The Use of Virtual Worlds Among People with Disabilities

It may appear that with their emphasis on 3D graphics and complex interface controls, gaming interfaces and virtual worlds have little to offer people with disabilities. However, virtual worlds serve as a form of augmented reality where users transcend physiological or cognitive challenges to great social and therapeutic benefit. A number of intriguing developments exist within the accessibility sector: haptic input devices for the blind, virtual regions developed according to Universal Design principles, communities dedicated to people with cognitive disorders, the use of the avatar as counsellor, applications in higher education, and customizable personae that either transcend or represent a disabled person’s self-identity.

The Use of Virtual Worlds Among People with Disabilities (PDF, 5.7 mb)