1.4.2 – Audio Control (Level A)

Don’t play audio automatically

Automatically playing sounds doesn’t help your users. Your users don’t need audio distractions when visiting your website. You have a hard enough time getting them to do what you want. Some of your users will have problems focusing and unexpected sounds can distract them further.

What to do

  • Don’t have any audio that plays automatically.
  • Have all the audio you want, just let your users choose when they want to hear it.


Although you can pass this guideline by adding a pause, mute or stop function to automatic audio, that’s a bad idea. You don’t want your users frantically searching around your website for the audio control.
Users shouldn’t have to take action for a better experience, you need to provide it to them by default.

There’s a further exception on audio that plays for less than three seconds. Ignore this too. Three seconds of audio can still distract users, especially those who have problems maintaining focus.

See also

Understanding Success Criterion 1.4.2 (W3C)

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