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Living Can Kill You

Accessible Web video

For a medium that was designed to share scientific papers, the Web does a good job at delivering video to mass audiences. For the past months, msnbc.com has been building an entirely new way to share that video to its audiences.

Released at the start of December 2009, the first of the new msnbc.com players allows anyone to embed NBC news related video clips into a site. While msnbc.com has been began making a concerted effort to improve the video experience online for more than two years, this new player is the result of a complete rethinking of what is possible.

Along with the numerous performance improvements, there was dedicated design effort to create an interface that was simple, intuitive, and able to integrate unobtrusively with almost any Web design style.

More importantly, the player was conceived to allow it to easily scale to include new features. One of the first tests was to offer something few mainstream player do: accessibility.

Every clip can be controlled by some de facto video keyboard controls:

Space
Play or pause
(right arrow)
Skip ahead 5 seconds
(left arrow)
Skip back 5 seconds
(up arrow)
Increase the volume
(down arrow)
Decrease the volumne
m
Mute the volume

In the coming months, you can expect to see subtitles with almost every video clip drawn from closed captioning information, and where available, show transcripts. As these new features come to be, they will include universally consistent keyboard commands.

All this is a part of the goal to make msnbc.com content easily available to anyone who wants to access it, and to do so by offering the best designed news products online.