Video games, gaming, disability, accessibility, user generated content, universal design for learning, world of warcraft, virtual worlds, user interface
When discussing games and the experience of gamers those with disabilities are often overlooked. This has left a gap in our understanding of the experience of players with disabilities in virtual game worlds. However there are examples of players with disabilities being very successful in the virtual world video game World of Warcraft, suggesting that there is an opportunity to study the game for usability insight in creating other virtual world environments. This study surveyed World of Warcraft players with disabilities online for insight into how they used interface addons to manage their experience and identity performance in the game. A rubric was also created to study a selection of addons for evidence of the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The study found that World of Warcraft players with disabilities do not use addons more than able-bodied players, but some of the most popular addons do exhibit many or most of the principles of UDL. UDL principles appear to have emerged organically from addon iterations over time. The study concludes by suggesting that the same approach to user-generated content for the game interface taken by the creators of World of Warcraft, as well as high user investment in the environment, can lead to more accessible virtual world learning environments in the future.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Texts and Technology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Merritt, Donald, "The Impact of User-Generated Interfaces on the Participation of Users with a Disability in Virtual Environments: Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft Model" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1153.