Christmas ad accessibility: Currys PC World

Our accessibility review of 2017’s Christmas adverts has officially begun! For day 1 of our Christmas Advert Advent, we bring you “Merry Techmas” by Currys PC World.

To find out more about video accessibility, head over to our ‘What makes a video accessible?’ resource.


Currys PC World have turned on automatic captioning for their official YouTube account, which uses speech recognition technology to automatically add captions to videos. YouTube’s automatic captioning isn’t bulletproof, so the captions for their advert are hit and miss:

  • Not all of the dialogue is captured. When the children shout “Christmas”, the captions do not include this key word.
  • YouTube’s automatic captioning creates subtitles, displaying the spoken word but not all audio content. When different people speak, this is not indicated in the captions. When the parents laugh, this is not included in the captions. You can see the parents laughing, but remember that some people cannot hear or see.
  • Some words are not accurately captioned. At one point, the all-important brand name “Currys PC World” is instead captioned as “Perrys PCWorld”.

So, here’s a great example of why you cannot rely solely on automatic captioning.

YouTube video screenshot

Advert showing “Currys” misspelled as “Perrys”

Audio description

There is only one version of this advert, so a secondary version with audio description is not provided. This means blind users would hear you can buy now and pay nothing for 6 months, but miss the warning that comes up which includes the interest rate and that there you need to be 18 plus and credit scored, the video description could have been an alternative place for this information to be included but sadly hasn’t been, instead there is an advert for the TV featured.


A proper transcript of the advert does not appear to have been provided – none of our web searches found one. However, another of YouTube’s lesser known features does provide a transcript that is automatically generated from the captions mentioned earlier.

YouTube transcript screenshot

YouTube’s transcript feature displays to the right

To see these in action, click “More actions” (it looks like three dots) below the video and then select “Open transcript”.

YouTube video options screenshot

Switching on YouTube’s transcript feature

Accessible video player

The video doesn’t appear to be on the Currys PC World website, so we’ve not been able to check the accessibility of their video player.

The verdict

Like many other online videos, the Currys PC World advert relies on the automatic accessibility features of services such as YouTube. While this goes some way to making the content more accessible, it falls short of the mark. Kudos to Currys PC World for enabling those features, but we recommend they take what YouTube produces and make the text more accurate to the dialogue and include other non-verbal audio in the captions, too. This will also make the transcript better.

It’s something we see fairly often: online videos that have been neglected from an accessibility point of view, even though the organisation behind them actively think about accessibility in other areas of their work.

Check back in tomorrow with our Advert Advent when we’ll take a look at the Sainsbury’s advert, Every Bit of Christmas.