Netflix: A Call for Action

iOS & iPadOS

Wouldn't everyone here like the ability to have equal access to Netflix on all platforms, not just Apple TV? I sure would, but it doesn't look like that will be happening soon.
While the app has gotten better since the last Applevis podcast went over some "workarounds" to be used until the app became more accessible, this is not enough.
As with the Amazon Echo and their recent accessibility app updates, I reached out to them and they were prompt with fixing these issues? Netflix? We need an applevis accessibility campaign regarding this. The app is still random about some things with VoiceOver--sometimes I can't double tap something in the "continue watching for" area. The workaround for that is to go to search, type the show in, double tap it and then press play. This is too much work.
Then, to add insult to injury, browsing shows is simply a pain. Under "Trending Now" or any others like this on the main Netflix page once signed in, good luck double tapping a show to get to it's show page. YOu have to scroll to it since VoiceOver isn't actually focused on it when you flick. In most cases, however, you'll pass the item in question while scrolling, meaning that once again you have to search. Unacceptable.
The iOS app in it's current state is not usable by beginner iOS users who prefer flicking, and when they double tap something, things happen. Even when you search, VoiceOver doesn't necessarily tel you that anything came up, you just have to drag your finger around and you'll land on one of the credit name links of the item you clicked, most likely. Have people reached out to Netflix like myself regarding these issues, or do most people stick with their awesome and accessible apple TV, content to leave iOS in the cold? Right now, it's looking like this is exactly the case. While I plan on getting a fourth gen apple TV for apps such as plutoTV, if I want to watch Netflix on the go, I can't really browse shows especially on the home page, I can't double tap on them all the time, even in continue watching. Oh, and when watching TV shows, in the player there is an episodes button. You can view the blerbs of each episode and play that episode right there. When you play the episode from that screen, the episodes button becomes dimbed. I'm sure it is only dimbed to VoiceOver, however.
What are your thoughts on these issues? Does everyone not care that you really can't easily get to your list of shows etc, making the "add to my list" link useless unless on an apple TV?
Lets all reach out to Netflix and see what we can do about this. Hopefully they'll fix what they broke on the apple TV Fourth Gen--surely enough people called about that one.



Submitted by brandon armstrong on Saturday, November 28, 2015

hi all, like he said, we need more with the iOS app. at best, it's lack luster, and you have to do to many work arounds just to get anything to watch or get shows you want. some of us don't have apple tv's and we want to watch netflix on the go. so yes, we need to reach out as a community to netflix and ask them to work on the iOS app and fix the issues we have with it. I'm tired of the lack luster and work around solutions for netflix, and many other apps. think about this, how would a sited person feel if he or she had to do as many work arounds as we do just to watch a show or series? they wouldn't put up with it for a second, so why should we have to? I'm not going to restart my membership until the netflix app on iOS is much better then it is in its current state right now.

Submitted by Liz on Saturday, November 28, 2015

I have fewer problems with the IOs app than its the website but searching is still difficult.

This is unacceptable and will support the campaign if I can.

Submitted by Joseph on Saturday, November 28, 2015

I'd like this as well, but the reality of the situation is that it might not happen. Netflix is a rather large company, and the percentage of blind people who use it as compared to the sighted people is barely a drop in the bucket. Yes, it would be wonderful if they were to improve the app, but I highly doubt it will happen any time soon. That's just my thoughts on it though.

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Saturday, November 28, 2015

hi joseph, from where you stand, yes, your absolutely right. so in other words, if we as a community just sit on our asses and except this lack luster accessibility, and you say things like oh it won't ever improve, then yes. your absolutely right. it won't improve, and we won't get anywhere. how ever, if we do go and reach out and do something, as a community, not just me, not just drinks, but all of us as one, and not except lack luster accessibility, which I'm sorry to say, some of you on here seem to do, we can make a difference.

Submitted by Toonhead on Saturday, November 28, 2015

The reality of the situation is that it's all about the bottom line, which is subscribers, and bringing in money. We have to show them how improving their app would increase the number of subscribers. Yes they already have like a billion, but if they can do something that would make things even better, then it would be in their best interest. Not only is it the law to make things accessible, it's just the right thing to do. The trouble is that most of the people at Netflix think we're a very small minority, but to make things even worse, when they gave us audio descriptions on some shows, the very people who wanted it still complained, and said it wasn't good enough because this or that show didn't have descriptions. They were really rude about it, and that doesn't get us anywhere. So in that way, I kind of feel as if the people who complained shot it down for everyone. Not all is lost though. There's absolutely no reason why we can't still try, and actually give them some constructive feedback that they can use. We can do it, but we have to speak their language.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Sunday, November 29, 2015

This is why I think app accessibility needs to be mandated where it can. You want your app in the app store? Fine, but it needs to conform to certain accessibility guidelines E.G. no unlabelled buttons. But...what about games? Obviously there would be no way to make a lot of games accessible to VO because of their visual nature, but IMO there's no excuse for why the interface for the netflix app to not be accessible.


Submitted by brandon armstrong on Monday, November 30, 2015

I think apple has a role to play in this as well. they really need to enforce accessibility guidelines, and dev need to have a consequence for not taking them seriously. whether it be a fine, or a pull of an app from the store until they conform where they can, especially in the case of apps like netflix.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Monday, November 30, 2015

There should be an accessibility star applied to apps which do work with voiceover, this might induce developers to achieve such public presege.

I too have problems with Netflix on iPhone and probably would use it more on there if it was accessible though I do have an apple TV and prefer watching it like that.

I do ask you, Netflix, please consider addressing the above issues. As a minority the fact is it, in the short term won't improve the bottom line, but it will do great for your image.

We ask, we don't demand. Let's develop a good working relationship. If we can get their ear, well, we're half way there and the way we get there ear is very important, be reasonable, be polite. I know we get frustrated but, as I'm sure you also know, being frustrated at people doesn't tend to produce the best results. :) Just my opinion there.

Okay, why don't we create a subject line, hash tag etc, show them that there are a good number of us interested in getting the IOS app sorted?

Submitted by Joseph on Monday, November 30, 2015

You could do these things. They're good ideas. But people have tried to get companies to do this before if I remember correctly. And look what happened there.

Submitted by splyt on Monday, November 30, 2015

Actually nothing happened.

US I bilieve has a strong law system and the way to go should be this one.

Apple for example tooke the accessibility path because they wanted. Other companies did not and what happened?

Now you can try to create a world wide call in twitter and such ... this could get to say a marketting or a tech manager at netflix and may be if like he had a great night with his girl the day before and is therefore with a great humor sense and feeling generous he could call some folks of their team and say let's do it, people ... and put it on internet as look at us a so good company who now provides accessibility to the blind public and things like that ..... but it could be that this world wide call never reaches anyone and therefore nothing will happen.

So the thing is try .... but know that chances are small and do not get frustrated on failure.

The only way to know for sure a company would listen is if they get a sue. And even so what will happen is not predictable to say the best.

This is why I like screen readers with script capability and why I like to see services with openned API's .. because then we do not deppend on nothing and not deppending is so good most part of times I think

Submitted by Malthe on Monday, November 30, 2015

Imo, Netflix is one of the access-minded companies out there. Look at what they've done in the audio description arena, that's not something you see every day. Please remember that. I agree with Toonhead - constructive criticism is the only way to go.


Submitted by david s on Monday, November 30, 2015


Instead of complaining about it here, have you folks tried contacting the Netflix corporate office? You can send them email all you want but it may be better to call or send a letter. If you don’t have the time or inclination, then perhaps you’re not serious. A phone call or letter shows the company you are so concerned that you’re willing to take the time to make them aware.

Worse case, cancel your account. Why give money to a company that isn’t concerne about your issue.

Submitted by Darrell Hilliker on Monday, November 30, 2015

Hello Everyone,

I would be happy to help with such a call to action, though, sadly, my time has been much more limited than it was once upon a time.

Here are some ideas for us all to get started:
1. Write up a concise statement describing what we want, why we want it and how it might benefit Netflix.
2. Start an email campaign based on the statement from step 1. Ask everyone we know to email Netflix asking that they improve accessibility, citing one or more key elements from the concise action statement already drafted above.
3. Launch a social media campaign also based on the concise statement from step 1.
4. Circulate an online petition with a statement based on the key elements from the concise description in step 1.
5. Write and send certified mail letters to Netflix's CEO asking for improved accessibility, again, based on the concise statement in step 1 above.

I guess, what I am saying, is that we need to start by hashing out and clearly identifying the problem and devising acceptable solutions before launching an advocacy campaign.

I actually believe that, if we are concise, professional and serious, we very well may find a way forward with Netflix, or just about any other tech company.

While I am happy to help with certain elements of such an advocacy project with Netflix, sadly, I probably don't have enough resources and time to prioritize a full-on advocacy effort for an entertainment-related company at this time.

In any case, if someone passionate about Netflix is willing to get started by taking a crack at step 1, I'd be happy to help move it forward.


Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Submitted by brandon armstrong on Monday, November 30, 2015

hi folks, I just spoke with a nice lady at cooperate headquarters. if you want to call them and let them know your feedback here is the number to call. (408) 540-3700. press option three to get to marketing, then ask to speak to cooperate resolutions. they are very nice.