Thursday, December 10, 2009

Video Accessible to Keyboard Users

Trenton Moss over at Webcredible has posted an article, Accessible online video for keyboard-only users. The concepts within are very simple, but require developers to take an extra step or two, which may account for why we see so few sites with these features implemented.

One key issue is that developers must not only code client-side script for mouse interaction, but also for keyboard interaction. Since IE behaves differently than other browsers, it must also be written twice (or at least forked). Another factor is the reliance on Flash players, which sometimes won't let you tab into the control from the rest of the page (again, depending on the browser). Regardless of whether the control is in Flash or just HTML with script, then the developer must provide a focus state for each control (so users can tell which is selected) and use a logical tab order.

The author gives the example of making the video slider accessible to keyboard users, perhaps allowing users to directly type in a time stamp so the video will jump to that point. This also benefits users who can rely on a mouse by providing a quick way to jump to a known point in the video. Volume sliders would benefit from this sort of update as well.

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