Firefox will release its major version soon. And one of the highlights is its ability to mute auto-play video and audio content. This feature is enabled by default. The goal of Mozilla is to make sure that its users will not get distracted by the auto-playing content of a website as they browse the web.
This is the same functionality that its rivals have provided. Google’s Chrome, for instance, has released this feature last year. This function allows users the option to silence the audio that plays without user’s intent. This feature will be included in the next version of Firefox — Firefox 66 — that will launch in March.
As mentioned earlier, this feature is enabled by default. However, users can still modify it. For example, they can choose to enable auto-play audio on preferred sites.
“Starting with the release of Firefox 66 for desktop and Firefox for Android, Firefox will block audible audio and video by default. We only allow a site to play audio or video aloud via the HTMLMediaElement API once a web page has had user interaction to initiate the audio, such as the user clicking on a “play” button.” – Firefox
In 2018, Google rolled out its version of Chrome that addressed autoplay video issues. Its version 66 would stop Chrome from playing videos automatically if the audio is on by default.
Users could also customize this feature. They could choose which sites could autoplay audio and video content and which sites could not.
The goal of this feature is to thwart sounds that blast out of your speakers when you visit a site. If you have played videos on a particular site before, Google will remember it the next time you visit that site.
In Chrome, the browser will play videos automatically if you have no browsing history on that site and it is a popular site where visitors usually play sound on videos.
But as you browse the site, Chrome will learn your preference. If you disabled the sound from that website, Chrome would remember it and disable it the next time you visit it.
Autoplay is a Bad Idea
No matter how great the video is, auto-playing it is a bad idea. It is not good for accessibility and usability while users browse your site.
One of the reasons clients would request to autoplay embedded video and audio clips is to boost view or listening stats.
However, the audio from the clip will disrupt and override the other sounds that the user is listening to at that time. It is considered intrusive, especially for users who are browsing in a quiet place or listening to their favorite music.
But, whether we like it or not, autoplay videos are here to stay. One of the reasons is that the ads can generate much money. Thankfully, marketers realize this issue and made their video ads less obnoxious.
Unfortunately, some advertising firms are still making autoplay videos because they assumed that individuals are muting their devices when browsing online. Other firms, however, made sure that their ads would communicate their clients’ message without the need of a sound.
Some tech companies are also making their autoplay videos less annoying. Autoplay with sound on will go obsolete as it can lower user experience.
Although auto-play videos are here to stay, future video ads will change radically to allow users to have control over what they are seeing.