Accessible Media Players and Resources

What is an Accessible media player?

Accessible media players provide a user interface that works without a mouse, through speech interface, when the page is zoomed larger, and with screen readers.

What are the specifications of an Accessible media player?

Accessible media players should meet these features:
1. Allow to start and stop video/audio
2. Option to Control the volume up and down
3. Option to watch video in full screen
4. Switch element to mute sound
5. Skip forward and backward through video/audio
6. Show/hide captions
9. Ability to choose captions from multiple languages
10. Must work with keyboard [users should not rely on mouse]
11. Must have visible focus during keyboard interaction
12. Must work with voice recognition software
13. Players need to be robust [work on all major browsers and platforms]
14. Option to provide a synchronized transcript for the video/audio

Accessible Media Players

Why Use Accessible Video Player?
Visual representation of accessible media player with synchronized captions & text transcript
Youtube Video with Synchronized Captions and Text Transcript

We compiled a list of accessible audio & video players to make audio and video content accessible for a wide variety of individuals with disabilities. We have not tested all the media players below in the list and we cannot watch for the accessibility as the code is updated regularly. If there is any plugin or media player resource we missed, let us know in the comments and we will update it.

  • AblePlayer
    Able Player is a fully accessible cross-browser HTML5 media player that supports audio and video. It includes a full set of player controls that are keyboard-accessible, properly labeled for screen reader users, and controllable by speech recognition users and includes customizable keyboard shortcuts that enable the player to be operated from anywhere on the web page.
  • Accessible HTML5 Video Player – by PayPal
    A lightweight HTML5 video player which includes support for captions and screen reader accessibility. It provides an HTML5 video player with custom controls. It supports captions; simply denote a VTT caption file using the standard HTML5 video syntax and uses native HTML5 form controls for volume (range input) and progress indication (progress element). It is accessible to keyboard-only users and screen reader users.
  • Accessible JW Player
    JW Player enables viewers to have an accessible video experience without the use of a mouse.
  • Acorn Media Player
    Acorn Media Player is built with accessibility in mind. It provides full keyboard access using standard tab-based navigation, screen-reader (and other AT) support, accessible themes, and other accessibility tweaks.
  • American Federation for the Blind Media Player
    The AFB Accessible Player makes it easy for people with vision loss to play videos online. The AFB Accessible Player leverages HTML 5 and cascading style sheets (CSS) to allow low-vision users to take advantage of websites’ high-contrast color schemes to select the font sizes and colors they find easiest to read. The controls are labeled with text, so they work with any kind of assistive technology, such as screen-reading software, braille displays and screen-magnification software, as well as a mouse. The video can be expanded to full screen, which is helpful for users with low vision.
  • AMI player – from Accessible Media INC
    The AMI-player is designed to function with a variety of assistive technologies. It operates with aural controls and features open described video with optional closed captioning and transcripts.
  • BBC Standard Media Player (SMP)
    The Standard Media Player (SMP) is at the centre of BBC online delivering audio and video content across all BBC products such as News, Sport, Weather, iPlayer, Radio and live events. It is a responsive player that replaces a variety of legacy players with a goal of delivering great quality playback, consistency and a better user experience across products and devices.
  • Brightcove Accessible Video Player
    Brightcove Player development allows you to customize, integrate with, or add functionality to your players. Development tools are the Player API, and the standard web technologies of HTML5, CSS and JavaScript.
  • Kaltura Player
    The Kaltura Player leads the industry in flexibility, ease of customization, plug-in offerings and loading speed. Every feature is supported for both both HTML5 and Flash with the same configuration, bringing unparalleled ease of feature integration across platforms. We invite to explore the vast feature set of the Kaltura Player on your Tablets and Mobile Devices, and use the HTML5 / Flash player switch tool present on almost all feature pages.
  • MediaElement.js
    A complete HTML/CSS audio/video player built on top – MediaElement.js and jQuery . Many great HTML5 players have a completely separate Flash UI in fallback mode, but MediaElementPlayer.js uses the same HTML/CSS for all players. Accessibility standards including WebVTT.
  • Nomensa’s Accessible Video Player
    Nomensa’s Accessible Media Player (AMP) is a flexible multimedia solution for websites and intranets, supporting several media formats, and customizable to address different website designs. This player is support standard media files like MP3, MP4 or FLV, as well as content hosted on YouTube or Vimeo.
  • Open Media Player
    Open Media Player is a mainstream audio and video player that puts accessibility front and centre. We put the emphasis on ease of use for end-users and authors.
  • OzPlayer
    OzPlayer is compliant with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines and free for non-profit use. OzPlayer features captions, transcripts, offers keyboard navigation and audio and uses modern web standards like HTML5.
  • Plyr
    A simple, customizable HTML5 Video, Audio, YouTube and Vimeo player
  • Video.js
    Video.js is a web video player built from the ground up for an HTML5 world. It supports HTML5 video and modern streaming formats, as well as YouTube, Vimeo, and even Flash. It supports video playback on desktop and mobile devices.
  • WET Media Player
    Provides an accessible multimedia player for embedding video and audio into web pages.

Guidelines from W3C

This section includes a collection of formal guidelines from W3C:

  • Media Accessibility User Requirements
    This document presents the accessibility requirements users with disabilities have with respect to audio and video on the web.
  • Multimedia accessibility FAQ
    W3C’s internal multimedia accessibility policy is in place to ensure that W3C’s work is accessible to all, including people with disabilities who cannot hear audio or see video, and to ensure that it meets W3C’s own standards
  • User Agent Accessibility Guidelines
    UAAG 2.0 guides developers in designing user agents that make the web more accessible to people with disabilities. User agents include browsers, media players and applications that render web content. Specifically the following guidelines:
  • WebVTT: The Web Video Text Tracks Format
    WebVTT files provide captions or subtitles for video content, and also text video descriptions [MAUR], chapters for content navigation, and more generally any form of metadata that is time-aligned with audio or video content.

Other Multimedia Guidelines

This section consists of guidelines related to media and multimedia accessibility:

  • 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act – Title II
    The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) was signed into law by President Obama on October 8, 2010. The CVAA updates federal communications law to increase the access of persons with disabilities to modern communications. The CVAA makes sure that accessibility laws enacted in the 1980s and 1990s are brought up to date with 21st century technologies, including new digital, broadband, and mobile innovations.
  • Specification for an accessible media player
    This includes a set of guidelines required for an accessible video player by Coolfields
  • Video Accessibility Principles
    Video accessibility principles and guidelines listed by AccessibilityOz. They are an accessibility consultancy with offices in Australia and the United States. They test websites, mobile sites and applications and work with small and large organisations and Government departments to meet their accessibility obligations.
  • Video Accessibility requirement
    This set of guidelines consists of the audio and video requirements for hearing-impaired people and visually impaired people, requirements for internalisation, entertainment, for archiving and functionalities required around additional data tracks and audio / video.

Alternative Formats

This segment covers captions / subtitles, sign language and audio description.


This section covers the general requirements and technicalities for accessible multimedia:

Audio Description

This section covers requirements and technicalities related to audio description for accessible multimedia:

  • Best Practices for Post Production and Emerging Forms of Post Production
    This presentation from Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) Pacific Rim Disabilities Conference includes the best practices for post-Production and forms of Audio Description
  • YouDescribe
    YouDescribe is a free audio description tool for making YouTube videos accessible to viewers who are blind or visually impaired. It provides audio description tool for YouTube videos.

Captioning and Subtitles

This section covers requirements and technicalities related to captioning and subtitles for accessible multimedia:

  • Amara
    Amara is a project of the Participatory Culture Foundation (PCF), a nonprofit working to build a more inclusive media ecosystem since 2006. Amara provides captioning service and are driven to ensure that life-enriching content is available to everyone, whether or not they can hear or understand the language of the video.
  • Android Developer Guidelines for captions
    This post contains methods for accessing and monitoring preferred video captioning state and visual properties.
  • Guidance on standards for subtitling – OFCOM
    OFCOM consulted to improve the quality of live subtitling on UK TV to benefit deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers, among others and this article, on the basis of samples of live subtitling, lists the guidelines broadcasters should be required to follow for quality of subtitles.
  • How to load captions to YouTube videos
    This Wikihow article explains the step-by-step process of loading captions for Youtube videos
  • ROI analysis and SEO benefits of closed captioning – 3Play Media
    This is an ebook explaining how transcription and captioning are an easy way to elevate your content and optimize videos for search traffic with case studies.

Blogs and Articles

This section consists of blogs and articles related to media player accessibility and their features and requirements:

  • A more accessible HTML5 media player – Dev Opera
    This article by Ionuț Colceriu describes how to address problems with WAI-ARIA, and add some further accessibility enhancements to the player, such as captions.
  • Accessible HTML video as a background
    This article explains how to make using video as a background accessible for everyone as it is on the increase. It includes a review of major sites and a list of guidelines on how to do it right.
  • Audio Description or Media Alternative for Synchronised Multimedia
    This article explains the WCAG principle 1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative, the requirements, why it is important, benefitted disability types and the common mistakes.
  • Autoplay is bad for all users
    This article will explain what the major problems are for Autoplay, why it is a bad idea not just for accessibility but for usability and general sanity while browsing and what you can do if autoplay is a must have.
  • Comparison of features in accessible HTML5 video players
    This articles includes a tabular comparative check of the various features of HTML 5 videos players.
  • I Heart Subtitles – by Dawn Jones
    This blog talks about the importance of making video-on-demand content accessible.
  • Practical cross-browser accessible media player – MSDN
    This article explores the benefits of using HTML5 for media playback, lists sample code and addresses some major issues that developers face and present solutions to those problems.
  • Standard Media Player accessibility – BBC
    This article describes the features of the Standard Media Player which is at the centre of BBC online delivering audio and video content across all BBC products such as News, Sport, Weather, iPlayer, Radio and live events.
  • The great video game subtitle debate: On or Off
    This blog involves a debate on whether video game subtitles should be on or off which helps understand different perspectives of the accessibility effect.
  • Web Accessibility requirements for media players – Researchgate
    This paper presents an overall study on standards and players with accessibility requirements. Solutions to improve the accessibility features in the YouTube player has been presented. Based on this study, a set of guidelines to take into account for including accessibility requirements in players have also been presented.