Wistia aims to increase the the number of videos that are accessible to everyone.

Caroline F avatar
Written by Caroline F
Updated over a week ago

What is Accessibility?

Ever used the spacebar to pause a video? Yup, that’s an accessibility feature! Accessibility can be summarized as providing an inclusive experience for all people, regardless of ability, to consume the same content. We tend to think of accessibility needs as being for the blind or deaf, but there are many to consider - physical impairment (the loss of limb, or limited function of limbs), difficulty of fine motor skills, colorblindness, low/limited vision, and cognitive impairment. Users should not be limited in their ability to view content, and accessibility work aims to improve the web experience for all.

How do we make our player accessible?

Our player aligns with WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines for accessibility. So what specifically are accessible features within the Wistia product? Here are just a few, to read more on our move to an accessible player check out our blog post here.

Accessibility Checklist

You’ll notice within Wistia there is an Accessibility Checklist in the Customize menu - let’s walk through it!

Accessibility Checklistm
  • Screen Reader Legible

    • We are compatible with screen readers such as VoiceOver (Apple), TalkBack (Android), and JAWS (Windows).

  • Keyboard Compatible

    • The player is fully functional with the keyboard alone, and built to handle various assistive technologies for both desktop and mobile.

  • High Contrast Player Color

    • The player color is accessible by default, and we offer an accessible color chooser via the Customize menu. Learn more about minimum WCAG contrast minimums/requirements here.

  • Thumbnail Alt Text

    • A description of the thumbnail can be added via the Customize panel

  • Visible Player Controls

    • Player controls such as the play button, volume, settings, and captions are persistent in the play bar

  • Audio Descriptions

    • Audio Descriptions are alternate audio tracks used for narrating important video content that blind or low-vision viewers would otherwise be unable to access. You can read more about Audio Descriptions here.

  • Captions and Transcripts

    • We integrate with a 3rd party service to have automated captions generated that promote having transcriptions across your entire account. While they’re not as accurate as our by-hand captions, our captions provider is continuously working to improve it.

Accessible Play Bar

The play bar in the Wistia player has been designed to be simple and easy to navigate, and the transparency allows a pathway for the player to detect a specific contrast ratio to know the player is accessible. Additionally, we’ve designed the video duration to be persistent in the lower left hand corner.

Multiple Player Languages

We offer multiple player languages based on the language that a viewer’s player is in. We now support the following languages: Arabic, German, Spanish, American English, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Chinese.

An Accessible Mobile Player

Beyond an accessible desktop player, Wistia also has an accessibly mobile player as well. Here’s what makes our mobile player easy for anyone to use:

  • high contrast playbar

  • skip ahead/back 10 seconds

  • big mobile controls

  • ellipses show and hide controls once the playbar has reached 60% (easier to see content vs playbar as needed)

  • stacking/vertical animation - to show you where the controls appear once you interact with the player

  • suppressing the player branding on mobile - this takes up less space, and leaves more video visible

  • Default player color (we are changing from low contrast blue to a deeper high contrast blue. Newly uploaded videos will have the new default color, old videos will stay the same)

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