Twitch Announces New Accessibility Feature

There may be a lot of companies out there that offer streaming services, but none so far has surpassed Twitch, which is currently considered to be at the top when it comes to hosting streamers.

For August, developer StreamElements said that League of Legends was the most-watched game on the platform with over 135 million hours. Not only that, but the website’s top three categories had amassed over 400 million hours for the same month alone.

From what we have gathered, Twitch doesn’t plan on falling off the charts any time soon. As such, the platform plans to expand its audience by making it even more accessible to others.

As a matter of fact, Twitch users have finally been given the ability to adjust the font size of a stream’s chat when they’re using a web browser. Accessing the settings for this is easy: simply go into the chat settings, and then choose the chat appearance section.

Once you find that option, you can see that Twitch offers four different text sizes to the users. Not only that, but users can also decide whether or not they want the text to have readable colors, or if timestamps should be included for each line.

For those who have visual impairments of any kind, having the option to choose the text size is a great help. If this feature is available, this means that users no longer have to use assistive devices like screen magnifiers.

The importance of having variable text size can also be seen in the way that 2018’s God of War was heavily criticized for having such a small font when it was initially launched. Based on the Success Criterion 1.4.4 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), individuals should be given the option to resize a text up to 200% “without loss of content or functionality.”

If you don’t know what the WCAG is, this is a service under the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and since 2008, it has been working to provide standards for online accessibility.

In addition to that, Penn State University published accessibility guidelines as well. On the website, it generally recommends the default text size to be 12 pt, but a size no smaller than 9 pt would also suffice.

That being said, more and more companies have been implementing accessibility features to their games or websites. For example, Ubisoft has added scalable menus to their games, which is a great accessibility feature to have.

As for Twitch, the platform has an Accessibility Statement on its website which confirms that the company is using the WCAG as a basis for improving its standards.

We can no longer deny that video games have become a pervasive part of daily life. As such, this has led to companies finally taking accessibility standards seriously. In fact, Geoff Keighley announced last month that The Game Awards 2020 will feature a new category called “Innovation in Accessibility.”

This category will acknowledge and reward those developers who are “pushing the medium forward” by ensuring that a wider, more inclusive audience will be able to enjoy different video games.

Twitch may not have the greatest track record when it comes to satisfying its content creators and users. However, the fact that it has included new accessibility features is definitely a huge step in the right direction.

Cat and literature-lover. I play RPG games when I have the time.

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