The single most annoying “feature” on webpages is autoplay.  How many times have you landed on a page, reading and suddenly some ad or music blares away.  Sometimes it’s impossible to find the offending ad , no matter how many times you scroll up and down looking. It’s worse if you have multiple browser tabs open, then you have to figure out which page is screaming at you.

There is a quick and oh so satisfying way of dealing with this. Edge, Firefox and Chrome all offer a quick mute feature that doesn’t even require you to know where the ad is.  Whichever page is playing the sound will show a small speaker either in front of or behind the page name. Here’s an example:

Scan of the mute button embedded in the browser tab

Skim along the top of the browser and locate the speaker and tap to mute the sound.  A small line will show the speaker has been turned off.

Screen capture of the speaker being muted

This doesn’t affect any other page you have open or music you may be listening to, just that webpage.  It’s handy to remember, especially if you’re like me and you constantly have multiple pages open (often on all three browsers).

There are a couple of small differences between the browsers. Microsoft Edge is the easiest to see. The speakers is well placed at the front of the page name.  Firefox is placed at the end, but still easy to hit. Chrome’s icon is much smaller and a bit fussier to try and hit. I’m not fond of it, but that is just a minor irritant.

Unfortunately, this isn’t very useful for people with severe visual impairments or issues with their hands, like tremors. I have a few customers with  macular degeneration, Parkinson’s and MS who can’t hit that tiny a target consistently. The only solution I can think of is using the mute keyboard shortcut but, that mutes everything, which defeats the beauty of this little feature. If anyone has an extension that could help, drop me a line.  I’d love to take a look at it.

 

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