: 3
Create animals and household items by combining shapes of all different sizes and colours! Shapeage was specially designed for motor and cognitive impaired youth and their families.
The purpose of Shapeage was to a design a game that’s tailored to a persona, Suzy, with accessible needs.
“I love playing with my visiting friends and family, but most games don’t consider my needs.”
13 years old
Grade 7 (Canada)
Mother, Father, Older brother
Meaningfully bond with visiting friends and family
Cause and effect toys (simple interaction, fun result)
Include all family members (parents, older brother) in game activities
Activities that require bimanual fine motor function like eating with a fork and knife
Games that require a lot time-consuming setup and rule-checking
Activities that require speech to engage with
Suzy is a 13-year-old girl with accessible needs who resides at Holland Bloorview Children’s Hospital and enjoys frequent visits from her friends and family. Suzy is non-verbal, communicates “yes” and “no” through gestures and her wants and needs through a picture-exchange communication system. Suzy can handle objects independently but might need help with bimanual fine motor activities like eating with a fork and knife. Suzy enjoys playing games with her friends and family when they visit, but she has few options to choose from since most games don’t account for her needs.
Picture Exchange Communication System
Presented with a group of images, players point to the animal or item that they believe the builder is trying to make. Using this method to call out answers lets Suzy use the picture exchange communication system that she’s already familiar with.
Cause and Effect Toy
The die bouncer was a big hit among players, offering Suzy the kind of cause and effect toy that she enjoys. Testers couldn’t stop themselves from hitting the button whether the game called for it or not!
Easy to Handle Game Pieces
To help Suzy handle objects independently, we raised each game piece with soft padding so that they’re easy to pick up and maneuver. This way, players can manipulate game pieces with ease.
Use the lens of accessibility. Designing Shapeage was a lesson in how to account for accessible needs when working on any game project. In my career, I’ve made a point of using the lens of accessibility in my process to ensure I’m accommodating as many players as possible.
Know your target audience. By keeping our persona’s needs at the forefront of every design decision, we were able to make adjustments that would best suit the way Suzy interprets and interacts with her surroundings.