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How to Make Digital Assets Accessible: Audio Files
A resource to help you create accessible digital assets for your course
Audio files used for teaching and learning must have equitable access to the content so that people with disabilities using assistive or adaptive technology can access the information. Contact CAT at 940-8575 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance with creating equitable audio content.
UDL on Campus: Audio: This page describes how audio content aligns with the UDL framework, provides an instructor example, and lists examples of student-created audio assignments.
Accessibility Guidelines for Audio Files
This is an overview of the elements that require special consideration when using audio only content. Please review one of the Additional Resources for detailed instructions.
Provide a transcript for spoken content and music with lyrics.
When creating audio, record using a microphone and in a room with minimal background noise. (We recommend CAT's Sound Booth for on-campus recordings.)
Mix your audio tracks so the main speaker tracks are 20 decibels higher than background tracks (e.g. music, soundscape, etc.)
Optimizing Audio for Learning*
Audio should be of high quality sound and allow for volume adjustment, playback speed variation, and pausing. When recording audio, ensure a moderate, consistent pace and include pauses that make the audio more understandable.
Audio clips should be relatively short in duration or divided into short chapters or sections.
Provide alternate ways to convey audio content, such as offering a transcript, image or graphic with description.
If the goal of instruction is music-related, provide alternatives through tactile and/or visual means if possible. You may also consider adding access to the musical notation or sheet music as an alternative.
If providing a download link for the audio file, make sure it is in a format that is compatible across devices (e.g. MP3 or MP4).
When appropriate, provide background information for audio clips to help students understand their significance and situate audio clips in a meaningful context.