Play with this inclusive 360 player to help accessibility research

The University of Salford has several accessible, immersive projects under development. I caught up with Computer Science Lecturer from the University of Salford, Dr Chris Hughes, who is seeking feedback on its new 360-degree immersive web player.

Chris was one of the speakers at the excellent TechShare Pro session about Accessible Immersive Experiences last November. Accessible immersive experiences involve being able to deliver a customised experience to each individual in order that the content is understandable and accessible despite any disability or impairment they may have. 

What helps to create accessible, immersive experiences?

IMan wearing VR headsetmagine all the sexy tech associated with Virtual Reality (VR) (Microsoft’s Hololens, the Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR), but with a lavish dollop of accessibility know-how applied to the experiences they deliver.

To create accessible immersive experiences, as much as possible, on-screen visuals, vocals and sounds are altered and information choices selected according to a user’s preferences. If it’s a live sporting event, for example, you get to choose your viewpoint, colours and contrast, type, size and positioning of overlaid captions or game statistics and relative levels of crowd noise and commentary – plus language and stereo separation, and so on.

A 360-degree experience awaits your feedback

Of course you don’t necessarily need VR tech to test out immersive experiences. YouTube has a number of 360-degree videos for you to try out where, instead of the video having a set view decided by the cameraman, you can use the mouse to move your viewpoint around – just as if you’re moving your head in real life.

Dr Chris Hughes at The University of Salford has been working on a project to make such 360-degree experiences more accessible. He and his team would welcome your feedback on its pilot web player

You can simply use your mouse to change your view or, if you have a VR headset, Google Cardboard (or even just using the compass and accelerometer on your smartphone) you can get a much more real-life experience.

Let them know your feedback using the survey link provided on the web player pages

Listen to our podcast 

In this episode of our TechShare Procast podcast, I chat with Dr Chris Hughes about the project. We discussed the principles of accessible immersive experiences, what the player is all about, and how you can test it yourself in it’s current pilot web player form.

More sessions from TechShare Pro

All the speakers, panels and workshops are available to watch on the TechShare Pro YouTube channel or in audio form (along with interviews and pre and post-event specials) on the TechShare Procast podcast.

Further resources