Live Audio Only

About live audio-only and accessibility

Live audio is any sound captured from a real-world event and transmitted without delay to a webpage. There may be a short delay to allow some censoring, but not enough to allow for significant editing. Making live audio accessible will benefit people who have a hearing disability.

Single A

Making the intent of your audio clear

Because an audio file is not text, it cannot be 'read' by a screen reader. Therefore, it must have a text alternative that serves the same purpose. This alternative must also be identified so people know it is non-text content. This alternative can be

Or, a brief description of the audio, or a descriptive label of the audio and:

Operating the audio in a webpage

People must be able to operate the audio by any input device. Therefore, just providing functionality for the mouse is not enough, although the mouse should be able to access any content on the page. The keyboard must be able to operate the all functionality of the audio including pausing and restarting, and must not trap the keyboard.

Don't enable autoplay, because the audio file will 'speak' over the top of the screen reader and sound confusing, but if sound is played automatically, the


Double A

Making the intent of your audio clear

Captions should be provided for live audio content, either open (always visible), or closed captions.

Operating the audio in a webpage

The controls to operate the audio should be accessible with a keyboard, and should be visible (highlighted) when they receive focus. Therefore it is best to keep it simple, so developers should keep the default 'focus' functionality of the browser, assistive technology or operating system.

Triple A

Making the intent of your audio clear

A text alternative can be provided by