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Headphones lying on the deskPhoto by Lee Campbell

Today, we’re addressing another criterion – 1.2.1 WCAG 2.1 – Audio-only or Video-only.

This criterion pertains to previously recorded files. This is important because WCAG also considers live broadcasts, but addresses them with a different criterion (1.2.4 WCAG 2.1).

What do we examine in 1.2.1 WCAG?

In the case of recorded audio – such as podcasts and other forms of audio publications – we must ensure that a transcript containing all the key dialogues or sound effects, without which understanding the content would be difficult, is provided.

Thanks to the included transcript, people with hearing impairments are able to understand and access the shared content. The textual alternative can be placed, for example, below the recording. Transcripts of any recordings are also very useful for people that do not experience hearing loss who want to learn a foreign language!

In the case of video without sound – an example of this could be a video showing how to assemble Lego. 🙂 Such a video is completely useless for people with visual impairments. Thanks to the provided textual alternative, it becomes clear and readable. The transcript must contain exactly the same information as presented in the video recording. Do we have another option? Yes! An alternative could also be an audio track in which a narrator describes exactly what is happening in the video.

Reference to WCAG:


Małgorzata Szymczak

Małgorzata Szymczak

Accessibility Specialist & Junior Frontend Developer