Michael Heron

Senior lecturer, Interaction Design and Software Engineering (IDSE) division, Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

About me

My primary research interests are in accessibility, computer games, and accessibility in computer games. I believe inclusivity in technology to be one of the most important elements for ensuring that all members of society can participate equally within the emerging digital economy, and that lack of access to technology can be stigmatizing, especially when considering younger individuals and entertainment technology. I am also interested in the accessibility of tabletop games which I see as being part of a growing convergence of tabletop games and video games into simply ‘games’.

Linked to this is an ongoing interest in computer ethics, social responsibility, and professional issues. Much of my work in other areas includes a strong dose of ethic and moral investigation even when it is not the primary focus.

I am also the site editor and main writer for Meeple Like Us, a board game blog focused on the accessibility of board games.

You can read more about my interests and projects here.

Some Notes for Students

As a general policy, I don't add students as Facebook friends until they have graduated. I will be happy to add you at that point - please don't feel offended if I don't respond before then.

I'm happy to discuss project supervisions, particularly in game and accessibility related topics. I'm also happy to just chat about these topics informally any time you want to explore ideas.
Technology Driven Experimental Gameplay DesignAugmented Reality mod​ule, examiner and course responsible

Game Development Project - Examiner and Course Responsible

Introduction to Game Research - Course Responsible


  1. Heron, M.J, Belford, P. (2020). Authoritarianism and Anonymity: Continuing to explore the Scandal in Academia. Computers and Society 49(3). 19-27,
  2. Crabb, M., Heron, M. J., Jones, R., Armstrong, M., Reid, H., & Reid, A. (2019, in press). Developing Accessible Services: Understanding Current Knowledge and Areas for Future Support. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems Proceedings (CHI 2019), May 4–9, 2019, Glasgow, Scotland UK. ACM, New York, NY, USA, https://doi.org/10.1145/3290605.3300446
  3. Crabb, M., Clarke, D., Alwaer, H., Heron, M. J., Laing, R. (2019, in press). Inclusive Design for Immersive Spaces. Proceedings of the 2019 European Academy of Design Conference. Forthcoming.
  4. Heron, M. J., Belford, P., Reid, H., Crabb, M. (2018). Meeple Centred Design – a Heuristic Toolkit for Evaluating the Accessibility of Tabletop Games. The Computer Games Journal7(2), 97-114. [Available online from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40869-018-0057-8]
  5. Heron, M. J., Belford, P., Reid, H., Crabb, M. (2018). Eighteen Months of Meeple Like Us. An Exploration into the State of Board Game Accessibility. The Computer Games Journal7(2), 75-95. [Available online from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40869-018-0056-9]
  6. Heron, M. J. (2018). The Things that Unite Us. The Computer Games Journal7(2), 45-47. [Available online from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40869-018-0054-y]
  7. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2017). Disclosure and Disavowal: Professional Issues in the Scandal in Academia. Computers and Society. 47(4). 29-45. ACM, New York. [Available online from https://dl.acm.org/authorize?N660610]
  8. Heron, M. J. (2017). Pacman’s Canon in C#: A Quantum Interpretation of Video Game Canon. The Computer Games Journal6(3), 135-151. [Available online from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40869-017-0036-5]
  9. Heron, M.J. (in press). Ethics in Computer Science. In The Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology. Taylor and Francis, Oxford. Forthcoming.
  10. Tyack, C., Camic, P. M., Heron, M. J., & Hulbert, S. (2017). Viewing art on a tablet computer: A well-being intervention for people with dementia and their caregivers. Journal of applied gerontology36(7), 864-894. [available online from https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/14021/1/Viewing_art_on_a_tablet_computer_camic_hulbert.pdf]
  11. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2016b). The Quantified University: An Analysis of the Scandal in Academia. Computers and Society. 46 (3). pp28-44. ACM, New York. [Available online from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3024953]
  12. Heron, M.J. (2016). Editorial: Cultural Integration and the Accessibility of Gaming. The Computer Games Journal. 5 (3). pp91-94. Springer: New York. [Available online from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40869-016-0028-x].
  13. Heron, M.J. (2016). Ethical and Professional Complications in the Construction of Multi-Developer Hobbyist Games. The Computer Games Journal. Springer: New York. [Available online from http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40869-016-0025-0]
  14. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2016a). Musings on Misconduct: A Practitioner Reflection of the Ethical Investigation of Plagiarism within Programming Modules. Computers and Society. 45 (3). ACM, New York. pp438-444. [Available online from http://dl.acm.org/authorize?N08508]
  15. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2015d). Fuzzy Ethics: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bot. Computers and Society. 45(4). pp4-6. ACM, New York. [Available online from http://dl.acm.org/authorize?N08509]
  16. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2015c). A Practitioner’s Reflection on Teaching Computer Ethics with Case Studies and Psychology. Brooks’ eJournal of Learning and Teaching. 7 (1). Oxford Broooks, Oxford. [Available online at http://bejlt.brookes.ac.uk/paper/a-practitioner-reflection-on-teaching-computer-ethics-with-case-studies-and-psychology/].
  17. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2015b). Power and Perception in the Scandal in Academia. Computers and Society. 45 (2). ACM, New York. [Available online from http://dl.acm.org/authorize?N08500]
  18. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2015a). All of your Co-Workers are Gone: Story, Substance, and the Empathic Puzzler. The Journal of Games Criticism. 2 (1). United States. [Available online at http://gamescriticism.org/articles/heronbelford-2-1]
  19. Heron, M.J. (2015c). Review: Rachel Kowert, Thorsten Quandt (eds): The Video Game Debate — Unravelling the Physical, Social and Psychological Effects of Digital Games. The Computer Games Journal. 4 (3). pp187-188. Springer: New York. [Available online at http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40869-015-0014-8″]
  20. Heron, M.J. (2015b). A Case Study Into the Accessibility of Text-Parser Based Interaction. The Seventh ACM SIGHCI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems. Duisburg, Germany. [Available online at http://dl.acm.org/authorize?N93958].
  21. Heron, M.J. (2015a). Everybody’s Talking About Pop Music: the Evolution of the Cinematic Video Game. The Computer Games Journal. Springer: New York. [Available online from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40869-015-0001-0]
  22. Pederson, S., Baxter, G., Burnett, S., MacLeod, I., Goker, A., Heron, M.J., Isaacs, J., Elyan, E., Kaliciak, L. (2015). Twitter response to televised political debates in Election 2015. In: D. Jackson and E. Thorsen, eds. UK Election Analysis 2015: Media, Voters and the Campaign; Early reflections from leading UK academics. Bournemouth: Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community, Bournemouth University. p. 73. [Available online at
     https://openair.rgu.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/10059/1334/Baxter%20UK%20Election%202015%20Twitter.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y]
  23. Heron, M.J., Belford, P., Goker, A. (2014). Sexism in the Circuitry: Female Participation in Male Dominated Popular Computer Culture. Computers and Society. 44 (4). ACM, New York. [Available online at http://dl.acm.org/authorize?N84609]
  24. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2014a). Ethics in Context: A Scandal in Academia. Computers and Society. 44 (2). ACM, New York. [Available online at http://dl.acm.org/authorize?N84600]
  25. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2014b). Do You Feel Like A Hero Yet? Externalised Morality in Video Games. The Journal of Game Criticism. 1(2). United States. [Available online at http://gamescriticism.org/articles/heronbelford-1-2]
  26. Heron, M.J., Belford, P. (2014c). It’s Only A Game: Ethics, Empathy and Identification in Game Morality Systems. The Computer Games Journal. 3(1). Scotland. [Available online at http://tcjg.weebly.com/uploads/9/3/8/5/9385844/tcgj_31_heronbelford.pdf]
  27. Spiel, K., Bertel, S., Heron, M.J. (2014). Navigation and Immersion of Blind Players in Text-Based Games. The Computer Games Journal 3 (2a). pp. 132-154. [Available online at http://tcjg.weebly.com/spiel-et-al.html]
  28. Heron, M.J., Hanson, V.L, & Ricketts, I. (2013a). The Technical Design of the ACCESS Framework. The Fifth ACM SIGHCI Symposium on Engineering Interactive Computing Systems. London, England. [Available online at http://dl.acm.org/authorize?N71670]
  29. Townsend, J, Heron, M.J. (2013). Authorship and Autership in the Collaborative Development Process of Text-Based Games. Chercher le Text: Locating the Text in Electronic Literature. Paris, France. [Available online at http://tinyurl.com/mk6v3k2]
  30. Heron, M.J., Hanson, V.L, & Ricketts, I. (2013b). Accessibility Support for Older Adults with the ACCESS Framework. The International Journal of Human Computer Interaction. Seattle, Washington. [Available online at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10447318.2013.768139?journalCode=hihc20#.UYlZAbXvsyg]
  31. Heron, M.J., Hanson, V.L, & Ricketts, I. (2013c). Open Source and Accessibility: Advantages and Limitations. The Journal of Interaction Science. 1(1). Cambridge, England. [Available online at http://www.journalofinteractionscience.com/content/1/1/2]
  32. Heron, M.J (2013). Likely to be Eaten by a Grue. The Computer Games Journal. 2(1), Scotland. [Available online at http://tcjg.weebly.com/heron-text-games.html]
  33. Vickers, S., Istance, H., Heron, M.J. (2013). Accessible Gaming for People with Physical and Cognitive Disabilities: A Framework for Dynamic Adaptation. Conference of Human Computer Interaction 2013. Seattle, Washington. [Available online at http://dl.acm.org/authorize?N71672]
  34. Heron, M.J (2012). Inaccessible Through Oversight: The Need for Inclusive Game Design. The Computer Games Journal 1(1). Glasgow, Scotland. [Available online at http://tcjg.weebly.com/heron.html]
  35. Heron, M.J., Hanson, V., & Ricketts, I. (2011). Accessibility Support with the ACCESS Framework. Digital Engagement ’11. Newcastle, United Kingdom.
  36. Heron, M.J. (2011). The ACCESS Framework: Reinforcement Learning for Accessibility and Cognitive Support for Older Adults (Doctoral dissertation). [Available online at http://hdl.handle.net/10588/4902]
  37. Heron, M.J. & Bown, J. (2003). Searching Trait Space. Poster session presented at the European Conference on Artificial Life ’03. Dortmund, Germany.​
​Here is a sampling of some talks and videos and the like that you might find interesting.  Or even useful.

The Inaccessibility of Fun - A talk delivered for the New York Times on the topic of accessible puzzle design.  [Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xlMnipN3ZI]

I'm a Fraud - The Signed Confessions of Dr. Michael James Heron - a seminar talk on imposter syndrome and why you need to give yourself a break.  [Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9B9uosPG5Ok]

Board Game Accessibility - A seminar w/ Pauline Belford at UKGE 2018.  [Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRAsqcG8bPA]

Some suggestions for accessible board games - Game Jam guidance.  [Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMstgp8iAvc&list=PLhjX85k9Yb1_6453Ukhf4qt6iBKVdMk9d&index=7]

Where Have All The Board Games Gone - Appearance on BBC Radio 4 regarding board game accessibility.  [Available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0005f1n]

How Video Games Affect Real-World Morality - Apparance on BBC Social.  [Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNW9e8vIC_4&list=PLhjX85k9Yb1_6453Ukhf4qt6iBKVdMk9d&index=8​​]









Page manager Published: Fri 17 Dec 2021.