For any audio track or video with audio which lasts longer than three seconds, make sure the learner can pause or stop the audio, or control the volume.


How do I comply?

  • Provide controls which let the learner pause or stop any audio tracks or videos with sound which last longer than three seconds. These could be automatic controls provided by your rapid authoring tool, or manual controls which you add to the resource.
  • You can also provide controls which let the learner change the volume (including turning it down to zero). These controls must be independent of the normal audio controls in the system that the learner is using.
  • Make sure that the audio controls which you provide can be controlled by a keyboard as well as a mouse.
  • This standard also recommends that you let the learner start the audio track or video, rather than letting it start automatically.

Why?

  • People who use screen readers will be listening to your content rather than reading it. Any audio could potentially interfere with the output of the screen reader. This is why they need to be able to pause or stop the audio, or control the volume.
  • The volume control needs to be independent of the normal audio control of the system that is being used. If the controls are not independent, when the screen reader user turns down the volume of the audio track or video, they will also turn down the volume of the screen reader.
  • If the video or audio track starts automatically it may play at the same time as the screen reader. This could make it very difficult for the learner to understand or navigate the slide. It may also make it impossible for the screen reader user to hear instructions about how to stop the video or audio track.
  • This standard also helps people who find it difficult to concentrate on visual content, when audio is playing at the same time.

eLaHub example

Automatically playing audio

This video demonstrates the problems that someone who is using a screen reader may have if you add audio which plays automatically to your eLearning resource.


How can I test?

Use a screen reader to test your eLearning resource. Make sure that you are able to control all of your audio and video clips with audio, so that they do not interfere with the output of the screen reader.


Further information

Screen Readers
There are many screen readers available.  These are our preferred options for testing:


WCAG information

CategoryPerceivable
Guideline1.4 Distinguishable
Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.
WCAG link
1.4.2 Audio control (Level A)
WCAG textIf any audio on a Web page plays automatically for more than 3 seconds, either a mechanism is available to pause or stop the audio, or a mechanism is available to control audio volume independently from the overall system volume level.

Copyright © 2019 W3C ®


Beta page
Please help us to make this page better for everyone in the eLearning community by contacting us with your improvements, examples and suggestions.