Designing Better Controls with Xbox Adaptive Controller

The Xbox Adaptive Controller required a new development approach that was drastically different from how the Microsoft Devices team typically runs a program. To intentionally bring more people with limited mobility into gaming, the team needed to challenge their biases and assumptions, rethink how they designed and engineered controllers, and move the goalposts on how they measure a program’s success. This session will share their experiences and give you tips on how you can design better control schemes or input for people with limited mobility in your hardware or games. Attendees will learn how to recognize when they are designing input systems that exclude people with limited mobility. This session will give them tools that they can use that addresses that exclusion, and can make the game more approachable and accessible to all players.

Bryce Johnson has been designing accessible experiences and technology for over 15 years. As a member of Team Xbox he was part of the core team that started the inclusive design and accessibility practice. Bryce worked across Microsoft teams to launch the assistive technologies on the Xbox One, including Copilot. Bryce initiated and designed the very first Inclusive Tech Lab at Microsoft, which has now hosted over six thousand visitors; it is a facility where people can explore how gamers with disabilities interact with Microsoft games, services, and devices. Bryce has also been a member of the Xbox Adaptive Controller team ever since he was a lead on its inception as a hack project at the 2016 Microsoft Oneweek Hackathon. Bryce now focused on ensuring all Microsoft devices are designed and built to be inclusive.