New icons, new player and assorted improvements

20th July 2018

We have been busy improving the video CMS, redesigning the player and fixing various small problems.

  • The video player icons have been updated. They are still SVG files, meaning they scale beautifully to work at any resolution, however they are now slightly softer and friendlier. The spacing between them has been made consistent.
  • The volume control has been rebuilt. The bars have been replaced with a slider. To save space, that slider only appears when the viewer positions the cursor over the volume icon.
  • Similarly we have added a playhead to the progress bar which appears in the centre. When dragged and released, a ‘seek’ to that moment is triggered. Or the bar can be clicked, as before.
  • The amount-watched bar is still coloured white by default, however if you have chosen your own colour palette to reflect your brand, it will match that colour. The new volume slider inherits that colour too.
  • We have added a small HD bubble to the settings button. If the player reports that the current video segment is HD (720p or above) then that HD appears. Therefore it may appear or disappear during playback if the player selects a higher or lower rendition based on the available connection speed. It initially appears blue, however it shares the same colour theme as your primary play button, amount-watched bar and volume bar.

New video player icons

  • The player’s captions handler has been rebuilt. We still rely on the browser’s native support for captions since all modern browsers support the HTML5 ‘track’ element. However rather than display the captions using that native support (which provides very limited options for styling and positioning the text) we now use our own custom container. The events (cues) that trigger the captions to be shown are still provided by the browser however we take over the rendering of them. On mobile devices, if native controls are set to be used (which we strongly recommend), then we revert to relying on the native captions support for a consistent experience.
  • We have made the authentication screens more attractive with the addition of the video’s poster frame image. If a video has its privacy settings set to require a password to be entered or all viewers to authenticate themselves using single sign-on (SSO), the new screen is used.

Single sign on video authentication

  • If a HLS manifest can not load, the player now tries a limited number of additional times to play it. Previously it would keep trying indefinitely which was inefficient as there would likely be a wider problem with the connection if attempts repeatedly fail.
  • We have fixed an issue where some 360 content would not play, despite being appropriately categorised.
  • New HLS ABR versions of some older videos have beeen made. Previously they only had MP4 renditions. Those MP4 versions remain as fall-backs for older browsers, like IE 10.
  • Legacy code has been removed from the player which increased its size but was not being used.
  • The plug-in used to show the player in a lightbox on the ‘feed’ page has been replaced. The previous one would sometimes position the player incorrectly.
  • The issue of the video’s poster frame sometimes not showing on iOS has been fixed.

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