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Pre-recorded Audio Only

About pre-recorded audio-only and accessibility

Making pre-recorded audio accessible can benefit people with hearing or cognitive disabilities, or for whom English is their second language.

Single A

Making the purpose of your audio file clear

There needs to be an alternative representation of audio-only content, unless the audio file is a media alternative to text and clearly labelled as such.

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.

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

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

Triple A

Making the audio file

The foreground audio, for example, speech, must be 20 decibels louder that any background noise. This can be achieved during recording or by mixing the audio file to maximise the audibility of foreground sound