Since YouTube is so inaccessible, and since I couldn't finda complete guide on how to make the YouTube experience work for you if you’re ablind user, I have resolved to make my own complete guide on how to make anaccessible YouTube experience to the blind and the visually impaired. Pay closeattention, because the earth will end in 9 months! Read on,
One thing to keep in mind is that this guide will beutilizing a lot of different resources and alternatives. There’s no singlesolution. I’ll talk about one piece of software that may help you but thatisn't my primary aim. My aim is to provide alternatives for You Tubers andviewers who are blind. Enjoy!
Manage a YouTube account with a screen reader.
I'm sure there's a way to navigate around YouTube with ascreen reader, but I'm too lazy to even fiddle with such nonsense and guesswhat those unlabeled buttons are for. I have two solutions. The first one is alot better than the second one but if you really hate using mobile versions ofthings, then option two will be good for you.
1. Use the mobileversion of YouTube. http://m.youtube.com. With this mobile website, you canactually do a lot of things to your account, even comment on videos. You can'treply directly to people on this site when they comment your video unless youtype at, and then their user name. Youcan't message people by composing a new message. You can, however, read and reply to messagesthat you get in your inbox. You can also manage your subscribers. this siteprovides a screen reader friendly environment to at least edit your videos,playlists, personal info, account settings, account sharing, and all that and alittle bit more. Uploading videos using this clean interface is a lot betterthan just uploading your videos through email. With this system, you get abetter control of the title and description and even the tags. If you use yourquick navigation keys, and your links list, you will be a pro YouTube user inno time! It doesn't have hardly any ads or graphics on the site, so you shouldhave no problem at all navigating it after learning what the links are calledwhen you are looking for them. There is one downfall however, actually, acouple. You can't watch videos or reply to comments directly with a link orbutton on videos. While this website is definitely lacking in some of the mostessential in the whole YouTube experience, such as the composing a messagefeature, if you’re a frequent YouTube uploader, this is the best alternativefor managing your YouTube presence.
2. Use the textbased web browser, WebbIE. http://www.webbie.org.uk/download.htm. While this isan alternative to managing a YouTube account if you don't like the mobileinterface, this isn't a good solution. Unfortunately, it's the best one forYouTube creators at the time of this writing. The web browser will attempt todisplay the entire site in a text format, and trust me this makes navigating alot faster, but don't think you won’t hit the wrong button from time to time.There's buttons on there that just say search, or close, without any textbefore the button to tell us what it is. Also, using this browser, the searchfield for videos is somewhere at the bottom, but the search button to hit isboth at the bottom and the top of the pages. Replying to comments is mainly theonly easy thing to do using this method compared to the mobile YouTube option.Since you'll be on the main YouTube site using this browser, you'll have accessto all of YouTube has to offer. Getting it to work for you, however, is adifferent story altogether. There's unlabeled buttons, unlabeled images, andthis is even more evident navigating with this browser. In some cases you willcome across a huge string of java links that are supposed to be for one button,or there will be buttons back to back coded with java and you will have todecipher them. Using standard navigation keys you'd use in Microsoft word mixedin with its own keys provided, this method will make it a lot easier to checkyour email and reply to YouTube messages despite the difficult layout of thewebsite. It makes searching for videos a little bit easier and it makes editingthe video information a little bit easier but not as easy and quick as themobile website listed above. I should note that this isn't the web browsersissue, this is YouTube’s. The text based web browser can get rid of a lot ofannoying flash animation ads that slow down navigating. The good thing is, youcan keep the browser in text mode and just play videos and listen to them withno advertisements.
3. Free YouTubeuploader software. http://downloads.dvdvideosoft.com/FreeYouTubeUploader.exe.If you’re just looking for an accessible desktop solution to upload videos,this is the best solution. You can upload videos, add the description and addkeywords, but unlike YouTube where you can enter unlimited keywords, here youcan only enter 15 per video. When you first start the program, as with allother software by this maker, such as free YouTube to mp3 converter, navigateto the options menu, browse around because each software is different, and thencheck the box that says enable screen reader mode. After you do this and thenrestart the application, it will become a lot better and faster to use with itsown keyboard shortcuts and simplified interface. This software is only foruploading videos to YouTube but it's the best accessible desktop alternative touploading YouTube videos.
4. A combo of allthree. If you use a combo of all three above, you will be the best blindYouTube user ever!
Now that I've talked about how to accessibly manage yourYouTube videos and account using a screen reader, now I'm going to tell you howto watch YouTube videos accessibly with no ads!
How to accessibly watch YouTube videos using a screenreader.
1. The accessibleinterface to YouTube. http://tube.majestyc.net/.this is a good website. All thesearch results are links with no thumbnails, and this layout presented is justa simple, clean, interface. You can even control the videos with keyboardshortcuts! You can't view related videos, or you can't comment on videos, butyou can use the mobile website to do that if you really want to do that, orjust use WebbIE. This is an okay accessible alternative to watching YouTubevideos, but despite it missing some key features like showing user names of thevideo uploader, related videos, and the inability to play playlists, this onejust falls short. I’d use this for just quick spurts on YouTube, and nothinglengthy. I hope it sticks around. There's a donation button at the bottom ofthe page to support the website.
2. Easierwatching of YouTube videos. http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/. This websiteisn't as good, or as clean. I didn't even use it that long. It does haveaccessible YouTube controls, but you have to tab to everything. The search APIalso isn't that good at all. When I would try and look for a user or even aspecific title, almost all the time nothing came up in the results without medigging through pages. I hated looking for videos on here. I didn't even wantto stay here on this site. The search results are in a list that seems to behard to navigate away from when using NVDA. I didn't like this site at all.
3. YourTube,accessible YouTube. http://www.povidi.com/yourtube/. This is the most completeand rich interface to YouTube I have ever seen that makes watching YouTubevideos a breeze. This is the best alternative for watching YouTube videosaccessibly! Unlike the other websites, you can watch every video that a userhas uploaded by clicking into their profile, view comments, view informationabout the video, and see related videos. The controls are operated by buttonson the page, and it even has a checkbox to notify you when a YouTube video isdone uploading so you can just play the video. This website will automaticallyskip ads in the YouTube video. When looking for a video, the results show up asheadings with no thumbnails and brief descriptions of the video below theresult. Unfortunately, you will not see who the video is by. You have to enterthe video in order to see that information. Unfortunately, this website doesnot support playing playlists, as I know of, but definitely try this site outif you have a screen reader and if you just want to browse YouTube all day andwatch some videos! This site, at the time of this writing, isn't hosting anyads on it. I hope this site expands its features, because even though it's anew website, this is some strong competition to beat!
And that's my comprehensive guide on how to get the most outof YouTube if you are totally blind. If you have any questions you can followme, the blind writer, on twitter.