Accessible media players are those that support accessibility features such as captions and audio descriptions, can be operated with the keyboard alone, have sufficient contrast, and have controls that are properly labeled for assistive technology users.
This is one of several features that are needed for making videos accessible. For additional information, see our IT Accessibility Checklist page on Audio and video.
Comparison of media players
Ken Petry of The Ohio State University compiled a Web-Based Media Player Accessibility Comparison Table which included over a dozen media players and attempted to document their level of support for various accessibility features. This project is now dormant (last updated in 2016), but still serves as a good starting point for comparing players.
Able Player is a free, open-source media player that was designed and created at the UW with accessibility in mind. It is currently the only media player that supports all five purposes for timed text, as documented in the HTML5 specification:
- captions – text version of spoken audio and important sounds. See our Captions page for more information.
- subtitles – text translation of spoken audio into other languages.
- descriptions – audio description provided as timed text, for browsers to read aloud using synthesized speech.
- chapters – a means of organizing a video into sections, to so users can easily jump to key points in the video.
- metadata – a highly flexible method for adding clickable hotspots or other content as an overlay, for making video interactive without compromising accessibility.
Also, Able Player can automatically assemble the chapters, descriptions, and captions/subtitles into an interactive transcript.
For additional information about Able Player, see the Able Player project website on GitHub.