‘That’s much better than before’: testing the Easy YouTube Player

I’ve been user testing the Easy YouTube Player on a one-to-one basis with some people with learning disabilities who are supported by United Response.

The feedback has been really good with comments like “oh that’s much better than before” and “when is youtube going to look like this?”

Every person who tested this player thought it was much better and easier to use than the standard YouTube player.

Here are the headlines from user testing sessions so far. There’s much more detail but I’ll cut to the chase

Things people liked

  • The control buttons. They were the right size and were easy to understand
  • Being able to change the video size
  • The volume indicator
  • The search facility
  • Being able to put the address in the address bar and see the video they wanted, even if they needed help to do it

Things people wanted to be different

  • Less information on the player (too many words)
  • Things to be organised a bit differently
  • The address facility to be at the bottom of the player, not at the top. (The screen was the main concern.)

Things people would like but are not there

  • A state change to show that you are about to select a button or a video size
  • Visual clues for the different video size options
  • Pictures for the search results (Or if not then, for it to be clearer that you can select these options)
  • A timecode to tell you how long the video is
  • Something to tell you how many videos you will get from the search facility


It was interesting to see how many people did not know you could be on more than website at the same time. (The copy and paste element of finding a video and then pasting it into the address bar caused problems for some. Although, others picked this up quickly!) Every tester used IE.

This is a player and not a re-working of the YouTube site. I found that for some people, the most meaningful way of using the player would be if it was a viewing option once you had selected the video you wanted to see on YouTube itself.

The use of pictures on the site is good in terms of being a visual prompt for people when selecting what it is they want to see. There are other issues with the site but this function is considered by the people I worked with to be good.


So, I had a little play taking the current Easy YouTube player to see how it might look (not function!) in response to this user testing. It might look like this (updated with timecode):

visual of easy youtube player reworked

visual of easy youtube player reworked

I appreciate that this might not be possible in terms of what is technically possible but I hope this is interesting? If it could be progressed to include thumbnails of the videos, it would most likely need to change shape slightly as the thumbnails would need to be big enough to be meaningful.

There are some more people I would like to test with, who I haven’t got hold of yet, so it’s possible that other things are thrown up. It’s an ongoing conversation, of course.

The best finding so far is that making this player accessible in these ways helps people to feel included. Just having more control has made so much difference to the people I have been working with. And I hope therefore that many more people will benefit from it.


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8 Responses to “‘That’s much better than before’: testing the Easy YouTube Player”

  1. Scripting Enabled » Blog Archive » Results of Easy YouTube user testing with people with learning disabilities Says:

    […] Accessibility User Testing goddess Antonia Hyde from United Response just posted the results of user testing the Easy YouTube player with people with learning disabilities on her blog […]

  2. Chris Heilmann Says:

    Great! None of these are actually a big issue. I am already pulling the video thumbnails but don’t display them :)

    The time display is no issue, but you didn’t put it in the visual? :)

    I talked to Zara at 2gether08 and she’s working with a company that fits out wheelchairs with laptops and will follow this up to install Firefox with an automated redirect to easy youtube for youtube URLs.

    As for IE, that will be a more problematic change. I think installing the bookmarklet is the only option.

  3. Caz Mockett Says:

    Really interesting stuff, Antonia.

  4. Antonia Hyde Says:

    @ Christian

    That all sounds very hopeful and interesting! :)

    Thanks for noticing the missing time display. I’ve now added it where I think it might be best, but this is only my opinion.

    I couldn’t remember how many videos get pulled up by the search so I put 20 in. Not sure if that’s right?

    @ Caz

    I’m glad you think so. People really liked it! :)

  5. bruce Says:

    This is great, Christian and Antonia. And a pleasure to meet you today, Antonia!

  6. Antonia Hyde Says:

    @ Bruce

    Good to meet you too! :)

  7. iheni Says:

    Really good stuff Antonia and Christian, I think the work you are doing is great. I forwarded info on it to people at work, many of whom have sight problems, and the response was really positive.

    Sharing the results of the user testing is also very useful as well and good stuff to bare in mind with regards to considerations for people with cognitive impairments in other web projects.

    Antonia, will you be at ScriptEnabled?

  8. Antonia Hyde Says:


    Hello! That’s good to hear. Yes, I’ll be at Scripting Enabled. :)

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