BBCiplayer - Turning on AD on your Android & iOS device

3 July 2014

Please note this review looks at the BBCiPlayer on Android and iOS browsers and not the apps.

Earlier this week, the BBC added an audio description button on their iPlayer for Android and iOS mobile devices. This now means you can turn audio description on and off. Previously, you were only able to listen to audio described programmes on the web version of iPlayer using a PC or laptop. Using the web browser on your iOS or Android device, you can access the AD button below the programme information and underneath where it gives the length of the programme.

I took the liberty of testing this feature out by searching for an episode of Eastenders which is an audio described programme. I tested this with Talkback, VoiceOver and Screen magnification on both iOS and Android.

Screen Magnification

This 'Watch with AD' button was located at the top of a list of three buttons underneath the programme information and meant I found it easy to identify. What also made it stand out to me was that it was bolder and bigger in text size than the 'Add to favourites' and 'Share this page' buttons, underneath on Android and to the right on iOS.

Also to the left of the button is a small square with the letters AD. When scrolling down the page, I found this useful as an indicator that there was something related to AD and that I needed to pan to the right of the screen to see what the button would do.

On BBCiPlayer text is displayed in white on a black background and what I love about the iPlayer is that when you select a button, it is highlighted in bright pink and the AD button was no exception to this. This is great because the pink contrasts against the white and black colours on the rest of the page.

If you decide you want to turn off the AD at any time whilst playing the programme, you will find the 'turn off AD' button in the same position on the page. I think it would be great if the AD button stayed in pink when on.


The best way to access the 'Watch with AD' button is to explore by touch. Talkback registered the group of three buttons including, the AD button along with the 'Add to favourites' and 'Share this page' , as a list of buttons when navigating down the page using the left to right swiping action. By moving my finger around the screen, I found the button as Talkback read out 'Watch with AD'. Although, I did have to scroll down the page slightly to find the button which, could prove problematic for users not used to using explore by touch.

Nevertheless the button is accessible.


Finding the 'Watch with AD' button on the iPad was no problem. I was able to locate the button by scanning the page with my finger as well as using the left to right swiping gesture.

Overall, this button is accessible for both Screen reader and magnification users.

This product was tested using an iPad 2 with iOS 7.1 and a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with Android version 4.4.

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