Podcast accessibility is something we all need to spend more time talking and thinking about. Who can access our podcasts? Do we make it easy? Can it be easier? Are there groups we aren’t thinking about? These are the questions to start with when you consider podcast accessibility for your podcast.
At Mr. Thrive Media we do our best to create accessible podcasts for our clients and ourselves. There is always room for improvement. As accessibility–podcast accessibility and more–is brought to mainstream attention, we’re sure to find new ways to increase accessibility.
For now, we do everything we can. In this Mr. Thrive Media blog post, we’ll walk you through some of the best tips and tricks for podcast accessibility. These are practices we work on, and they’re a great place to start when it comes to implementing your own podcast accessibility standards.
What Is Podcast Accessibility?
So, what is podcast accessibility? It means something different for everyone. Overall, podcast accessibility is the practice of making a podcast accessible for everyone, no matter who they are and what accessibility means to them. Accessibility means inclusivity for people with disabilities, hearing loss, vision impairment, and anything else that could impair access.
Podcast accessibility is all about making podcasts accessible to everyone. That includes people who can’t watch or listen to a podcast in a form you might consider to be standard. Including accessibility in your podcast plan means thinking about what people with different needs might require from your podcast. These six features of accessibility are things you should implement.
6. Accurate Transcriptions
When we say accurate transcriptions, there are two facets of the accuracy we’re talking about. One is, you want your transcriptions to be as near to the original podcast as possible. Having a transcript be an exact match for a podcast can be messy. People don’t always speak in a way that makes sense in written form. You can edit your transcript to make it readable.
That said, don’t edit too much. The goal is to provide a transcript that gives someone the same information as the podcast. That way, if someone is only able to access your podcast through the transcript, they’re getting the same experience.
There are two ways you can go about setting up transcriptions of your podcast. You can turn it into a blog, fully written without cues and voice notes. You can also provide a transcript that has, in brackets, moments when people laugh or have other supplemental reactions. Mr. Thrive’s podcast transcription and blog services can help you with both of these options.
5. Captions In a Sans Serif Font
This is a two-part podcast accessibility feature. First off, it’s vital you provide captions. There are AI business services that can provide captions based on your podcasts. You should proof these captions to make sure they’re accurate.
The platforms you use to post your podcast provide the option to have or not have captions on the screen. Having captions for the people who want or need them is a must.
The second part of this feature of podcast accessibility is the use of a sans serif font. Sans serif fonts are easier to read, especially for people with dyslexia. Using these clear fonts adds an extra layer of accessibility to your captions. You should also use sans serif fonts for other text on your site.
4. Prioritize Clear Audio
Prioritizing clear audio is always important for podcasts, but it’s especially important for podcast accessibility for the hard of hearing. It also helps when it comes to getting a transcript of your podcast. AI software creating the transcript will do a better job if the audio is crisp and each word is clear.
There are a few tips you can work with to prioritize clear audio. The first is, make sure you have a high-quality microphone. A quality mic combined with a quiet room can work wonders. The second is, use a wired network connection, alongside a recording platform that does a local audio recording on your computer. This minimizes issues with internet lags.
The third is, mix your volume consistently throughout the episode. This will make your podcast even across the board with audio. All these tricks are good for a podcast in general, but they’re especially helpful for podcast accessibility.
3. Alt Text for Images
Using alt text for images is standard practice for most businesses and creative sites these days. It’s great for crawlability, which in turn is great for ranking on search engines. It’s also a helpful tool for accessibility. Using accurate, descriptive alt text makes your photos accessible for people with vision impairment.
When you’re posting a cover photo for your podcast episode or an image on social media, use alt text. It’s a built-in feature on most platforms. You can always do a splash of coding to add alt text even if the site you’re on doesn’t have a space for it.
2. Use CamelCase In Hashtags
Using CamelCase in hashtags is a simple and effective way to improve accessibility. When you have a long hashtag, it’s exceptionally helpful to use CamelCase, where you capitalize the beginning of each new word. This makes it easier to read each individual word.
Using CamelCase is helpful for mobile readers, people with slight vision impairment, and people with specific reading needs. This includes people with dyslexia. There are also folks who have trouble reading a string of words when they’re written all together. CamelCase helps with this as well.
Overall, CamelCase is an easy step you can take to ensure the readability of your hashtags. When it comes to setting up your social media management plan, Mr. Thrive can help you keep track of your hashtags and keep CamelCase a priority.
1. Mobile-Friendly Pages
Mobile-friendly pages are a general accessibility feature. They do, however, make everything easier for anyone who needs additional accessibility. Watching or listening to a podcast on a mobile device is often the method of choice for people with accessibility needs. This is because mobile devices are often easier to configure for extra accessibility.
Because of laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), most mobile devices are automatically equipped with assistive technology (AT) software. This software is designed to help visually impaired users navigate and access the internet and sites with ease. Mobile devices are also easily hooked up to hearing aids, to assist the hearing impaired.
That all goes to say, mobile-friendly pages and podcasts are a surefire way to increase accessibility. They increase the possibility of people who need podcast accessibility consideration being able to enjoy your show.
Frequently Asked Questions About Making Podcasts Accessible
Podcast accessibility takes time and focused effort, but it’s well worth the effort. The tips outlined above are a great place to start, and our answers to these frequently asked questions can help you further along.
This information is helpful for podcast accessibility, but it extends to other web content as well. If you’re focusing on accessibility, it’s best to apply it to your entire digital ecosystem.
How Do I Make My Podcast Accessible?
To make your podcast accessible, focus on including a transcript, ensuring clear audio, using alt text, clean fonts, CamelCase, and mobile-friendly options. Beyond those features of accessibility, reach out to Mr. Thrive. Our team will go through your podcast and web presence and find areas for accessibility improvement.
What are the Four Major Categories of Web Accessibility Standards?
The four major categories of web accessibility standards are perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
Perceivable relates to the requirement that information must be presentable to users in a way they can perceive. Operable means user interface components and navigation need to be operable.
Understandable is the requirement that the information and interface the user works with is able to be easily understood. Robust means that content must be robust enough to be reliably interpreted by a variety of user agents. That includes assistive technology.
Overall, those categories may seem simple. It’s important to have them in mind–and in the rules–to keep the web accessible.
Is Accessibility a Legal Requirement In the U.S.?
Yes, accessibility is a legal requirement in the U.S. through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It’s not a perfect system but it does make accessibility much more prevalent. With more tech releases and uses occurring rapidly, the ADA may need to adapt and add more regulations.
What Law or Regulation Would Govern the Accessibility of Podcasts?
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are the two primary regulations governing web accessibility and podcast accessibility. ADA began back in 1990, and the WCAG came soon after in 1999. Together they cover the requirements of web accessibility.
Making Podcasts Accessible: Who Can Access Your Podcast?
Focusing on podcast accessibility is one of the best ways to make your podcast enjoyable for everyone. That can draw in new listeners and expand your reach. If you’re looking to take control of your accessibility, reach out to Mr. Thrive Media. Our team of marketing experts and podcast producers will help you master podcast accessibility.