Xbox Accessibility Guidelines V2.0

Version 2.0 published 2/16/2021

Introduction

The Xbox Accessibility Guidelines (or "XAGs") are a set of best practices that have been developed in partnership with industry experts and members of the Gaming & Disability community.

They are intended for designers to generate ideas, for developers as guardrails when developing their games, and for test teams as a checklist to validate the accessibility of their titles. The XAGs are not intended to act as a checklist to validate any type of compliance or legal requirements. Rather, they seek to ensure that the user experience in a game is enjoyable and playable for everyone. When everyone plays, we all win.

Overview of XAG Components

Each XAG consists of the following sections:

Goal

States the overall desired impact that proper implementation of the guidelines in each XAG will have on players.

Overview

Provides an introduction to players with disabilities who often experience barriers related to gameplay elements addressed in each XAG.

Scoping questions

Scoping questions are intended to help developers get a better understanding of “where to start.” This section lists primary game elements and mechanics that are directly related to each XAG, and prompts developers to determine whether or not their title contains these elements.

Background and foundational information

This section is present in certain XAGs that address more complex topics. It provides “101” introductory information that can help those new to accessibility more easily understand XAG criteria and implementation.

Key areas to target

Provides a list of key game areas and elements directly related to each XAG. Developers should ensure that the elements identified in this section are not overlooked when implementing guidance.

Implementation guidelines

Provides a prescriptive set of guidance that helps ensure games provide the minimum amount of accessible components to eliminate common barriers that most players with disabilities experience in games.

Example content

Example images and video captures are featured within the XAGs to display what proper implementation of a particular accessibility guideline can look like. Please note that many accessibility concepts are complex, and the industry is only at the beginning of its journey to create games that are fully accessible across every aspect of a game. It is best to focus on the particular aspect of the example that is being highlighted in reference to the XAG guideline it is associated with. Other elements shown in the example may not adhere to all other XAG guidelines (i.e. an example used to display proper narration order of menu items may have subsequently have smaller text sizes than the guidance suggested by the XAGs. However, the point of focus for that particular example is the proper narration aspect, and aspects like text should not be taken into account. For guidance on text size specifically, please refer to examples found in the dedicated text size guidelines section).

Gaming personas

Provides a list of disability personas that are most likely to be impacted by the guidance in each XAG.

Resources and tools

Provides a list of external articles, videos, and other resources related to each XAG for readers interested in learning more about a particular aspect of game accessibility.

Thank you to the developers and publishers who have graciously approved the use of their game content to be published in this document

These guidelines were last updated on February 16th, 2021. A version history can be found in the changelog.

In this section

Guideline Description
101 Text Display
102 Contrast
103 Additional Channels for Visual and Audio Cues
104 Subtitles and Captions
105 Audio Customization
106 Screen Narration
107 Input
108 Game Difficulty Options
109 Object Clarity
110 Haptic Feedback
111 Audio Description
112 UI Navigation
113 UI Focus Handling
114 UI Context
115 Error Messages and Destructive Actions
116 Time Limits
117 Visual Distractions
118 Photosensitivity
119 Speech-to-Text / Text-to-Speech Chat
120 Communication Experiences
121 Accessible Feature Documentation
122 Accessible Customer Support
123 Advanced Best Practices

Developer Resources

See also