6 thoughts on “Secret life of an accessible media player

  1. It’s a great pity that the iPlayer doesn’t autoplay by default: you yourself point out this is correct, since the purpose of the page is to embed the video. My many blind and physically-impaired users would greatly benefit from not having to tab thirtysix times to get to play. There seems to be a vociferous lobby against autoplay, I suspect from the more technically able (disabled or not). I guess they think YouTube doesn’t know what it’s doing!

  2. Hi Alasdair, like you, I’ve had feedback from blind users specifically asking for iPlayer to autoplay (which is does for live content but not for catch up). I do however state in the presentation that this is a preference and something users should be able to opt in/out of. It’s all about giving the user control as there are many subtleties involved. For example auto playing content might not be the best experience for a first time user who happens to be a screen reader user but may become more valued over time.

    I agree that there is a vociferous anti auto play lobby out there and the issue has been oversimplified – see auto play is bad for all users and my comments on a related post stating auto play can be a good thing.

    iPlayer are aware of this preference but there are lots of implications that come with adding an opt in/out feature; it’s not an easy fix. I’m afraid I’m no longer at BBC but it might be worth dropping a line to accessibility at bbc dot co dot uk and raising your concerns there.

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  4. Unfortunately, while slide contents were available to a sighted colleague, two screen readers and two browsers later, I can’t access them. My comment is therefore limited to the autoplay debate. The major potential issue if media plays automatically is that it can drown out the screen reader’s synthesizer. This, of course, renders even the most accessible controls ineffective. If, as I try to do, the synthesizer is routed to a separate sound card with its own olume control. the problem is circumvented.

  5. Hi Andrew – I’m not sure why that is as they should be. I will go back and check as I suspect something happened when the slides were uploaded to Slideshare.

    I did annotate the slides using the notes feature to give the full context of the talk and the transcript is available on Slideshare. There is now a link in the post itself however I might also turn the talk into a blog post or series of blog posts.

    Regarding the auto play debate I agree that the major pitfall is drowning out the screen reader. What I’m suggesting is that rather than dismiss auto play altogether that there is an opt in feature. This then accommodates disabled users who find it problematic to have to navigate the page and find the play button. My point is that for a better user experience for all disabled users (and indeed all users across the board) the user should be in control of their preferences.

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