Understanding autoplay and its restrictions

Autoplay can be a useful tool for your course, saving your learners from having to manually play a video themselves or providing an audio cue or backing to your content. However, it is important to understand the factors that can impact how autoplay works before using it in your course.

Autoplay mostly refers to video and audio which play by themselves but animations in your course can also be described as 'autoplaying behaviour' and can be subject to the same restricting factors.

Generally, while autoplay can be used, we would not recommend relying on autoplaying behaviour in your course. We advise that you always provide a way for learners to control media content manually and understand that animations may not always work for all learners.


Browser and OS restrictions

Autoplaying behaviour is widely restricted by many different browsers and devices. As a result, your learner's experience with autoplay and animation is directly affected by which browser and device they are using as well as the individual's specific browsing habits. Additionally, most browsers provide the user the option to manually disable or enable autoplay.

This means that we cannot guarantee that autoplaying behaviour will work consistently for all learners.



Autoplaying elements can also impact on the accessibility of your course. 

At the least, certain types of autoplaying media can cause surprise or annoyance for some users but for others, it can have more significant impacts like:

  • Confusing or distracting the learner from their learning
  • Preventing users from navigating your course in a natural way
  • Conflicts with screen readers and the text they read out
  • Triggering physical reactions like seizures

When deciding whether to use autoplay, you may want to consider whether it is serving a helpful function and how it could potentially impact your users.

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