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Xbox Adaptive Controller

Global Accessibility Awareness Day: Equal Playing Field

Thursday, May 20th, marked the tenth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). GAAD aims to raise awareness, spark conversation and increase understanding of how disabled people interact with websites, apps and other digital environments, and the steps we need to take to achieve fair access and inclusion.

This year, we chose to spotlight Wellington based content creator Humphrey Hanley, known to fans everywhere as NoHandsNZ. Humphrey has a rare and debilitating skin condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa, and is an avid online gamer, globally recognised community leader and owner of a successful photography and videography business.

When delving into his passion for gaming, Humphrey said, “Growing up, games have been a way for me to, not only, participate in the world but to make friends, be part of the community and to do all the things that my mates were enjoying on a computer, on an equal playing field.”

As a child, Humphrey’s condition prevented him from engaging in contact sports. Instead of physical sports, he doubled down on his skill and love for video games. Whilst holding a controller can be difficult for Humphrey, recent innovations in devices such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller have created further options for a range of accessibility needs.

Although acknowledging that there’s always room for improvement in the space, Humphrey commented on the ability for games to provide something for everyone. “I am constantly amazed by the potential for gaming to become an inclusive space. In the short time I’ve been involved in the accessibility gaming industry, it has come so far.”

For me, as an adult being able to get into gaming and turn it into a force for good, a force for positivity and motivation – it shows people out there, there’s always a way to get out and do things, be part of a community and create a career.

What initially began for Humphrey as an opportunity to share his journey has positioned him as a globally recognised leader within the gaming and accessibility community as he continues in his commitment to making the world an inclusive and accessible place for everyone.

For more information on Humphrey’s journey and successes, visit his Global Accessibility Awareness Day video: