How to Make Your Podcast Audio Accessible

February 8, 2022 BY ELISA LEWIS
Updated: February 9, 2022

Watch the Webinar: Going Beyond the Listener: Accessible Audio for Podcasting ✨

If you haven’t created a podcast yet, it’s likely you’ve listened to one! While podcasts themselves aren’t entirely new, this medium has certainly taken off over the last several years. According to Insider Intelligence, in 2022, the number of monthly US podcast listeners will increase by 6.1% year-over-year (YoY) to 125 million. 

Podcasts, which are published in episodes and series, are typically produced as digital audio-only files. Relying solely on audio creates a barrier for the more than 360 million people, worldwide, who are deaf or hard of hearing. In fact, three major podcast providers were recently sued for lack of accessibility, raising awareness for a much-needed discussion around making podcasts universally accessible.

We welcomed Nic Steenhout, host of A11y Rules and a web accessibility consultant, onto our 3Play Media webinar series to share more about how to make your podcast audio accessible.

Discover How to Make Your Podcast Audio Accessible! ✨

Benefits of accessible podcasting

Nic started the conversation around the benefits of adding transcripts to podcasts by referencing a 3Play Media case study with This American Life where transcripts resulted in 4.36% of new inbound traffic, and over 7% of visitors reported actually relying on the transcript. Right off the bat, this is a huge benefit to any content producer, marketer, or website owner.

If you’re wondering how transcripts impact traffic, it’s because transcripts improve search. Nic explains that Google essentially searches the web as if it was a screen reader– it only looks at text content. So if you have a transcript, you will have more opportunity to be indexed by search engines.

Nic acknowledges that while this is certainly a worthwhile benefit, “the primary benefit [of transcripts] is to make sure that people who need access will be able to use your show to get the information.”


 Learn How to Make Podcasts Universally Accessible: ➡️ 

Elements of an accessible podcast

Written transcripts are a great tool to make podcast audio accessible to deaf and hard of hearing individuals. But making the podcast audio accessible isn’t the only element of an accessible podcast. Additional tips for improving podcast accessibility include:

  • Ensuring you have an accessible website
  • Offering alternative methods for consuming podcast content
  • Providing a clear audio recording
  • Employing accessible marketing
  • Publishing with an accessible media player

In the webinar, Nic focuses on how to determine and decide on an accessible podcasting platform and player. When evaluating these tools, he outlines the following as the primary things you want to look at:

  1. Can someone using only a keyboard interact with the website, including being able to get through all the buttons, and tab from one to the next, and be able to trigger each button?
  2. Are screen reader users able to interact with all the buttons, including, and perhaps especially, around the player, the media player, to show your podcasts?

Another thing to keep in mind for the accessibility of your player (and your website and images!) is color contrast. “You want to make sure your contrast is quite good. In technical speak, we want a contrast of 4.5 to 1 of the foreground of the text against the background. So that’s really a minimum.”

As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, it’s important to think about accessibility from the very beginning. To learn more about accessible audio for podcasting, watch Nic’s full webinar for free!



Going Beyond the Listener: Accessible Audio for Podcasting. Watch the webinar


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