CSUN Session Preview: The Accessibility of Video Players

AccessibilityOz CEO Gian Wild is running three information sessions at this year’s CSUN Assistive Technology Conference in San Diego, USA, so we thought we’d give you a bit of background on what you can expect from each session.

Session Details
Session: The Accessibility of Video Players
Time: 9am, Thursday 22 March
Location: Old Town AB, 2nd Floor, Seaport Tower


Video is now ubiquitous. One third of all online activity consist of watching video, and over half of all video content is accessed via a mobile device. Over 500 million people watch video on Facebook every day – that’s over 100 million hours of video! On YouTube, the numbers are even higher – over 500 million hours of video are watched every day.

Almost everyone understands the need for accessibility features like transcripts, captions and audio descriptions for people with disabilities: these features are also important to people without a disability when viewing video. Over 85% of all Facebook video is viewed without sound – and, if a video has captions, a user is twice as likely to finish the video than if it did not have captions.

We all know Google is blind and deaf and we see that in revenue as well – videos with transcripts earn 16% more revenue than videos without transcripts. And what has been dubbed the “Broadchurch effect” (due to the strong accents in the BBC drama “Broadchurch”), the BBC found that 80% of people who use captions are not using it for accessibility reasons.

What does this mean for video players?

To provide accessible video solutions, website owners must provide a variety of accessibility features. One of the requirements is that the video player itself must be accessible. Lack of accessibility in video players can be the consequence of a number of things, but usually includes inadequate keyboard access, inoperable captions and non-existence of audio descriptions and transcripts.

Testing video player accessibility

AccessibilityOz conducted a series of tests on 37 major video players currently on the market, both free and paid, one of which was our own OzPlayer.

OzPlayer screenshot


First, we tested them on a PC on Google Chrome and excluded video players that contained what we called “show-stoppers”: serious accessibility failures.

The remaining video players were then tested with people with vision impairments reliant on various screen readers. Any video players that contained show-stoppers were excluded from any additional testing.

Thirdly, we tested on two different mobile devices, again excluding video players that contained show-stoppers.

Finally, we tested whatever was left with an iPad and a Bluetooth keyboard.

We tested the following video players:

  • AblePlayer
  • Acorn
  • Adobe
  • AFB
  • Amazon
  • AMI Player
  • Brightcove
  • Facebook
  • JW Player
  • Kaltura
  • MediaElement
  • MediaSite
  • Ooyala
  • OzPlayer
  • Panopto
  • PayPal
  • Plyr
  • RAMP
  • Video.js
  • Vidyard
  • Vimeo
  • Viostream
  • Wistia
  • Yahoo
  • YouTube
  • YouTube embed

At the end of the testing only two video players qualified as accessible.

Which ones were they? And how did each other video player get eliminated?

Well, that’s what the session is all about.

We can say now that this is the third year we have conducted this testing. As in previous years, the same two video players were the only ones that did not contain show-stoppers.

Although we have seen improvements – such as more video players supporting audio descriptions – we have also seen the advent of new show-stoppers – such as reverse keyboard traps.

If you’re at CSUN, come along to Gian’s information session and dig a little deeper into The Accessibility of Video Players.