Why streaming video sites should provide more control over the autoplay feature


With the vast majority of people using a browser that supports multiple tabs, webmasters need to consider how their sites behave when opened in the background. For instance, what if a user clicks on several of your pages at once, or bookmarks your pages as part of a tab set they’ll be opening later? Does every one of your pages start playing audio the moment it’s opened?

Hulu is a great site, but it suffers from this problem. As soon as a Hulu video page opens, it begins playing the video and audio stream. Save a few Hulu tabs together, and you’ll be greeted with a blaring audio mix when you load that tab set. And I bet other streaming sites have the same issue.

What’s the solution? Let customers check a box or set a preference to turn off the autoplay feature. Then, they can press the Play button to start or resume playback when they’re ready. Or, save the state of each video when it’s closed, so that paused videos re-open in their paused status. Either way, you’re giving customers more control over their video experience. You’re also encouraging them to watch more videos by making the process of pausing and resuming the session a lot more pleasant.