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Space Beat

A rhythm video game made for visually impaired people.

Space Beat is a rhythm video game (like Guitar Hero and Beat Saber) that uses spatial audio to provide the cues. It prioritizes audio coming from 1 of 4 locations around the user rather than the colored notes appearing on the screen, as in most rhythm games.

Problem Statement

Our users, who have visual impairments, would like to enjoy rhythm video games, just as much as anyone else.​ 

Users with visual impairments have difficulty or complete lack of ability to see the moving notes on the screen, making the game virtually unplayable.

Proposed Solution

Our solution is to create a rhythm video game that relies on spatial audio for cues, so that our user can feel included and be on an equal playing field with her friends.

1. Background

This project was for my NYU UX Design course, taught by user experience designer and educator Regine Gilbert, in the Master's program for Integrated Design and Media. This particular course involved a focus in accessibility. We went through the process of ideating, researching, wireframing, and prototyping a solution to introduce to a particular population with disabilities. I chose to prototype a video game because I've played lots of video games throughout my life, but more importantly, I noticed the large lack of support and accessible features in this realm for people with visual impairments. However, one of the first things I had to do was interview people from this population, to understand whether this pursuit was even desirable to my potential users.

2. Interview

I made a post on Reddit searching for people with visual impairments who would be interested in completing a virtual interview about what they think about a video game involving spatial audio specifically made for the visually-impaired community. I received a flurry of responses, but unfortunately, I could only select a few as there was a limited number of Amazon gift cards that would be provided to interviewees. I interviewed 4 people with various levels and types of visual impairments. Below is a sample of a portion of an interview with one Redditor.

After analyzing my the 4 insightful interviews, I created a persona with the most important pain points and goals.

3. Competitive Analysis

There weren't too many accessible video games I found, but the following are two that had at least some good documentation.

4. Wireframing

The themes I focused on when starting to sketch out the interface were size, contrast, and space. Because my users are people with visual impairments, it was important that I always kept these factors in mind with every design detail.

5. Final Prototype

After receiving feedback from my wireframe, I made a few visual changes and added a multiplayer feature. While there was no time for user testing, I created a run through of the game screens, which you can watch below! For the actual gameplay, I used sounds that play spatial audio in 1 of 4 directions (far left, close left, close right, and far right). If actually implemented, I expect there to be several gameplay features available and adjustable, such as how much time you have to press the correct key after the sound from that direction plays, and how many directions you'd like to play with.


Desktop Video Game

Tools Used
SKILLS IMplemented

User Interviews, User Surveys,

Wireframing, Prototyping,

Competitive Analysis