Updated: December 11, 2016
Earlier this year, I wrote about the lack of volume controls in video and audio players and how frustrated I was with having to manage volume globally across all applications on my laptop.
Two months later, I published a follow-up post, with information about the SoundCloud and National Public Radio (NPR) audio controls.
Thanks to one of my readers, Nigel Wade, I learned SoundCloud has volume control. But not in a location that I (and many other users) could easily find.
But what about NPR? NPR’s audio player still doesn’t have a volume control, but I learned a bit more about how the player came to be.
NPR’s Audio Player
Last month, Scott Stroud, lead user experience strategist at NPR and Design at NPR, wrote about how the new NPR audio player was redesigned this year.
Stroud discussed the architicture and goals, as he highlighted the lean UX methods and usability testing used in the player redesign.
I was intrigued because accessibility was listed as a consideration in their design methodology, and Stroud specifically mentioned design for accessibility as a priority.
What Happened to the Volume Control?
Given no volume controls exist on the player (as of summer 2016), I responded on Stroud’s post, asking if any usability test participants commented about the lack of volume controls.
Stroud was quick to respond.
Somehow the volume control didn’t make it into the Minimum Viable Product, after reducing scope so the player could be launched on time.
Part of his response:
Negotiation around what will make it into an MVP is tough; however, it’s not as tough as dealing with an accessibility issue when it affects you.
We need to improve how our Design Team presents a complete view of “minimum viable” to our Product team (in terms of what is essential for accessibility and control).
Honestly, I wish I had fought harder for the volume control in the MVP, and I will continue to do so as we make updates. Hopefully we will address the issue soon. I’ll keep you posted.
I look forward to the update, Scott!
Volume Controls Available with Chrome Extension
Thanks to a tweet I received today, I learned TJ Hillard has created a Chrome extension that adds volume controls to the NPR audio player.
Here’s how the volume control displays in the player, with a slider the user can drag to increase or decrease sound.
Thank you, TJ!