John Porter Receives Microsoft Dissertation Grant

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Image of 2017 Microsoft Dissertation Grant recipients
The 2017 Microsoft Dissertation Grant recipients

John R. Porter, PhD candidate in Human Centered Design & Engineering, is the recipient of a Microsoft Dissertation Grant to support his research on making gaming more accessible to people with motor disabilities.

A highly competitive program in its inaugural year, just twelve doctoral students out of 200 applicants nationwide received the Microsoft Dissertation Grant in 2017.

Porter’s dissertation, entitled “Understanding and Improving Real-World Video Game Accessibility” will focus on how and why we can improve the experience of people with disabilities in playing mainstream video games.

Understanding and Improving Real-World Video Game Accessibility

John PorterMy dissertation work attends to the intersection of accessible human-computer interaction and video game design. Games continually grow more complex, pervasive, and significant in 21st century life. However, due to inaccessibility, games are often actively disabling experiences for many gamers with impairments, systematically excluding them from full participation in an increasingly important activity. Therefore, my work proposes to understand the play experiences of gamers with impairments and offer novel design solutions for mitigating the accessibility barriers they face. My proposed investigations seek to understand how accessibility barriers manifest in mainstream games, to empower gamers with impairments to better navigate the landscape of game accessibility through novel information design, and to address underlying institutional concerns that perpetuate systemic accessibility issues in the game development industry through education interventions.

The Microsoft Dissertation Grant program offers financial support to under-represented doctoral students in the field of computing, including women, people with disabilities, and people who are African-American, Latino, American Indian, or Pacific Islanders.

Read more about the program and 2017 recipients on the Microsoft Research blog.