Accessible BBC iPlayer (Listen Again)
There is now a separate program for BBC Radio iPlayer. Go to the latest BBC iPlayer Radio.
The British Broadcast Company (BBC) allows people to listen to vast quantities of their TV output up to a week after it is first broadcast on one of their many TV stations. This service, called iPlayer, relies on a web browser interface that might be difficult for some users, especially people with screen readers.
Accessible BBC iPlayer allows you to access the BBC's iPlayer content through a truly accessible interface designed to work with any screen reader. Select programmes and stations with the cursor keys and listen to them at your leisure.
- You must have installed Adobe Macromedia Flash support for Internet Explorer. A guide to getting and installing Flash support.
The copyright of the BBC recordings is unchanged by this program: you are simply accessing them through a more accessible presentation of their own website.
- WebbIE Accessible Program Pack - includes Accessible BBC iPlayer TV.
Instructions for NVDA users
Users of the NVDA free screenreader may find the following instructions, written by Ivor Styles in July 2010, of use.
This procedure assumes the user has a current operating platform not earlier than Windows XP and will be using NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) screen reader because of the conflicts that will occur with other readers.
The user must firstly enable Mouse Keys via Control Panel and Accessibility Options and ensured the Number Lock is set to ON in order that the number pad operates the mouse.
Important Note! The Mouse itself MUST NOT be touched or accidentally knocked at any time during the period that this procedure is being used, therefore, it is advisable to place the mouse out of reach and in a stable position before commencing to use this procedure.
Some aspects of this procedure are covered in the Help notes in WebbIE but from experience it was discovered that a degree of refinement was necessary to get the BBC iPlayer in WebbIE to work in a personalised way, hence the purpose of this procedure.
- Open WebbIE BBC iPlayer Radio program via Start > Programs > Accessible and WebbIE, and sub menu item BBC iPlayer Radio.
- Arrow down/up to choose the Radio Station that you know originally broadcast the program you wish to listen to and press Enter and this opens the programs listing. NB! Usually a program is only retained on BBC iPlayer for one week.
- Arrow down/up to select the required program and press Enter.
- Following a delay the program will load and it will play automatically from start to finish but if you wish to move forward or back through the program WebbIE allows you to do this but it requires a few interactive steps to be performed to refine the process as described in the following stages.
- Press the Space Bar to Pause iPlayer playback, preferably shortly after the program starts. NB! Many BBC program commence with a short news item current at the time the program was originally broadcast, pausing during this stage is OK and may be helpful because this helps to indicate the start of the program.
- The next step departs from the Help notes in WebbIE due to the fact that this procedure actually adopts (to some extent) a sighted person's method of using BBC iPlayer and the user will need to request the "once off" help of a sighted person at this stage for a very short period.
- With your sighted helper looking on, press the left Control key and the number 2 key. NB! This is the number 2 key at the top of the keyboard above the "qwerty" keys, do not at this stage touch any of the number pad keys. To the sighted person this step will reposition the Mouse Cursor about 30 millimeters along the indicator track that the BBC iPlayer uses to illustrate the graphic progress of the program.
- At this stage on most systems and also to your helper, the Mouse Cursor will appear as an arrowhead but will need to be repositioned downward until it is exactly on the progress track at which point the cursor will change to hand with a pointing finger.
- Use the number pad keys only from now on! Count the number of times you tap the next key you use, this may be only once or twice, to step your cursor downward tap the number 2 key or the 8 key to go up.
- With your helper looking on, reposition the mouse cursor exactly on the indicator track using the number 2 or 8 key until you have located the track and the cursor has altered to the hand with a pointing finger. Once you have established the number of times you tapped (usually the number 2 key) this will remain the same each time you start a new program on iPlayer in WebbIE and you will not need any more assistance from your helper because you have established the calibration needed to reposition the cursor on the track for your system.
- All that remains is to press the number 5 key and your program will play from that point onward. While it is playing you can incrementally reposition the hand back toward the start of the program using the number 4 key or take it further on using the number 6 key and having done this by guesswork, press the number 5 key and the program will jump to the point you have selected.
- Having done what was covered in stage 7 above you will find you will be listening to your program about 15% into its duration, therefore, all that's necessary is to tap the number 4 a few times and intermittently the number 5 key until you reach the start of the program.
- The two things you must accept are these; once the cursor is established on the progress track it will remain there provided you only use the number 4, 5 or 6 keys. Secondly, unfortunately it's possible to traverse the cursor beyond the track start and finish points because there are no physical end stops to prevent this happening.
- If at any stage you press the Space Bar to pause your listening, when you restart your program using control and 2 you will need to re-site the cursor on the track as described in 8 above above.
- WebbIE's help notes suggests that you can reposition your point of listening using Control 1 to 9 but from experience Control and 1 promptly takes you to a back to the start of auto play-through. If you do use any of the other options you will need to reposition your cursor on the track again.
- Final note! Having established the cursor (hand) on the iPlayer progress track, it is possible to "run" it along the track in either direction by holding down the number 4 or 6 keys but care needs to exercised to avoid running off the end of the track. To exit iPlayer press Escape and to exit WebbIE press Alt and F then Enter.