Christian Heilmann

Making YouTube easier and more accessible (updated 12/06)

Warning: The YouTube API is flaky at the moment, so there might be some outages!

At this year’s Accessibility2.0 conference in London Antonia Hyde from United Response asked the audience for technological solutions to make the social web easier accessible for people with learning disabilities.

Her presentation Rich Media and web apps for people with learning disabilities is available on slideshare.

Whilst not being able to tackle all the issues mentioned (probably the biggest one being captioning) I took some time to play with the YouTube API to create a much easier interface to watch videos. The following screenshot shows the Easy YouTube Player in action:

Using the player

You can use the player in several ways, the easiest is to just copy and paste a youtube url in the url field. However, there is also a sort of REST interface that allows you to do more:

http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/

Shows the player without any movie loaded, empty search fields and playlists.

http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9i0-btCTdN8

Pre-loads the video of this YouTube address and shows the preview image in the player.

http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/?search=panda

Performs a search on YouTube for the term panda and shows links to the videos in the playlist on the right. You can use more than one search word by adding them with a “+”. For example:

http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/?search=red+panda

One last option you have is to bookmark certain videos on del.icio.us and tag them for a user. In order to show these videos as a playlist you need to provide your user name and the tag separated by a dash. For example my user name on del.icio.us is “codepo8” and I bookmarked some videos with the tag “easyyoutubeplayer”. The following link will show them all in the playlist:

http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/?tag=codepo8-foreasyyoutubeplayer

You can mix and match the different options. If you for example want to show a video and perform a search for other videos you can use:

http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UgpfSp2t6k&search=accents

Documentation

The full player documentation with instructions on how to host the player yourself is available in the docs folder Easy YouTube Player documentation.

Download

You can download the player with all the demo files here:

Changes

12/06/08

28/05/08