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for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

The American Foundation for the Blind Creates an Accessible Video Player and Makes It Available As a Free Download

NEW YORK (May 5, 2015)—Today, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) made its new, accessible HTML5 embedded video player available as a free download. The AFB Accessible Player makes it easy for people with vision loss to play videos online, something that can be fraught with accessibility challenges.

"People with vision loss need equal access to online videos for school, work and entertainment. People who are blind typically use only a keyboard, but many current video players are designed for mouse only, with no way to interact with the controls via the keyboard," said Crista Earl, director of AFB Web Services. "Other video players have buttons with unlabeled images, so people using screen readers and people with low vision can’t easily fast forward, pause or rewind the video."

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. It can be used either as an embedded YouTube player or as a standard player, and the custom control layout supports both English and Spanish languages. The player also provides fallback options for older browsers. HTML5 is the standard supported by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which provides enhanced functionality for modern websites and helps make the Internet more accessible.

AFB's own websites are designed for accessibility, and AFB Tech, AFB's technology division, regularly helps businesses to make their online presence more user friendly for people with disabilities. Initially, the AFB Accessible Player was developed for visitors to the AFB family of websites, but because so many developers are looking for specific solutions to make their websites accessible, AFB made the decision to share the player online.

"This HTML5 player is unlike anything else currently available, and we feel this is a big leap forward for blind and visually impaired users," added Earl.

"As an organization, we are committed to promoting accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired," said Carl R. Augusto, AFB president and CEO. "We encourage developers to download and use this video player. With more than 20 million Americans living with vision loss, a lot of people could benefit from wide use of this player."

AFB's new HTML5 player is available for download free of charge at www.afb.org/player.

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About AFB

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.

Contact:

Tina Chapman
AFB Communications
212-502-7614
tchapman@afb.net

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