If any audio 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. (Level A)

Rationale

Individuals who use screen reading software can find it hard to hear the speech output if there is other audio playing at the same time. This difficulty is exacerbated when the screen reader's speech output is software-based (as most are today) and is controlled via the same volume control as the auto-playing sound. Therefore, it is important that the user be able to turn off or adjust the volume of the background sound independently from the system volume control.

Automatically starting sounds is highly discouraged, especially those that last for more than 3 seconds, as the sound interferes with the ability for a screen reader user to hear navigational cues to find the sound adjustment controls. It is better to have any audio content started through a user action.

Note: Having control of the volume includes the ability to silence the sound.

Refer to Understanding SC 1.4.2 for more information (external link to WCAG).

Development Techniques

Review the General techniques as well as other tabs applicable to your technology.  Prioritize the use of technology-specific techniques, and implement the General techniques as needed. You are always required to find, understand and implement accessible code techniques to meet the checkpoint. The documented techniques and supplements are not exhaustive; they illustrate acceptable ways to achieve the spirit of the checkpoint. If numbered, techniques are in order of preference, with recommended techniques listed first. Where used, IBM information that complements the WCAG techniques is indicated as supplemental.

Web (HTML, ARIA, CSS) techniques

There are no specific Web (HTML, ARIA, CSS) techniques for this checkpoint. Refer to the General techniques section.

Mobile (iOS) techniques

Instructions: In addition to the General techniques, the Mobile Native iOS techniques in this section represent a technique or combination of techniques deemed sufficient for meeting this checkpoint.

Provide a control near the top of the UI that turns off sounds that play automatically

An application can turn off or pause sound independently of the overall iOS system sound level. Refer to the Apple developer documentation Using Audio.

Play sounds only when a user requests them

An application can initiate user requested sound. Refer to the Apple developer documentation Using Audio.

Eclipse techniques

Instructions: In addition to the General techniques, the Eclipse techniques in this section are deemed sufficient for meeting this checkpoint.

Provide volume control in the software

If the application plays sound, provide a control to set the volume or inherit the system volume. In the screen shot below, the Windows Media Player enables the user to adjust the volume setting by accessing a volume control either through the keyboard or via the mouse.

Windows Media player with Audio control highlighted

Figure 1: Screen shot of Windows media player highlighting the audio control which allows the user to adjust volume.

 

 

Windows-based (MSAA+IA2) techniques

Instructions: In addition to the General techniques, the Windows-based (MSAA+IA2) techniques in this section are deemed sufficient for meeting this checkpoint.

Respect the system volume settings

Windows applications that play sounds by calling PlaySound and specifying a registry-based sound event use system volume settings and do not require additional work to be accessible. The user can change the volume using Sound options in the Control Panel.

Provide volume control in the software

If the application plays sound, provide a control to set the volume or inherit the system volume. In the screen shot below, the Windows Media Player enables the user to adjust the volume setting by accessing a volume control either through the keyboard or via the mouse.

Windows Media player with Audio control highlighted

Figure 1: Screen shot of Windows media player highlighting the audio control which allows the user to adjust volume.

 

 

Most links in this checklist reside outside ibm.com at the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. W3C Recommendation 11 December 2008: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

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