Terrill Thompson, Very Able Player for Accessible Video

Accessibility Web + WordPress Meetup
Saturday, February 19, 2022

2:00 PM
 to 4:00 PM PST

link:  https://www.meetup.com/Accessibility-Web-WordPress/events/283471515/


Able Player is an open source HTML media player that was specifically created by following principles of universal design. Able Player includes a wide variety of accessibility features, and is the only media player that supports all five kinds of timed text tracks defined by the HTML specification (captions, subtitles, descriptions, chapters, and metadata), plus synchronized sign language. Able Player has been translated into 16 languages.

This session will provide a tour of Able Player, including specific instructions for how to implement the features shown.

The primary focus will be on features that are new in version 4.4, such as new options in the Description Preferences dialog that enable users to control the voice, rate, and pitch of audio description, when description is available as timed text (delivered by Able Player using speech synthesis).

The following are some of Able Player’s key accessibility features:

  • A full set of player controls that are keyboard-accessible, properly labeled for screen reader users, and controllable by speech recognition users.
  • Customizable keyboard shortcuts that enable the player to be operated from anywhere on the web page.
  • High contrast, scalable controls that remain visible in Windows High Contrast mode, plus an easy-to-see focus indicator so keyboard users can easily tell which control currently has focus.
  • Support for closed captions and subtitles in Web Video Timed Text (WebVTT) format, the standard format recommended by the HTML5 specification.
  • Support for chapters, also using WebVTT. Chapters are specific landing points in the video, allowing video content to have structure and be more easily navigated.
  • Support for text-based audio description, also using WebVTT. At designated times, the description text is read aloud by the browser. Users can optionally set their player to pause when audio description starts in order to avoid conflicts between the description and program audio. New in version 4.4, users can also set their preferred voice, rate, and pitch for reading audio description.
  • Support for audio description as a separate video. When two videos are available (one with description and one without), both can be delivered together using the same player and users can toggle between the versions.
  • Support for adjustable playback rate. Users who need to slow down the video in order to better process and understand its content can do so; and users who need to speed up the video in order to maintain better focus can do so.
  • An interactive transcript feature, built from the WebVTT chapter, description, and caption/subtitle files as the page is loaded. Users can click anywhere in the transcript to start playing the video (or audio) at that point. Keyboard users can also choose to keyboard-enable the transcript, so they can tab through its content one caption at a time and press enter to play the media at the desired point.
  • Automatic text highlighting within the transcript as the media plays. This feature is enabled by default but can be turned off if users find it distracting.
  • Support for synchronized sign language. Authors can provide a companion video featuring a sign language interpreter, and the interpreter video is played along side the main video.
  • Support for playing YouTube and Vimeo videos within Able Player.
  • Extensive customization.

Many of the features described above are controlled by user preferences. This is based on the belief that every user has different needs and there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

This is the heart of universal design.

Able Player on Git Hub (opens in new window): https://ableplayer.github.io/ableplayer/