Understanding Success Criterion 1.4.2: Audio Control

Understanding Success Criterion 1.4.2 Audio Control

Ensure that there is a way to pause or stop the auto-playing audio that lasts for more than 3 seconds

Official Requirements

Success Criterion 1.4.2 Audio Control (Level A): If 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.

Since any content that does not meet this success criterion can interfere with a user’s ability to use the whole page, all content on the Web page (whether or not it is used to meet other success criteria) must meet this success criterion. See Conformance Requirement 5: Non-Interference.

Why is it required?

Screen reader users may find it difficult to hear the speech output if there is audio playing in the background. Therefore, it is essential that users have control over the audio on the website.  

How do we fix it?

  • Try to avoid placing audio on the website that plays automatically 
  • Ensure that audio plays only after user consent
  • If providing audio can not be avoided, ensure that it lasts less than 3 seconds.
  • If the audio lasts more than 3 seconds, provide easy access controls such as play/pause or stop and the option to control the volume. 

Mistakes to avoid

  • The website auto-plays audio for more than 3 seconds but does not have a mechanism to pause or turn it off.

Picture of Aditya Bikkani

Aditya Bikkani

Aditya is the COO of AELData, a growing technology company in the Digital Publishing and Education sectors. He is also an entrepreneur and founder of an accessibility tool called LERA. A W3C COGA (Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility) Community Member Aditya contributes to researching methodologies to improve web accessibility and usability for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

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