Play for All Abilities

Video games are not made for everyone—at least not until now. Logitech, a multinational tech product company, recently released a new adaptive kit that makes gaming more accessible to people with disabilities.

The kit is actually only the latest innovation to come from a sector that’s made a strong commitment to improving product accessibility for people with disabilities. Other high-tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Apple have also dedicated teams and resources to developing accessible software and hardware that can be enjoyed by users of all abilities.

However, despite these tech firms’ strides, advocates say many organizations still overlook the needs of consumers with disabilities when designing new products and services. In doing so, they are cutting against the grain of the so-called purpose movement that has become an important measure of corporate success. “Firms really have to lean in and examine if they’re providing services and products that are accessible and inclusive to everyone,” says Divina Gamble, a senior client partner at Korn Ferry and sector coleader of the firm’s Nonprofit, Philanthropy, and Social Enterprise practice. “That equity lens is what we should be striving for.”

Logitech’s Adaptive Gaming Kit is a good example of that equity lens in action. Compatible with Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controller, the new product comes with 12 buttons and triggers, all serving different abilities. That means people without thumbs, fingers, limbs, or strong motor control can pick those accessories that suit their specific needs and configure their Xbox controller so they can play games that they couldn’t otherwise.

In other words, it’s one product that serves multiple abilities. And it’s this type of inclusive product development, experts say, that will become more of a key differentiator as customers increasingly emphasize social responsibility as a buying metric. “Consumers want to buy products from companies that are doing good in the world,” Gamble says. Indeed, according to one market survey, over 60% of customers say they prefer to buy products from brands with a strong sense of purpose.

To be sure, organizations will need to have the right talent if they want to create truly inclusive products and services, experts say. They will need to recruit employees who “think about things that aren’t top of mind,” like accessibility, says Radhika Papandreou, a Korn Ferry senior client partner. “You have to bring in a team that thinks about inclusivity and thinks about what is comfortable for the end user.”

But being more intentional about accessibility will do more than win over the socially conscious consumer. Experts say inclusive design will also tap into a historically underserved population—one with robust purchasing power. After all, more than 20 million working-age adults in the United States have disabilities, according to the American Institutes of Research, and combined, their discretionary income totals about $21 billion. “Not only is there a value imperative, there’s also a business imperative,” says Andrés Tapia, a global diversity and inclusion strategist with Korn Ferry. “It’s huge.”

Authors

  • Andrés Tapia

    Senior Client Partner

    Bio >
  • Divina Gamble

    Senior Client Partner, Co-Leader of Nonprofit Practice

    Bio >