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Story Map Journal - Serious audio bug with Chrome - on load autoplays all audio from any embedded Youtube video content

Question asked by paddycakes on Dec 26, 2017
Latest reply on Jan 2, 2018 by paddycakes

I wonder if anyone can assist with a very serious audio issue we are experiencing with our Esri Story Map.Journal.


The StoryMap seems to load absolutely fine on all browsers - Firefox, Safari - except the latest version of Chrome.


In the latter case, audio content in the StoryMap seems to be automatically autoplayed upon load .. even though we do not currently have any autoplay enabled on any of the audio or video content. Specifically, it seems to be audio from embedded Youtube content within subsequent sections of the StoryMap (ie. not even from the first visible section of the StoryMap:


The thing that is most strange is that the StoryMap was working fine on Chrome up until about late September. We had a reasonable amount of video and audio content (mostly audio from embedded Youtube content) and the StoryMap had been working fine for well over 6 months prior to that. I am certain we didn't change anything or add any further video/audio content but suddenly the autoplay issue on Chrome started appearing.


I did some further investigation and testing of this issue across different browsers and OS's. I used Browserstack and I could recreate the problem on Chrome version 63  on both MacOSX and Windows. As stated other browsers and other OS's seem to be fine.

Current Version of Chrome with audio issue

I found some links about an update in Chrome 63 that will change the behaviour of autoplay and not allow websites to automatically play audio:


However, the current behaviour is that instead of restricting audio in fact when you load an Esri StoryMap on Chrome it is now actually autoplaying ALL Youtube audio content from contained videos (even though autoplay is not enabled on any Youtube video content).


What is also strange is that I also experienced this audio issue on Chrome version 62.0.3202.75 prior to my Chrome browser on my MacBook Pro automatically updating to version 63.

Previous version of Chrome also with audio issue

As said it appears to be audio from Youtube content in the StoryMap. There are about 11 or so Youtube videos embedded throughout the StoryMap (most playing in the Main Stage panel). Again, as mentioned, none of these are set to autoplay. You have to explicitly click on them to play.


We have 2 or 3 other audio files that can be playing by using the audio html tag as described in the blog below: 


However, I can't hear any of these autoplaying upon the StoryMap load (it is quite noisy so hard to tell for certain but I am pretty certain these audio files don't autoplay like the Youtube audio). It seems specifically to be the audio from the Youtube content in the StoryMap.


We have spent over a year working on this StoryMap and it is intended to be the first in a number of such StoryMaps telling the stories of men from Arranmore Island, County Donegal who fought (and many killed) in WW1.

We are ready to launch the first one - the Story of Dominick Gallagher, my father's uncle:


However, this is a complete blocker for us as many of the target audience will be Chrome users and the audio problem will stop them from using the StoryMap.


We are at a loss as to where to turn next to solve this. The problem is only apparent on Chrome latest versions and not other browsers.


We would be super grateful for any help in helping us address this issue or else the last year will have been wasted building this StoryMap as it will be unusable on Chrome.


I assume this serious problem will also be apparent for other Chrome users with embedded Youtube video content. It only started appearing for us in late September 2017. Prior to that, it had been completely fine for the previous 6 months.


Many thanks in advance for any help anyone can offer.


Patrick Gallagher