Escape Room Inclusivity

keysFollowing live experiences, a blind student at Leeds Trinity University is assisting Escape Room owners to make adaptations for inclusivity.

On 28th March Zahra, 22, hosted a podcast corner at LTU’s Game Jam event, part of their Media Festival. The event was organised by senior lecturer, Liz Cable, herself a game designer. Attendees included Escape Room owners, designers and Academics – looking at potential use of Escape Rooms for educational assessment – from around the country.

Having conducted research through Face-Book groups for the visually impaired and taken part in two live Escape Room games, Zahra then put questions regarding accessibility and inclusivity to designers at the symposium who are at various stages of Escape-room development.

Jane Norris, designer of ‘The Norris Box’, a portable game ideal for use in schools, said in terms of a further game she would like Zahra to try, “I am interested to try make it more accessible.” She commented that more laser cutting of clues could make them more tactile.

Nick Granger, Escape Room professional at the Enigma rooms in Sheffield and Doncaster, where there is a blind school, said the Enigma games had been attended by visually impaired players as part of mixed ability groups. Some games, he said, “Have a lot of touch involved”, so are more accessible that way.

Initially Zahra had taken to social media to ask visually impaired groups about Escape Room participation. Lack of knowledge generally showed that this is a developing market, thus a good stage for disabled players to get involved as consultants. One or two Facebookers, however, had already had a go.

One said, “I felt I contributed more in the room [with] some audio description as the puzzles required more thinking than seeing and there was a [wider] range of puzzles.

Zahra’s own first live experience didn’t go brilliantly. “The first Escape Room I attended,” she said, “was a well-established venue. I felt largely excluded from the puzzles as the main sensory focus was visual. Although there were times when I did get involved, for the most part I was standing around, and couldn’t move freely because of tripping hazards.”

But then Zahra said of her second live game, the relatively new Escape from Wonderland at ‘Look Key Escape’, “It couldn’t have been more different. I was busy most of the time, either physically cracking codes and clues or listening to what was going on. My favourite part was when I got to use my listening and fine-motor skills to collaboratively work a magnetic ball through a large-scale maze, which I found hard but exhilarating. Overall I had a positive and fulfilling experience.” The game owner, Kieran, who observed the group’s successful escape later asked for feedback and in answer to Zahra’s questions about accessibility, commented, “You’ve given me good ideas for some adaptations.”

Zahra also feels that good teamwork is key to inclusivity; that every player should get to use their individual skills as part of a group. Zahra hopes to encourage Escape Room owners to branch out further by registering on EUANS Guide as accessible to all, also bearing in mind that ‘accessibility’ applies to a broad spectrum of individuals with various abilities:

https://www.euansguide.com/accessibility/

Game designers can also use the step-by-step accessibility guide at:

http://www.access.tourismtools.co.uk

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Taxonomies and Folksonomies of Facebook

Taxonomies are used by all organisations to categorize data in order to assist retrieval of information. On facebook taxonomies used could include events pages, business profiles, celebrity pages, open and closed groups. All of the above have to be ‘liked’ in order to receive their posts as newsfeed. This ‘liking’ system means the facebook user creates their own ‘folksonomy’ of liked pages.

A folksonomy on facebook is also created through liking and sharing items which then appear on your newsfeed. By tagging your friends, they will also receive newsfeed of these shared items. This is a type of ‘social book marking’ (Geeking Out at Fisher blog).

Facebook will give you suggestions based on the posts you have liked. They will suggest friends or people with similar likes and interests to you, or who have shared schools or workplaces. But Facebookdownload doesn’t provide folksonomy tools – you have to create your own by tagging and liking. Which you could argue is the opposite of a ‘folksonomy’.

Many people now link facebook and twitter the companies are able to gain a more complex view of your social media usage which opens up new marketing opportunites and possibilities of meeting people with similar interests to your own.

Companies need to organize and categorize the influx of information from facebook. This taxonomic system, based on your personal folksonomies allows companies to appropriately target their marketing to your personal likes and dislikes.

To conclude, we have found that facebook doesn’t use folksonomies and taxonomies very wel,l as it is a platform to strengthen friendships and interest connections rather than to get known on social media platforms. Facebook’s internal classification system therefore doesn’t facilitate self promotion like other social networking platforms. The only ways to increase self promotion is to ‘like’ pages of people you do not know or to make your profile ‘public’.

Why is my Archers’ blog so shareable?

Heather Pritchard aka Margaret Jackman
Heather Pritchard aka Margaret Jackman

Heather Pritchard aka Margaret Jackman, who died in this week’s episode. Heather was Ruth Archer’s mum.

I find it easier to listen to The Archers at my leisure so here is the podcast of last week’s omnibus. It’s on from Sunday to Friday at 7 to 7.15 which might not fit into people’s busy lives. But on Sunday, your rest day, you can catch up with the weekly goings on.
Occasionally The Archers has a tendency to become rather boring though if you’re not a farmer or you’re not interested in agriculture. This is because The Archers back in 1951 when the programme began was aimed at farmers and giving them information about what was happening within the farming community.
The Archers is well known as it’s been running since 1st January 1951: a nugget of information for those who haven’t listened to it before!
I like it because it’s auditory and due to this, as a listener you are not missing anything. Throughout the programme props are used to paint pictures using words and sounds for example you can tell when they’re in a kitchen through the use of cutlery or the kettle.
I’m trying to make this blog shareable through focussing content on The Archers, the longest-running soap-opera in the world, surviving despite stiff TV competition. Although listeners may be an older age-bracket, the content is relevant to some contemporary issues which makes it appeal to a broader demographic range.

Sean O'Connor, editor
Sean O’Connor, editor
The cast of Dead Girls Tell No Tales

The ‘true’ reason behind Grace Archer’s Death….

20 million people were listening on the night of Grace Archer’s tragic death, the 22nd September 1955. There was a fire in which one of the horses was trapped. She went to rescue it. This tragic accident is still remembered today. At the time fans of The Archers wrote and called the BBC and cried. The listeners were truly heart-broken as if Grace had been a real person.

A drama called’ Dead Girls Tell No Tales’, which was aired on 19th September 2015, tells the story of Ysanne Churchman, aka Grace Archer, and the real reason behind her departure from the original Archers’ cast back in 1955.

A podcast of ‘Dead Girls Tell No Tales’ is available to listen to by following this link.

The Archers cast during rehearsal
The Archers cast during rehearsal

I think it was an interesting piece of drama and was great to finally hear ‘the true reason’ behind Grace Archer’s death after 60 years of speculation!