UK open IPTV platform YouView has released the second in a series of updates designed to deliver better accessibility for blind and partially sighted customers as well as those with motor skill and cognitive impairment, to improve the journey for this audience to find their favourite TV.
YouView has improved the zoom functionality which now allows visually impaired users to zoom into and navigate the programme guide and select or record programmes. YouView describes this improved zoom functionality as market-leading in the UK, advising that it works with all aspects of the programme guide.
Other updates include the option of navigating the YouView programme guide using any USB connected UK keyboard or ‘Monster 2’ and ‘Clevy’ accessible keyboards, suitable for those people who struggle to hold a remote control or hold down two keys at once. Maps for these controllers are available at youview.com.
YouView has also developed series of ‘Grid Set’ navigation screens for the ‘Grid 2’ software computer programme, which allows severely disabled users to navigate the YouView programme guide with the press of just one button. Specialist software ‘Grid 2’ is designed to enable the use of computers and similar devices for this user group and is compatible with a variety of different input devices including switches and head-pointers. A computer running ‘Grid 2’ software can be connected to a YouView set-top box via an ‘IR blaster’ (infrared transmitter) which emulates the same signals as a remote control.
These updates follow an earlier accessibility release which included the option to change the iconic blue and black YouView programme guide to high contrast black and white, enabling visually impaired users to read the text more easily. Additionally, the mini screen available in the top right hand corner of the programme guide also now has the option to be switched off, offering easier navigation for customers with cognitive disorders and making navigation less distracting.
The free YouView app for iOS and Android mobile devices now also offers text-to-speech navigation of the programme guide so visually impaired users can find more information about TV programmes and remote record single programmes or a complete series. A high contrast version of the YouView app is also available. Further accessibility updates to the YouView app will be added in due course.
Susie Buckridge, Director of Product at YouView, said the platform’s goal had always been to ensure it was the easiest way for all of its customers in the UK to find the TV they love. “We hope these accessibility updates will give a wider range of customers the means to discover great TV and radio, by providing the tools to make our user interface and mobile applications easy to navigate. We are particularly pleased with the new zoom function which is a UK first and will give visually impaired users a much clearer user journey.”
The update will initially only be available on YouView set-top boxes purchased at retail and will be issued via a staggered roll-out over the coming weeks. Customers with YouView from BT or TalkTalk will receive accessibility updates early in 2014.