Disclosure: This is an article written and released by Ubisoft, and sent to GameCritics via Ubisoft PR. While we don’t usually run PR releases, given its focus on accessibility and our lifelong dedication to same, we’re happy to share this information. The article can be seen in its original format here.
Just Dance 2023 Edition launches on November 22 on Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S. The revamped dance-on-demand platform comes with 40 new songs from popular artists including BTS, Dua Lipa, K/DA, and more. Just Dance 2023 Edition will feature regular content updates, and will introduce new features to personalize your experience and navigate menus more fluidly, like custom-made sessions and songs tailored to your preferences and playing habits, and a redesigned user interface. The development team designed these features with accessibility in mind to ensure that the game can be played by as many people as possible.
Ubisoft News spoke with Senior UX Designer Chloé Grémine and Lead UX Designer Adrien Morisse to learn more about the team’s approach to accessibility, and how the community can help with future updates.
What unique challenges does Just Dance 2023 Edition present from an accessibility standpoint, and how was the game designed to overcome those challenges?
Chloé Grémine: We are convinced that dance helps people to connect positively with others, that it helps to accept themselves and to transform themselves for the better. To be as inclusive as possible, it was important for us to create a game in which as many players as possible could participate, whether they have a permanent disability, a temporary condition, or just a gameplay preference.
To make Just Dance more accessible, we reviewed several aspects of our designs. The Just Dance experience starts from the main page, on which players can browse our song catalog and access the different parts of our game. Just Dance 2023 Edition has a new high contrast interface to improve readability with larger text than ever before and game colors carefully chosen for colorblind accessibility.
The main challenge is the heart of our game, which is the dance. It presented a lot of challenges, from the HUD to the choreographies themselves. We wanted to make sure that players can find the right choreographies for them, so we’ve now added accessibility tags to dances for the first time. Players will be able to filter by seated maps, as well as maps that do not require floorwork or jumping. This extra information should help players avoid movements that might cause them pain or discomfort.
Is there something you’re particularly proud of when it comes to accessibility in Just Dance 2023 Edition?
CG: I am proud that accessibility and inclusivity are part of Just Dance’s values, and that they are current and future concerns. The diversity of our players and their feedback has been one of our design concerns to improve our accessibility. As a first step, we have worked to put in place useful arrangements for all, and we are working to provide more precise solutions for the future.
I find it particularly rewarding that we can offer our players very creative seated choreographies, such as “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, which was produced in collaboration with professional choreographer Sadeck Waff and features our first-ever wheelchair user in a map.
Adrien Morisse: The inclusive approach we have on Just Dance, trying to include as many players as possible, is something I’m particularly proud of. Designers are in an “accessible-by-design” mindset that leads everyone to try to make the game accessible as much as possible by default. Of course, we will still need to create specific settings to reach as many players as possible.
JD23 Edition will now provide regular, ongoing updates. What is the best way for players to provide feedback to be considered for future updates? What kind of accessibility updates can players look forward to in the future?
CG: Just Dance players should not hesitate to communicate their feedback through forums, social media, or at any event where the Just Dance team could be. We are always so happy to know what they think about our game and what they expect, especially on accessibility. It helps us a lot!
AM: We have a lot of ideas to improve the accessibility of our game, from design improvements for a more accessible default experience to new settings that players can edit as they want.
Some of the ideas we have are very ambitious, but we know they will be useful for our players, and we already started to work on them. Other ideas however are easier to implement, and so feedback from our players will be essential for us to adapt our accessibility roadmap and priorities. I can tell you that the accessibility future of Just Dance is bright.
Here is a full list of the accessibility options available in Just Dance 2023 Edition:
CONTROLS (Motor, Cognitive, Vision)
- Map tags for accessibility on every map (seated, ground-free, jump-free).
VISUAL (Cognitive, Vision)
- Readability option to display names of songs above the song covers.
AUDIO (Hearing, Cognitive)
- Option to adjust volume levels for menu, music, sound effects, spoken voice and gameplay.
- Option to prevent songs playing automatically in menus.
HUD (Cognitive, Vision)
- Scoring feedback option to turn the scoring feedback ON/OFF.
- Lyrics option to turn the lyrics ON/OFF.
- Pictograms option to turn the pictograms ON/OFF.
Just Dance 2023 Edition is available for pre-order at the Ubisoft Store and launches on Switch, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S on November 22. For more on Just Dance 2023 Edition, or the Just Dance Controller App that turns your smartphone into a controller, visit justdancegame.com.
— Chastity Vicencio