2009: how iPlayer won the AccessIT@Home award

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Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Head of Audience Experience & Usability, BBC Future Media & Technology) on iPlayer winning the AccessIT@Home award in London, Sept 2009. …

Presentation given by Jonathan Hassell (Head of Audience Experience & Usability, BBC Future Media & Technology) on iPlayer winning the AccessIT@Home award in London, Sept 2009.

Covers: the difficulties disabled face with digital TV; iPlayer's accessible navigation (electronic programme guide - EPG) and media player; iPlayer's inclusion of programmes with subtitles/captions, signing, and audio description/descriptive video; how this enables all viewers to find, watch and enjoy programmes they may otherwise have missed; tools for cost-effective provision of online access services

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  • 1. Access-IT@Home award – BBC iPlayer Jonathan Hassell BBC Future Media & Technology
  • 2. BBC iPlayer summary
    • a website…
    • which enables people to be educated, informed, and entertained…
    • by BBC TV and radio programmes…
    • however, wherever and whenever they want…
    • in an accessible way…
    • thus advancing their independent living.
  • 3. Needs/Problems
    • Digital TV has brought many advances for disabled people in recent years…
      • access services - subtitles, signing, and audio description
      • these have made TV programmes more accessible to many disabled and elderly people
  • 4. Needs/Problems
    • but it ’s brought difficulties too, especially for disabled and elderly people:
      • “ what box do I need… and how expensive is it?”
        • for example, our focus groups found many blind and VI people unsure of:
          • worried about what set-top box they need to watch audio described programmes on TV
          • how much it costs
        • how to work out which programmes have audio description
        • and how to navigate to them…
  • 5. Needs/Problems
    • difficulties (contd.)
      • “ 57 channels and nothing on…”
        • finding the programmes you want can be difficult… across many channels… even using (sometimes complex) electronic programme guides
        • how do you manage this on a set-top box without a speaking electronic programme guide?
        • how do you find the programmes with signing or audio-description if they are in late transmission slots?
  • 6. How iPlayer solves the problems…
    • accessibility of the interface…
    • accessibility of the programmes…
  • 7. Accessibility of the interface
    • Accessibility of navigation
    • Accessibility of the media player
  • 8. Accessibility of the programmes
    • Subtitles…
    • over 90% of BBC iPlayer programmes have subtitles…
  • 9. Accessibility of the programmes
    • Signing
  • 10. Accessibility of the programmes
    • Audio Description (first video-on-demand site in the world to include this…)
  • 11. Key Benefits – for all
    • finding the right programmes to watch… when I want…
      • categories really help people find what they want – find the last 7 days of signed or audio-described programmes easily
      • people can watch them when they want – on demand
    • breaking out of limitations of set-top boxes
      • disabled people can use the ATs they rely on for watching TV now as well…
      • screenreaders are available free on PCs cf. very expensive to buy a set-top-box including speech
    • where STB limitations don ’t exist… this is still more affordable
      • e.g. access to Audio Description without needing to buy the right set-top-box
    • better enables all people to be educated, informed, and entertained through an affordable, inclusive, mainstream product
  • 12. Where it is currently offered
    • just in the UK, for the moment…
    Total stream/download requests Daily stream/download requests 11.2m 361,000 Jan 08 14m 482,000 Feb 08 17.2m 556,000 Mar 08 21m 699,000 April 08 21.8m 700,000 May 08 20.4m 680,000 June 08 20.3m 653,000 July 08 21.2m 684,000 Aug 08 22.8m 759,000 Sept 08 30.6m 987,000 Oct 08 35.1m 1,170,000 Nov 08 Dec 08 41m 1,324,000 34.5m 1,231,000 Jan 09 35.7m 1,274,000 Feb 09 40.9m 1,319,000 Mar 09 39.1m 1,475,000 April 09 37.4m 1,246,000 June 09 41.6m 1,341,000 May 09
  • 13. What people are saying… That is absolutely fantastic news about the iPlayer!! Brilliant. I'm going to use this so much now :-) I have just watched all this weeks episodes with audio description and I am impressed. There is a pause, stop button which is easy to locate and you can even restart the episode. If you go back again it will take you to the same place where it was if you listened last time. I find it very accessible and easy to work and I am very pleased with it. Only problem, it has made me start watching Eastenders again!
  • 14. Replication
    • most websites can be made accessible for reasonable cost…
      • by following the WCAG 2 guidelines from early in the web development process and interfacing well with assistive technologies.
    • however, accessible video requires access services to be created
      • by the video ’s creator, as assistive technologies cannot translate video into something universally accessible.
    • this makes the cost-effective provision of access services for online video one of the most important and challenging issues facing accessibility at present
  • 15. Replication
    • BBC iPlayer has created:
      • universally usable online playout mechanisms for accessible video through our Embedded Media Player
      • the workflow tools to allow access services created for broadcast TV to be reused to create access services for online
    • our success and high accessibility benchmark has encouraged other UK broadcasters…
      • to further develop their online offerings, encouraging them to aim for similar levels of accessibility
    • we are also offering iPlayer technologies to other broadcasters…
      • both in the UK, and in the rest of the world, via the Open iPlayer initiative…
      • to aid them in providing similar levels of navigation accessibility and access services on their VOD sites
  • 16. Replication
    • and, as always, the BBC is sharing what we know via our accessibility standards & guidelines
      • these now include our subtitling guidelines
      • and will include more video accessibility guidelines in the future.
  • 17. Future Plans
    • ensuring iPlayer continues to set best practice for VOD as we progress:
      • cross platform
        • iPlayer on TV, games consoles, mobile phones
      • personalisation
        • of recommendations, playlists etc.
        • of presentation colours
  • 18. For more information
    • iPlayer – www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer
    • Accessibility blogs on iPlayer - www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/accessibility/
  • 19. e: jonathan@hassellinclusion.com t: @jonhassell w: www.hassellinclusion.com Contact me