Audio Control
Success Criterion 1.4.2 (Level A)


Are you making sure audio does not play automatically when a page loads?

Why is this important

People who rely on screen reader speech output to navigate websites or applications may get confused or distracted if other audio content begins to play automatically when a page loads. They will hear the text to speech output from their device as well as the other audio from the page at the same time. This can be confusing or distracting as users may not be able to distinguish between the audio, or may not be able to hear their screen reader's speech output clearly enough to navigate.

Audio that plays automatically can also interfere with voice recognition software used by people with mobility impairments to control the computer. If audio begins automatically, users that rely on voice recognition software may not be able to control their computer accurately with voice input.

Additionally, some people, including those with cognitive and learning disabilities, as well as English Language Learners (ELL) find that audio content that starts automatically can be very distracting or confusing.

Whom does it benefit?

Example 1:

As a screen reader user,
I want to only hear my screen reader audio when a webpage loads
so that I don't get confused by other audio that automatically plays when the page loads.

Example 2:

As a person who struggles with maintaining focus,
I want to have the ability to start audio when I choose to hear it,
so that I can focus on the page content before playing the audio content.

What should you do?

  • Do not have audio content play automatically when a page is loaded.
  • In addition, make audio controls easy to find and use for those who rely on assistive technology.

Note: This success criteria refers to audio that plays longer than three seconds. If the audio that plays automatically is short (i.e. a beep or tone), then this success criteria does not apply.

How do you do it?

  • Remove functionality that starts audio automatically when a new page or application loads (unless audio is less than three seconds).
  • Label audio controls and ensure they are keyboard accessible.

Need technical guidance?

Additional Resources to help you: