Making podcasts accessible is essential for ensuring each of your episodes is available to the largest possible audience. Here are a few tips* to improve the accessibility of your podcasts.
1. Make sure your webpage is accessible
Your webpage will be the primary place for promoting your podcast, so it’s important that it’s also accessible. Podcasts that are posted on websites that use UNCG ITS-approved WordPress blocks are more likely to be accessible. However, content creators are still responsible for ensuring that the content added within these blocks is accessible.
Before publishing audio content, be sure to:
- Organize your page with headings and bulleted lists. This separates sections of your page and makes it easier to follow the flow of your content. It will also make it easier to find your podcasts.
- Use descriptive links. Using clear, descriptive text to describe your links instead of the url is essential for screen reader users. It’s also a great way to prompt users to take action.
- Make forms accessible. If you’re using a sign-up subscription or other form on your page, be sure to use one that does not have color contrast issues and is accessible so screen reader users and keyboard only users can navigate to each form field.
2. Use an accessible media player
An accessible media player will allow all users to effectively interact with the player’s buttons and controls. Your media will need to have the following features to be considered accessible:
- Clear labels for all buttons and controls (play, pause, skip, stop, etc)
- Navigation and activating buttons by both mouse and keyboard
- Audio does not play automatically (no auto-play when users navigate to the page)
3. Provide a transcript
Transcripts are essential for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Without a transcript, these users will be blocked from engaging with your content. All podcasts and audio-only files at UNCG must have accurate and edited transcripts regardless of the hosting platform used. Transcripts can be linked on your website or in each episode’s description in your RSS feed. Transcripts need to be available wherever your podcast is available.
- Create a clear audio recording. The best way to generate an accurate transcript is to start with a clear recording. Using a dependable microphone and pop filters for your microphone will help to create a clear recording. Also, make sure to ask guests to speak clearly and not to talk over each other. If you and your participants follow these suggestions, you will improve your audio sound and will need less time for fixing errors when you generate your transcript.
- Transcripts must be accurate and identify speakers each time they speak. They need to accurately reflect the audio content (no summaries or paraphrasing), and who is speaking. Identifying all speakers is especially important if there are multiple speakers.
- Describe important background sounds. Examples would be [music], [applause], [laughter], etc. Only include sounds that are important to the context or meaning of the podcast.
- Use correct writing. This includes spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Also, all caps should be preserved for YELLING or speaker identification.
- Use accessible features. If transcripts are Word, PDFs, or Google Docs files, be sure to follow the general accessibility design features for documents.
4. Offer alternative methods for engagement
Adding a visual to go along with your audio is a great way to give your audience a variety of ways to engage with your content. 3Play Media has some great suggestions for incorporating visuals with your podcasts.
Here are additional resources for more information about accessible podcasting: