Amazing BBC Online Videos By & For People With Intellectual Disabilities

Us 5 is a set of dramatic- and humorous videos starring actors with intellectual disabilities.  Episodes focus on making significant choices, and have interactive comic strips so users may try different choices.  They are also accompanied by an accessibility feature called “visual-captions”, which was designed for people with intellectual disabilities. Commissioned by the BBC, the videos were created by Gamelab London.

5 young adults striking hip poses

Accessibility Features

  • “Visual captions” or “vis-caps”, which are intended for “… getting across the gist of a scene in simple cartoon-like pictures rather than subtitles.” They appear in panels to the right of the videos when the “V” navigation button is clicked.
  • Video navigation and interactivity are keyboard- and switch accessible.
  • Each video has subtitles and an audio-description, invoked by clicking the “S” and the “V” buttons respectively.
  • When focus is on a navigation button, its name is announced out loud in a voice.


  • Tabbing through the navigation buttons skips the full-screen button.
  • In the opening menu-of-videos, clicking an actor’s picture does not launch the respective video.  Instead, the “Click to Play” button must be clicked.  Its audio description does announce the name of the actor’s story to be played, but the actor’s pictures do not have their names.
  • It appears the audio-description for the “spudnik” video is the wrong one; it does not match the scenes.


The videos are entertaining and have a high-production value.  The acting is simply terrific.  People with intellectual disabilities who have basic Web-surfing skills should be able to navigate the videos without difficulty.  The visual-captions feature is indeed innovative.  I look forward to seeing how its capability is advanced.

Wow!  I am a big fan.



  • To interact with the videos, some screen-reader users need to use the ‘invisible cursor’ for JAWS or the ‘WE cursor’ for Window-Eyes.
  • In England, people with “intellectual disabilities” are also known as people with “learning difficulties”.