EPUB 3 Accessibility Guidelines


When including audio clips, ensure that the native reading system controls are enabled by default (i.e., by setting the controls attribute on the audio element). This practice ensures that the control are accessible even if scripting is not available. If custom controls are provided and supported by the reading system, the native controls can be disabled by JavaScript.

Although the audio element allows child content for fallback purposes, such content is not intended to serve as an accessible alternative. It is only made available to the reader if the audio element is not supported by the reading system, which typically only occurs in EPUB 2 reading systems.

The following methods for making audio content accessible are instead recommended in the HTML5 specification:


Example 1 — Enabling the reading system's default controls
<audio src="audio/clip01.mp3" controls="controls"/>
Example 2 — Including a transcript
   <audio src="audio/01.mp3" controls="controls"/>
   <a href="transcript01.html">Transcript</a>
Example 3 — Including a fallback error message
<audio src="audio/clip12.mp3" controls="controls">
   <div class="err">
         Sorry, it appears your system 
         does not support audio playback.

Compliance References and Standards

Additional Resources