BBC Sounds accessibility information

We’re committed to making our broadcasts and online services as accessible as possible, including our media player which is used for playing audio and video content across It has been built following the principles of inclusive design so everyone, regardless of ability, can enjoy BBC on-demand and live content across desktop, tablet and mobile. This page outlines how people can use the player and its accessibility features.

The media player is constantly evolving and so is its accessibility.


The media player is fully keyboard accessible allowing users to tab around the player controls both in the page and in full screen. Use Enter to activate buttons or space bar when playing media in full screen. Use the arrow keys to increase or decrease the volume as well as forward and rewind the timeline. Buttons have clear highlighted states to support navigation regardless of whether you are using a mouse, keyboard or other means of input.

Screen readers

We have built in accessibility from the outset and will continue to make the media player progressively more accessible to screen reader users as it evolves. The accessibility of the player may, however, be affected due to changes in versions of the media player, the browser or the screen reader. While some of these issues are within our control others may be down to 3rd party partners, including media player or browser vendors or the screen reader. We research, user test and carry out technical testing regularly in order to ensure accessibility continues to be maintained and that we are giving users what they want.

Screen reader support

The media player is optimised to work with the following screen readers and browser combinations:

  • The latest two versions of NVDA on Windows with Internet Explorer and Firefox
  • The latest two versions of iOS VoiceOver
  • The latest two versions of Mac OS X VoiceOver with Chrome and Firefox when opted into using our HTML5 Player

Other screen readers may work, but we don’t test against them and so are unable to offer support.

How to access the media player

If you are using Jaws and it works for you, you’ll need to disable Virtual Cursor mode. NVDA users should enable focus mode. Keyboard commands are:

  • Tab - to move forward through the buttons
  • Shift + Tab - to move backwards through the buttons
  • Arrow keys  - to increase/decrease the volume and fast forward and rewind
  • Spacebar or Enter - to activate buttons 
  • ESC - to exit full screen

Please read the following page for advice on what you need to do to keep enjoying our content if you are dependent on Flash for accessibility features: Why am I seeing an error message when I try to play BBC audio and video?