Audio-only content is clear with no or minimal background noise.

Introduction

Some users have difficulties with their hearing and won’t be able to hear your audio content as clearly as others, especially separating speech from background audio.

You can help by ensuring that your audio is clear. If you have pre-recorded audio-only content, keep background noise to a minimum so that the speaking voices can be heard.

How to Pass

  • Make sure your pre-recorded audio doesn’t contain any background noise; or
  • If there has to be some background noise, it’s generally 20 decibels lower than the foreground noise. That’s about four times quieter.

Exceptions

Background noise is acceptable if:

  • The audio isn’t mainly speech (for example, in an audio play, an action scene might have a helicopter blown up by a car)
  • The audio is part of a CAPTCHA element (CAPTCHA is a test that separates humans from spambots and is often used in forms)
  • The audio is you “singing or rapping” (seriously, this is a direct quote)
  • The background sound can be turned off (but it’s better just to comply than add complexity)

Tips

Record your audio in a place you know will be quiet (a room with lots of soft furnishings is best if you haven’t got a studio).

Only use good quality audio (you should be doing this anyway if you care about your website).

See Also

The contrast ratio between text and background is at least 7:1.

Introduction

All users benefit from a good contrast between the text on your website and the background colour.

Some users with visual impairments need a stronger contrast than others to understand your content, so using the right colours is essential.

While the minimum contrast for Level AA was 4.5:1, for Level AAA it’s 7:1. This higher standard of contrast helps a wider range of users read your content.

How to Pass

Make sure the contrast ratio between your text and background is at least 7:1.

Do this by:

  • Using a light background and dark text; or
  • Using a dark background and light text; and
  • Using a colour contrast checker to verify your choice.

Exceptions

  • Text that is 18 points or larger (or 14 points or larger, if bold) has a lower minimum contract ratio of 4.5:1
  • If the text is purely decorative
  • If the text is an incidental part of an image (for example, a man who is reading a newspaper or a landscape that happens to include a street sign)
  • Brand logos

Tips

You may have fulfilled this guideline when you completed 1.4.3 – Contrast (Minimum).

In CSS pixel terms, 14 points is 18.5 pixels and 18 points is 24 pixels.

Remember to ensure that all colours used conform. This includes links that change colour after being used once, and headings in menus and sidebars, as well as the main content.

Make sure that any embedded charts or images of charts have the minimum contrast between elements (for example, bars, axes and labels).

This guideline also applies to images of text (but you shouldn’t be using images of text, see 1.4.5 – Images of Text).

See Also

Provide alternatives for live audio.

Introduction

Some users with hearing impairments may rely on alternatives to enjoy live audio-only content.

How to Pass

  • Add captions to live audio; or
  • If the live broadcast is from a prepared script, make the script text available from near the original content.

Tips

To add live captions to an audio broadcast, you will need professional software and a trained operator. This isn’t a job you can accurately perform without training.

If you can use live video instead, many live streaming platforms now offer auto captions.

See also

Provide text alternatives for pre-recorded videos.

Introduction

Users with visual and/or hearing impairments may not be able to perceive the information in a video from its soundtrack or captions.

How to Pass

Provide a full text transcript for your video and link to it from near the original content

Exceptions

If the video is itself an alternative, you don’t need to add a transcript.

Tips

You may have fulfilled this Guideline if you chose to meet 1.2.3 – Audio Description or Media Alternative (Pre-recorded) with a text transcript.

A text transcript is a document that includes all information present in the video, essentially a script for the video. This means including any visual cues (for example, ‘The fisherman holds up a large bass.’) as well as dialogue and non-speech sounds.

See Also

‘Extended Audio Description (Pre-recorded)’ requires you to provide extended audio descriptions for pre-recorded videos.

Introduction

Users with visual impairments or cognitive limitations may rely on audio description to enjoy videos. Adding an audio description soundtrack to videos means these users get all information from the content.

For videos where there’s more information to convey than the natural pauses in the soundtrack allow you, those users need an extended audio description soundtrack.

How to Pass ‘Extended Audio Description’

  • Provide an extended audio described version of a video’s soundtrack, selectable by the user; or
  • Provide an alternative version of your video with extended audio description.

Exceptions

  • You don’t need to add an audio description at all if your video conveys all its information through the regular soundtrack. Something like a straight face-to-face interview, or a speech to-camera would probably not need audio description.
  • You don’t need to extend your audio description if a regular audio description can provide all of the information in the video during the natural pauses in sound.\This guideline doesn’t apply to live videos or streaming.
  • Live videos and streaming.

‘Extended Audio Description’ Tips

This builds on audio description by effectively pausing the video to give the soundtrack enough time to pass on all the information from the video. This might mean narrating movements that are not audibly explained in the video, identifying speakers or explaining visual information.

You can provide this to users by letting them select an audio track within the video player or having links to both versions of the video.

Keep this guideline in mind when creating videos to reduce your workload.

See Also

Provide sign language translations for pre-recorded videos.

Introduction

Users with hearing impairments can benefit from seeing a sign language translation of your video soundtracks. In fact, those whose first language is a sign language may have limited reading ability, meaning captions can be difficult to follow.

Sign language is also faster to interpret than written captions and can convey emotion and tone much better.

How to Pass

Make an alternative version of your video with a sign language interpreter either present in the main video or embedded as picture-in-picture and link to it from near the original content.

Tips

An obvious issue is the question of which sign language to use. Forms of sign language are often exclusive to a particular country; even British and American sign languages are completely distinct, despite the similarities of the written language.

The best bet is to provide sign language in the language of the country that you are targeting, or if you are multi-national, in the language of the country of the highest proportion of your visitors.

You’ll need to find and hire a sign language interpreter for your videos.

See Also