Empower Your Podcast with Universal Access!

  • Improve website accessibility for users with disabilities
  • Provide high quality text transcripts to benefit all users
  • Improve SEO with use of best practices in web design
  • Choosing a site generator with an accessible embedded player
  • Improving podcast workflow to get high quality episodes produced quickly
Let us help you elevate your podcast with accessibility and inclusive design, connecting you with more listeners.
Joel brings a unique combination of technical ability, empathy, and patience that allows him to deliver the solutions you need.
– Niels Peschel, Optum Rx

Why accessibility matters

All users should have the same ability to access your content. Who does this potentially affect? A lot more people than you might think. The World Health Organization estimates that roughly 15% of the human population lives with some form of disability, including limitations to vision, hearing, mobility, and/or cognitive impairments. That amounts to roughly a billion people! And that's only looking at permanent forms of disability. There are also temporary and situational disabilities which are extremely common, as seen in the graphic below.
Many of these types of disability can cause significant problems if a website has accessibility issues. For a podcaster, this could mean blocking out a lot of your potential listeners.

Supposing they can reach your episode page and attempt to play the episode, but their hearing is impaired? That's why it's important to provide a transcript.

This can be challenging for a podcaster with a limited budget and who just wants to get their content up quickly, but New Worlds Inclusive Design can show you how you can take care of this critical need.

ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides legal protection for anyone who cannot access information on the web due to their inability to see, hear, touch, or if they have cognitive issues making it difficult to process text or audio properly. The standard for enforcement is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). New Worlds can do a professional assessment of your website, embedded player, and any audio or video content on your site for compliance to ensure you won't face legal repercussions for failing to adhere to this standard.

About New Worlds Inclusive Design

I'm Joel McKinnon and I've been a front end developer for over twenty years working for companies like Apple, NASA, CVS, and OptumRx. In the last several years I've become aware of the critical need for web accessibility and have made it the focus of my career, and have gained knowledge and expertise as a Certified Professional in Web Accessibility (CPWA). I'm also the host of the
Seldon Crisis
Opens in a new window
 podcast dedicated to exploring Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, and have produced almost 40 episodes of content in the past few years including interviews with numerous guests and I know first hand the challenges of making a podcast fully accessible. I formed New Worlds Inclusive Design to share a passion for this cause and would love to to help you in bringing your podcast to all the potential listeners who may want to discover it.

What you should know about accessibility

Typical accessibility obstacles

The first thing is to know what issues may be blocking users from accessing your podcast. These break down into two categories; website accessibility issues, and lack of text transcripts.

Website issues include inaccessible keyboard navigation, poor color contrast, missing alternative text, inaccessible links and buttons and forms, and embedded audio players that aren’t accessible to blind users. Text transcripts are essential for anyone who can’t hear your podcast but would still like to access the content. A lot of people who can hear can also benefit from transcripts.

How can you fix these issues?

The first question to answer is how much control do you have over your website’s code? Many podcasters use web site generators like Podpage or PodcastPage which automatically render a full site from a podcast RSS feed. With these products, you select a theme for your site and that’s it. It would be nice to assume that the site created is fully accessible, but this is usually not the case. There are limited options to fix the resulting issues – but some improvements can be made – and you also have the option of choosing a good site generator in the first place. We can help with making the right choice.

If you are building your own website from scratch, then we can help you understand how to avoid common accessibility pitfalls from the beginning. If you have a complete site already we can show you how to make it fully accessible.

What about transcripts? Are they really that important?

Transcripts are essential for a multitude of potential consumers of your content. Deaf and hard of hearing are obviously denied access, but so are lots of other people who prefer to read content than hear it. A transcript has several advantages over just audio. It’s searchable, results in higher SEO, and many users can comprehend the content more clearly, especially if speakers have accents or the audio quality is compromised.

But I don’t have time or budget for creating transcripts!

This can be a challenge but we're here to help. We can recommend free or third party tools to automatically generate transcripts from audio and show you various ways of cleaning up the inevitable transcription errors quickly. We can also help you to generate really high quality transcripts that you can be proud of and want to share and help promote your podcast.

How can New Worlds Inclusive Design help?

Website assessment

At New Worlds Inclusive Design, we can offer guidance on how to comply with the ADA through the WCAG guidelines. The latest current version of WCAG is 2.1 and 2.2 is coming shortly. Each spec is broken into three levels of compliance labeled A, AA, and AAA. The A level compliance is the most basic and only ensures a base level of accessibility for most forms of disability. Most sites now aim for WCAG 2.1 AA compliance, which greatly improves the experience for users with a wide range of disabilities. AAA compliance is usually only sought for specialized sites with a particular audience requiring a very high degree of accessibility. We can target any of these levels and provide an accurate professional assessment.

Our testing methodology combines automated testing with detailed manual testing with tests for keyboard accessibility, color contrast, proper image labeling, and verification of accessibility when using screen readers on multiple platforms and browsers, as well as testing on multiple devices from desktop to mobile phones.

Remediation guidance

We won't just tell you what's wrong with your website, we'll provide detailed guidance on how to fix it. Many issues are very easy to fix without coding skills. We can work with third party platforms to identify the steps required to fix many kinds of issues and bring them into compliance. For complex issues, we can recommend a remediation roadmap detailing what issues to prioritize and what approaches can be taken.

Transcript creation

We offer a range of services depending on your budget; from one time guidance to show you how to create transcripts on your own to creating the full transcripts for you. For example, we've partnered with the podcast marketing experts 
Opens in a new window
to produce exceptionally high quality Active Transcripts for the Seldon Crisis podcast.

The Fanfare editing interface allows a podcaster to upload an audio file and have most of the work done by its state of the art AI transcription engine. This then makes it relatively fast and easy to fix any transcription flaws. We can recommend an ideal workflow for completing the transcription creation for each episode in timely fashion.
Screenshot of a portion of a Fanfare Active Transcript showing a small block of text being spoken by Kim Stanley Robinson with the player controls below. The words being spoken at the exact moment are underlined in red.
Fanfare's Active Transcripts allow a podcast consumer to read along with the audio as it's playing. The words being spoken are continually underlined as seen in the image here. This can have powerful cognitive benefits as the content is imprinted in the brain through multiple forms of input simultaneously. The user has all the usual controls for audio playback and the autoscroll feature allows users to read and listen hands free if desired.
Try it out for yourself!
Opens in a new window

Get a free consultation

New Worlds Inclusive Design provides a free consultation to understand your needs and to determine the best path forward to making your podcast or website as accessible as possible. Complete the form below or call
and we'll get you started!