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What is BritBox?

BritBox is an online digital video subscription service, operating as a joint venture of the BBC and ITV plc, serving the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia, and South Africa.

It is focused on British television series and films, mainly featuring current and past series and films supplied from the main UK public service broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5), in addition to original programming. BritBox is said to feature the biggest collection of British box sets available in one place.

A South African launch was announced on 16 February 2021, and launched on 6 August 2021 at R99.99 per month or R999.99 per year.

The service in the UK and the international services are operated differently, and host differing content, including BritBox UK’s exclusive original content. There are content restrictions between each platform, leading some content to be available on one platform and unavailable on another.

Accessibility

Note I am 100% blind and thus did not test for accessibility as it related to magnification. I only tested for accessibility as it related to usage by a totally blind person using Microsoft Windows and iOS.

The APP Version on iOS tested was: 2.0.7 build 117 (code 34567) OS

  • I registered for a free 7-day trial on Friday 6 August using Chrome Version 87.0.4280.141 (Official Build) (64-bit) on Windows 10, using JAWS Version 2021.2107.12 ILM and NVDA as a backup, just in case.
  • The formfields were labelled incorrectly. For example, the first field was blank and the second one said “First Name”.
  • The registration was finally completed by manually checking the text labels below each empty field.
  • Once my email address was confirmed, I logged in and then took the website for a test drive.
  • I found that links were not properly labelled on the website and that many graphics/buttons were labelled incorrectly, partially or not at all. This resulted in me selecting something totally different from what I thought I selected, resulting in a rather disappointing experience.
  • The app on iOS gave me the options to sign in or to register.
  • It would appear that the iOS app is just a front-end to the website as I saw the same issues with the formfields being labelled incorrectly.
  • Using the regular swiping gestures built-into VoiceOver, I was not able to do much with the app. I was greeted with unlabelled controls and elements.
  • I also encountered four tabs at the bottom, even though VoiceOver announced that there should be six tabs. So, either the exposed info is incorrect or six is four. The tabs are: Home, Explore, Search and More.
  • The app was mostly difficult to use and whatever little accessibility I experienced, was made possible by VoiceOver’s built-in text and image recognition features.
  • Doubletapping on a title brought up a text description, together with a play now button. However, the play now buttons also announced a full description at the same time, which indicated incorrect labelling.
  • Once you doubletap on this button, the interface is accessible and so, you can mute, rewind, stop, etc.
  • The close button is not visible if you swipe around the screen. You have to touch and find it, if your phone is held vertically, top righthand side of the screen.

Final thoughts

As There is no audio description, I am afraid I am not going to subscribe to the service. If you are prepared to deal with no audio description or you just don’t care or need it, the app is otherwise usable.

I’d rate both the iOS and Website at 30% for accessibility for the blind at this time.

 

I challenge Reemah Sakaan to try and use the app with her eyes closed and let me know if she’d subscribe to this service if she was totally blind.

 

Note:  I will update this article accordingly if anything changes.

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