Autoplay is disabled
A video set to autoplay starts playing as soon as the web page loads — it’s best to avoid this.
Meeting the Web Accessibility Standard
When a video does not play automatically, this meets WCAG 2:
If a video is set to play automatically and controls are provided to pause or stop the video, it meets the same WCAG Success Criteria as a video that is set not to play automatically.
However, to prevent a negative experience for some users, as described above, it’s best not to set your video to play automatically.
On this page
- Avoid setting a video to play automatically
- How autoplay reduces accessibility
- How to disable autoplay
- If a video is set to autoplay
Avoid setting a video to play automatically
Generally, it’s recommended that videos not play automatically.
Fortunately, embedded video players from YouTube or Vimeo do not play automatically by default. And browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari now usually block videos from playing automatically, even if the video itself is set to autoplay.
How autoplay reduces accessibility
Some people can find a video clip that starts automatically to be so distracting that it prevents them from being able to focus on anything else on the page or to listen to their screen reader.
Unexpected video or audio can be disruptive for people:
- with intellectual impairments, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) — because it can impede their ability to concentrate on reading the content that they’re actually interested in
- with vestibular and seizure disorders, like photosensitive epilepsy — because it can cause a seizure
- using text-to-speech software — because it can obscure the speech of the screen reader.
For more about accessibility issues with media that plays automatically, see F93: Failure of Success Criterion 1.4.2 for absence of a way to pause or stop an HTML5 media element that autoplays — W3C.
How to disable autoplay
In most cases, nothing needs to be done to prevent videos from playing automatically.
This is because:
- generally, YouTube and Vimeo videos embedded in
<iframe>s do not play automatically by default
- videos embedded using the HTML
<video>element also do not play automatically by default.
However, there are some situations where YouTube or Vimeo videos could start playing automatically, depending on things like the user’s media viewing habits or browser settings.
To be sure that a video will not play automatically:
autoplay=0to the URL assigned to the
srcattribute for any YouTube or Vimeo videos embedded in an
- make sure that the
autoplayattribute is not present for videos embedded using the
If a video is set to autoplay
If a video is set to play automatically, you must provide the user with the option to stop it if the clip:
- plays any audio for more than 3 seconds
- contains moving, blinking or scrolling information that lasts for more than 5 seconds.
How to enable controls to pause or stop the video
Controls for videos embedded in an
By default, YouTube and Vimeo videos include controls for pausing or stopping the video.
Other video players might behave differently, so it’s important to check that they provide such controls.
Controls for videos embedded using the HTML
If the HTML
<video> element is not using custom controls, make sure that the
controls attribute is present. This tells the browser to provide controls for things like starting and stopping the video.