Provide an accessible media player

Audio and video should be provided using an accessible media player. To support media accessibility features, including captions and audio descriptions, use a player with controls that are clearly identified and that can be operated using the keyboard (see the section on Interaction for general requirements).

  • Do not use autoplay. Leave it to the user to decide when to play the media.
  • Ensure that controls are keyboard accessible. This means all controls are operable using only the keyboard and do not require the use of a mouse.
  • Support alternative formats. The media player should support captions and audio descriptions.


For every page that includes a media player:

  • Does the audio or video start playing only in response to a user action?
  • Are all of the controls reachable using the keyboard? Do they respond to standard keyboard commands? Is there a clear focus indicator?
  • Does each control have a descriptive name? Is the current state of each control clear? For example, does the Play/Pause button convey whether the video is playing or paused?
  • Can the player toggle the display of captions?
  • Can the player play audio descriptions?


✎ Technique: Choosing a media player

Media player accessibility is essential for video content. Evaluate the accessibility and cross-device compatibility of the media player that comes with your video-distribution platform. Test the player in different platforms and devices to evaluate the user experience it provides out of the box.


Test the player for keyboard accessibility:

  • Can all the controls receive keyboard focus?
  • Can you operate them using your keyboard?
  • Can you see which control has focus?

Also try using the media player with a screen reader.

  • Are all the controls’ names announced?
  • Do the controls’ names make sense—do they describe the function of the control?
  • Is the current setting or status of each control announced? For example, does the scrub control announce the time point that it currently refers to? When the video is paused, is the Play/Pause button labelled as “play” (the action associated with activating it) and vice versa?

Also check whether the media player offers captions, and that the controls to enable and disable captions are accessible using the keyboard.

Video: Testing a media player for accessibility