Updating video player and (possibly) strange keyboard interaction

Colin Clark colinbdclark at gmail.com
Thu Dec 6 15:58:32 UTC 2012

Hi Jon,

I'm not sure this is quite the right approach to take. If I remember correctly, we did a comparative analysis of other video players to determine our approach to keyboard navigation. In particular, we have to keep a close eye on YouTube, since, whether we like it or not, the vast majority users will be most familiar with it. Do you know if that page is in the wikis somewhere?

As I quick refresher, I just tested a few players to see how they handle keyboard navigation. Here's what I found:

* When I use the HTML5 YouTube player, the left and right arrow keys control the scrubber. Play is the first button in tab order, and each subsequent control is focusable linearly with the tab key.

* In QuickTime player on Mac OS X, the keyboard navigation process is identical. Scrubber is moved with the arrow keys, play is is the first target, etc.

So, to summarize: I'm not averse to doing something different with keyboard navigation, but I think it makes sense to be very well informed first with how others do it, and then have strong arguments for diverging from the norm.

For your proposal, what's the rationale for a toolbar-style of navigation where each control is focusable with the arrow keys? And why do you think the scrubber should be the first control to be focusable? And if you give up the arrow keys to the other buttons, how will you handle the scrubber?


On 2012-12-06, at 8:58 AM, Jonathan Hung <jhung at ocadu.ca> wrote:

> Issue 1: The control panel button highlighting / focusing looks like it should navigable horizontally (see attached screen shot)
> Once the Play button has focus, it appears as if the controls can be navigated horizontally by pressing the left or right arrow keys (similar to how drop-down menu headers are keyboard navigable once an item has focus). However, this isn't the case. The only way to move to the next player control is by pressing the TAB key again. Which brings us to the next issue.
> Issue 2: The scrubber bar breaks the tab order of the control panel
> Once the Play button has focus, it's expected that the next focusable item would be Volume, followed by Captions, and Transcript. Currently the tab order is Play > Volume > Scrubber > Captions > Transcripts. This order feels jarring as the expected flow is broken by the scrubber bar.
> Joanna and I propose the following fix to make the keyboard interaction a bit smoother:
> 1. Make the player controls navigable left and right using the arrow keys, similar to how the left and right arrow keys move the scrubber left and right.
> 2. Change the tab order to: Play > Volume > Captions > Transcripts > Scrubber.
> Since we are pushing to fix critical issues with Video Player currently, I suspect these proposed improvements are lower priority. All the same, I would still like to see these improvements some time in the future.
> Thoughts?

Colin Clark

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