Enhancing accessibility of Virtual reality, Augmented reality, and Mixed reality

Table of Contents



  • Virtual reality (VR), Augmented reality (AR), and Mixed reality (MR) are immersive technologies that have gained popularity in education application recently. The use of these technologies could render a real-world training environment which could be used to facilitate authentic learning.
  • The virtual or augmented environment and learning content could be customized to help cater for diverse learning and access needs of students.
    • For example, virtual field trips could be produced to facilitate the learning experiences of students using wheelchairs when the field sites are really inaccessible to them or when alternative field sites are unavailable.
  • Make sure usual accessibility Application Programming Interface (APIs) are used in the development of the chosen software. Consider accessibility throughout the whole process of the design and production.
  • Heavy headsets, hand tracking, and large handheld controllers with rigid buttons of some VR / AR / MR equipment may be barriers for some users such as students with mobility disability.
    • Provide keyboard-only control for navigation and manipulation.
  • Some users with visual impairment may encounter difficulty navigating in the virtual or augmented space.
    • Provide audio descriptions to facilitate users with visual impairment to understand the environments or any text overlay on the screen.
    • Allow users to magnify the content.
    • Ensure sufficient colour contrast of the content.
  • Some deaf or hard-of-hearing users may encounter difficulty immersing in the experience where it is highly dependent on sound effect or audio to render the experience.
    • Provide transcripts and closed captioning for the audio elements of the experience.
    • Provide adjustable volume and caption controls to allow flexibility.
  • Robust Internet connections and high-performance computers may be required.
  • Interface design and manipulation might be complicated.
    • Provide tutorial of user interface operation for first-time users.
  • Virtual reality experience may trigger motion sickness in some users.
    • Limit the duration of the use each time.
    • Arrange a trial for potential users to try to assess the possibility of motion sickness, especially for first-time users. For examples, some users may not have prior experience of immersing in virtual reality, and they may not be aware that they would experience motion sickness.
  • Content that flashes more than three times per second may trigger unpleasant feelings, dizziness, nausea, or seizures in some people, such as people who are photosensitive.
  • According to the WCAG Success Criterion 2.3.1, websites should not contain “anything that flashes more than three times in any one second period”.

Guidelines developed World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)