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Netflix Will Now Let You Turn Off Autoplay

Feb 7, 2020

On February 6, Netflix announced with a tweet that it is now giving users the option as to whether they want trailers and next episodes to play automatically.

Autoplay could not be turned off before the update, a feature that some people enjoy, some find annoying, and some find distracting or dangerous.

Netflix tweeted:

Some people find this feature helpful. Others not so much.

We’ve heard the feedback loud and clear — members can now control whether or not they see autoplay previews on Netflix.

The tweet also included a link to their page, How do I turn autoplay on or off?

What does autoplay have to do with accessibility?

Beyond whether this feature is helpful or frustrating is the question of how autoplay actually presents accessibility concerns. There are at least three WCAG 2.1 checkpoints to keep in mind to help answer that question.

  • 2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide: If the page content contains parts that move, blink or scroll automatically for more than 5 seconds, provide a way to turn off the movement or blinking or scrolling, or to hide it., unless the appearance of motion is part of an essential activity. If the page contains auto-updating information, give the user a way to pause, hide, or control the auto updates.
  • 1.4.2 Audio Control: If there is audio on a web page that plays automatically for more than three seconds, you must provide the user with a mechanism to control the volume of the audio, to pause it or turn it off.
  • 2.3.1 Three Flashes or Below Threshold: A web page shouldn't contain any content that flashes more than three times in any one second period, or the flash is below the general flash and red flash thresholds.

Without the ability to turn the autoplay feature off, users could not control when they would be exposed to loud noises, distracting videos, or flashing and potentially physically-dangerous content.

Related: Checklist for Creating Accessible Videos

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