5 Key Podcast Accessibility Tips You Can Apply Today
As podcast audiences grow, so does the demand for more accessible shows.
So, you may be wondering: “How can I make my podcast accessible to everyone?”
In today's post, we'll share the 5 most useful podcast accessibility tips to help you reach larger and more diverse audiences.
But, why should accessibility be a priority? Before getting started, we’ll dive into why it matters.
Ready? Let’s go!
Why Accessibility Matters
Estimates suggest that one billion people worldwide have a disability. That means that disabled people make up 15% of the global population. And if temporary and situational disabilities are also taken into account, this figure increases significantly.
On the other hand, 1.2 billion people are now learning a foreign language.
Thus, making your podcast more accessible can help you connect with both disabled individuals and those who are learning your language.
There’s no doubt that not being inclusive might be pulling some audiences away, especially if you want to go international. But aside from allowing you to reach a broader audience, accessibility also helps search engines to understand and rank your content.
5 Key Podcast Accessibility Tips
Now that you know why accessibility matters, let's move on to 6 essential tips for making your podcast accessible.
- Transcribing your podcast episodes
- Designing an accessible website
- Choosing an accessible podcasting platform
- Providing crystal clear audio quality
- Applying accessibility best practices on social media platforms and podcast artwork
Let's take a closer look.
Transcribe your Podcast Episodes
The first step to podcast accessibility is transcribing your episodes.
Transcripts can benefit:
- People who have difficulty hearing (including the elderly)
- Language learners who want to improve their listening skills
- People who are temporarily unable to listen to audio (e.g: people traveling on public transportation without headphones)
There are many ways you can create episode transcripts, including:
- Hiring human transcription services. This is the most costly option, especially if your podcast is in a language other than English.
- Using automated transcription software. This is usually a low-cost and quick solution since you can get a transcription for an hour-long episode in just minutes. However, the results will not be as accurate as human transcription, you’ll need to double-check.
- Doing it yourself. Manual transcriptions are an affordable way to start, but they can be time-consuming. Nevertheless, there are many free or low-cost tools that allow you to play and pause your recording as you type simultaneously. (e.g: oTranscribe)
Build an Accessible Website
On your website, visitors can learn about your podcast, listen to episodes, or find out on which social media platforms they can find you.
Growing podcasts need a well-designed website. That’s for sure. However, a good website should follow accessibility guidelines.
According to W3 WAI, an accessible web page should consider the optimization of the following elements:
- Page titles
- Image text alternatives (i.e: alt text)
- Contrast ratio (i.e: color contrast)
- Resize text features
- Keyboard access and visual focus
By optimizing these elements, you’d make your website accessible to people with:
- Color blindness
- Cognitive disabilities
What’s more, accessibility is also essential for SEO. Remember that Google wants to display in the search results high-quality pages, and accessible websites fall into that category because they're easy to use and understand. Additionally, some accessibility best practices also make it easier for Google bots to crawl and index your content.
If your podcast has a website, don't hesitate to make it accessible to everyone. Provide the best user experience possible by adapting the design, content headers, and link anchor text according to accessibility guidelines. As a result, you’ll not only increase listenership but also show that your community is a welcoming and inclusive space.
Choose an Accessible Podcasting Platform
Typically, accessible podcast platforms include:
- Convenient keyboard controls
- Control labels which are clearly visible and available for screen readers
- The option to prevent media from autoplaying
- Synchronized transcripts
- Episode/video descriptions
- Shown or hidden captions for video files
Moreover, it's evident that you cannot predict which platform the user will choose to listen to your podcast. Or, more importantly, what level of accessibility it offers. Yet, you can take some precautions.
- Choose a podcast platform that complies with accessibility best practices
- If your hosting platform of choice doesn't meet accessibility requirements, contact the company's product team. If many users recognize this need, the company will likely take action.
Provide Crystal Clear Audio Quality
Poor audio quality may make it difficult for users to enjoy your content – especially if they have hearing problems or are in a noisy environment. The best way to avoid this is to make sure your podcast sounds great from start to finish.
You can create a professional podcast sound by:
- Getting a good-quality microphone for podcasting
- Modulating well enough, and asking your guests not to talk over one another
- Leveling the episode’s audio during or after recording, with either a podcasting mixer or audio editing software
Adapt Your Social Media Content & Podcast Artwork
Using social media is one of the most efficient ways to promote your podcast. Especially with the right content repurposing strategy.
However, accessibility should also be a part of your content marketing strategy.
Make sure you:
- Add alt attributes to all your images
- Include closed captions on your marketing videos
- Be careful with color contrast and font sizes
- Use clear language & avoid special characters that may hurt legibility
Use Alt Attributes
Alt attributes are short text descriptions that can be added to images to make it easy for bots and screen readers to understand what they’re about. By using alt attributes, you make sure your images are accessible to visually disabled users. These users often rely on assistive technology to browse the web. And this assistive technology will use alt attributes to explain images to them.
Most major social platforms allow you to add alt tags to your images, including:
Include Closed Captions on Your Marketing Videos
Video subtitles are essential for users who:
- Can’t listen to your video’s audio due to temporary conditions
- Have a hearing disability
- Are new to your language
Some social platforms offer automatic closed captioning, including:
Instagram’s automatic close captioning is only available on IGTV. For stories or feed videos, you’ll need to embed the subtitles yourself.
Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that automatic close captioning quality is often inconsistent. So, if possible, we recommend creating your own close captions manually.
Respect Color Contrast & Font Size
Social media posts play a vital role in connecting with potential listeners and building your podcast's brand. This is why you should pay special attention to your visual assets’ design.
According to the WCAG, the contrast between a text and its background should be at least 4.5 to 1. There are some exceptions, such as decorative elements and logotypes, where contrast ratios shouldn’t be seen so strictly.
As a general rule, we recommend:
- Trying to avoid hard-to-read combinations like green and red or blue and yellow
- Using a solid background or an opaque overlay
- Using patterns to differentiate data from graphs or charts
- Choosing readable fonts with a font size of at least 18px
Use Clear Language & Avoid Special Characters
Use hashtags and social media mentions (@UserName) at the end of your content. That way, a screen reader will be able to provide a fluid reading experience. Whenever possible, avoid special characters. Wondering why? Check this example.
Stay Accessible to Everyone With Audiotease
If you want to grow your audience through quality content, complying with podcast accessibility best practices should be a part of your marketing plan. In addition, you’ll contribute to a fairer world. Luckily, Audiotease makes it easy.
With Audiotease, you can:
- Highlight your podcast’s best moments with accessible and engaging audiograms that combine audio & text.
- Transcribe up to 5 minutes of audio, automatically.
- Share your favorite podcast moments in an accessible way, across social channels.
- Fully personalize your audiogram’s look-and-feel, even if you’ve never designed before.
Connect with new audiences with the power of short videos. Create your first audiogram, for free!