I checked that autoplay checkbox in H5P, why don’t my media play automatically?

If you are creating some video or audio content with H5P, you may have noticed a checkbox that suggests to start playing that medium automatically. And that may not work. Or it may. Sometimes. What the hell is going on with H5P?

This is actually not H5P’s fault. The problem is advertising. Not too long ago, the marketing industry could bombard users with all kinds of promotional videos, jingles, etc. that would automatically play on websites hosting ads. That was not only annoying, but it consumed lots of bandwidth. Browser vendors stopped this by introducing autoplay policies.

The implementation may vary in details, but the principle is the same everywhere. A website (or in this case H5P) can request the browser to play some medium automatically. The browser will try to make an educated guess whether the user is interested in having the media played automatically or not.

If the user has interacted with the page before, then the answer will most likely be yes. Let’s say you have used H5P to create an Interactive Book that has a title screen, and inside some chapter you have a video that should play automatically. That should work, because the user needs to click onto the button of the title screen in order to proceed. He or she has than interacted. If you have merely have some H5P Column with audio content however, then the audio file should not start playing on its own.

In other cases, browsers may notice that you have been playing videos on a site before and assume it’s okay, browsers may check whether you have added a site to your mobile devices home screen and give green light for autoplay, etc.

There’s nothing that H5P could do if the browser says no. So just you know …