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Last active May 3, 2016
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Accessibility Support in HTML5 Audio

Here are a few things I found in testing HTML5 Audio in various browsers and screen readers:

  • The controls do work in Safari and Voiceover, they just require more key commands than "space". You have to press Control + Option + Space to toggle playback.
  • I had trouble toggling playback in Safari and Chrome with just the keyboard.
  • Mobile Safari and Voiceover worked fine.
  • Firefox and Edge both work from the keyboard alone
  • Firefox and JAWS required two taps of the space key.
  • Edge and JAWS did not work at all–probably because of immature accessibility support in the new browser.
  • Labeling the audio element with an aria-label attribute would help to give the track a title. It won't work in every browser due to accessible name calculation specs, but it's better than none.

Test file:

Bugs may be filed with browsers when I confirm these issues on other machines. This Gist was a collection of the pain I noted making a native audio element accessible. My recommendation was to add custom controls because they can be more consistently supported at this time.


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@marcysutton marcysutton commented May 2, 2016

Note: the Voiceover and Safari key command comment is in response to an internal bug filed by someone else.

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