This artical is a really quick and simple approach to making your exsisting escape room, puzzles and games a bit more accessible without changing the whole design.
While these techniques won't make your room completely accessible they will help you take your first steps towards a more inclusive game.
Here is a simple list of things you can start doing right now that take hardly any time and cost little to nothing:
- Lighting Is Key.
If you have visual clues in a room, think about the lighting, make sure any boards or items with writing, symbols, numbers etc on are light enough for people to read. Consider if you really need the lighting this low to create the atmosphere or could you use the design and background sounds to create the same feeling/ atmosphere instead?
If you decide that having low lighting is key to your game experience then that’s fine to, but a good way to combat frustration for players is by switching to larger text, a clear easy to read font and most importantly high contrast colours.
- Choosing Your Colours.
Speaking of high contrast colours - making sure your room is colourblind accessible is a very easy thing to do. If a puzzle needs to be solved using color then try making it so that it is also solvable using shape as well.
- A Different Kind Of Lock
There are so many different locks out there but we seem to use the same old number locks with the teeny tiny digits on that drives players mad, why? Well I just don’t know the answer because there are tons of amazing locks out there that work just as well and are even cooler to use! As this article is about how to make existing rooms more accessible I won't go into all of the different locks today but let you know that a good alternative for number locks is to switch them out for a tactile push button number padlock.
- Don’t Lock Me In.
Being trapped in a room can sound daunting to some, so having a way to easily leave the game if things become overwhelming, without having to wait for someone to come and get you out is a huge game changer.
Having an emergency exit button or simply not locking the door is a very effective way to make players feel more positive about their game. Some escape rooms already have this system in place however not all do and it can make a big difference to players with anxiety, claustrophobia, autism or for other reasons.
- Take A Seat
Having a chair in the room or a dedicated place for someone to sit. This can be added in for a player if asked, or you can always incorporate this into your room. This doesn't necessarily mean incorporating a chair into the game, you could use a high chest in a pirate room, a dentist chair in a serial killer room or a bed in a jail cell etc.
- Write It Down
Give your players a whiteboard or pad and paper to use in the room. Most rooms already do this however for lots of rooms game hosts may feel players don't need one for a specific game or theme, but giving the player the choice and having the option to use one if they want can make a huge difference to someone's experience.
- Picture This
Whenever you post a image or video on your social media or your website you can add alt text to it, this text should describe what's in the image/ video posted. This is a very quick and easy way to help make your content more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired which means your content is reaching a wider audience. Check out this awesome blog on how to add alt text to images: Click Here!
- What's On The Web
Having an accessibility page on your website makes it clear to your customers which of your games they can play. Make sure that this includes all Information on accessibility for each of your games not just a sweep across the board i.e you may say your buisness is wheelchair accessesible however 2 of your 4 rooms may not be, so make sure to state which rooms wheelchairs users would be able to play.
These steps may feel like small easy changes but they will make a big difference to your players and how they interact with your games.
There are obviously many different types of accessibility needs and you don’t have to cover them all in one go - one room could be blind accessible while another is wheelchair accessible. Having these options avaliable will give you a wider audience and will bring even more players to your buisness.
- Start With Accessibility In Mind
Starting from scratch? If you’re designing a new room this is a great chance to make an accessible game. Designing with accessibility in mind is much easier than trying to re-work a current room and sometimes as owners/creators/hosts we know the puzzles and flow of a room too well and having a blank slate to work with is better.
Let’s make Escape Rooms for everyone!
If you would like anymore information or advice on accessibility within escape rooms then you can contact me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.