Podcasts have been one of the great enablers for exploring digital accessibility issues and for giving voice to people with disabilities in general.
There are literally thousand of podcasts out there, and there are hundreds that have at least some relevance to digital accessibility. In this article, I’ve concentrated on three groups of podcasts.
- Podcasts that focus on digital accessibility
- Web tech or design podcasts that have episodes relevant to digital accessibility
- Podcasts about disability including digital accessibility
Before I start listing podcasts, I have to acknowledge Nicolas Steenhout, who not only has an enviable history hosting his own podcasts that focus on accessibility, he has also been a guest on many of the podcasts listed here speaking on a range of accessibility issues – AND he’s probably the foremost authority on accessible podcasting.
A11y Rules Sound Bites is a series of short shows where individuals with disabilities discuss what their impairment is, and what barriers they encounter on the web. Hosted by Nicolas Steenhout. The podcast home website is down as at publication date, but podcast episodes are available at: Apple, Listen Notes, PodChaser, TuneIn, Podtail.
Nic has also been interviewed in various formats about how and why podcasts should and can be made accessible. That includes:
- Text interview on 24 Accessibility: Case Study – Podcast Becomes a WCAG 2.1 Implementation Site
- Video interview on Technica11y: Accessible Podcasts
- Audio interview on The Podcraft Podcast: Making Your Podcast More Accessible (& Growing Your Audience as a Result!)
It’s probably no surprise, then, that Nic collaborated with Eric Eggert to set up an entire website devoted to the subject: Podcast Accessibility. When it comes to digital accessibility and podcasting, Nic Steenhout is a true champion.
Now, let’s see what else is – or was – out there. Some of these podcasts are no longer in production, but the content of their episodes remains very relevant. I’ve also deliberately included only podcasts that provide transcripts.
I haven’t listed which outlets and formats each podcast is available in, you can find that out by following the links. If you have a favorite podcast provider, you can also search for “accessibility” and you’ll find relevant podcasts hosted by Apple, Castro, Deezer, Google, iHeart, iTunes, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Podbean, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, and many more.
Podcasts that focus on digital accessibility
The accessibility podcast, brought to you by Be My Eyes. Learn about universal design, ADA, inclusivity and digital a11y best practices from the world’s most respected industry professionals.
Polish language podcast run by Wrocław-based digital accessibility agency Kinaole, hosted by Piotr Źrołka. Some episodes are conducted in English (noted on the episode page) and all transcripts are available in English.
3Play Media’s podcast about web and media accessibility and the people innovating and implementing access across industries. Hosted by Elisa Lewis.
Chad Celius and Dax Castro unravel accessibility by chatting to each other and guests about important document accessibility topics and trends. They may even occasionally complain a little, now and again.
Joe Welinske, Accessibility Director at UX Design company Blink, interviews key people in the digital accessibility industry about what’s right and wrong, and what their experiences have taught them.
The Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT) fosters collaborations in the technology space that build inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities.
Team members of high profile UK digital accessibility agency host discussions on current industry topics.
Of course I was going to include my mob, but these really are good. Host Mark Miller from the global digital accessibility giant discusses key current topics, including an excellent series of interviews with “Real People, Real Stories”.
Why don’t the worlds of mainstream tech and accessibility tech ever seem to collide? Shelly Brisbin, who keeps one foot in each, wants to know. She and her guests from both worlds chew over the news and trends of the day.
Brought to you by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, an organization dedicated to supporting professionals and organizations with professional training, certifications, and networking.
Web Axe is Dennis Lembree’s blog about web accessibility. It was founded in 2005, and originally started as a podcast. While the most recent podcast episode dates back to 2015, there is an archive of 108 episodes going back 10 years, a true archival sound library of digital accessibility.
Web tech or design podcasts that have episodes relevant to digital accessibility
A sound-rich, narrative podcast hosted by Roman Mars about all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about — the unnoticed architecture and design that shape our world.
- Episode 360: The Universal Page, in which reporter Andrew Leland explores the history of blind reading.
Features special guests and topics like web publishing, art direction, content strategy, typography, web technology, and more. It’s everything web that matters. Hosted by Jeffrey Zeldman. Episodes that either focus or touch on accessibility include:
- Episode 186: Tantek Çelik—web standards, toolchains, and the decentralized web
- Episode 184: Accessibility is not a “nice to have” – with Derek Featherstone
- Episode 160: Color Accessibility Workflows with Geri Coady
- Episode 136: Designed With Web Standards: USA! USA! featuring Maya Benari
- Episode 95: Jake Archibald
- Episode 2: HTML5 with Jeremy Keith
Clearleft is a UK design transformation consultancy. Each podcast episode, hosted by Jeremy Keith, is about a specific theme and can feature many voices.
- Season 2, episode 3: Accessibility, with Laura Kalbag, Léonie Watson, and Cassie Evans
Community of programmers and people learning to code. While quite a few episodes refer to accessibility, there are six that focus specifically on implementing digital accessibility.
- Season 25 Ep 8: Empowering Developers of All Abilities Judith Lung
- Season 24 Ep 3: Building Products for Everyone Daniel Devesa Derksen-Staats
- Season 13 Ep 6: How to think about accessibility and empowerment Sareh Heidari
- Season 1 Ep 1: Intro to Accessibility Stephanie Slattery
- Ep 144: Codeland – Accessibility and Education talks from Sterling Walker and Maurice Rogers Sterling WalkerMaurice Rogers
- Ep 20: Accessibility Joseph McLarty
Frontend podcast by Bruce Lawson and Vadim Makeev about the magical and glamorous world of web standards, browsers and everything in between.
Scott Hanselman hosts fresh tech talk from fresh faces. Episodes that focus on accessibility include:
- Show #714: Building a culture of accessibility from step zero with Ayesha Mazumdar
- Show #665: Regine Gilbert on the Essence of Accessibility
- Show #655: Gaming for all with the Xbox Accessibility Controller and John Alexander
- Show #640: Web Accessibility and a focused on A11Y with Nicolas Steenhout
- Show #475: Accessibility (a11y) with OpenDirective’s Steve Lee
- Show #355: Accessibility, Deafness, and Computing with Jenny Lay-Flurrie
- Show #125: Accessibility in Web and Rich Applications
Founded and hosted by women in digital technology to add female voices to the male-dominated tech podcast space.
- October 2020: Web Accessibility, in which Kelly Vaughn, Ali Spittel and Emma Bostian interview Wendy Fox, design systems lead at LogMeIn, to discuss nine common pitfalls of application accessibility.
A weekly podcast about building websites from Dave Rupert and Chris Coyier. A search for “accessibility” has 47 results, featuring interviews with a number of key industry figures and discussion of relevant topics.
The Smashing Magazine podcast is hosted by Drew McLellan and Vitaly Friedman. While many episodes touch on accessibility there are two highly relevant episodes.
Jason Ogle talks to design leaders. Many episodes refer to accessibility, with three focusing specifically on digital accessibility.
Jen Simmons speaks with world experts on changing technologies and the future of the web. Episodes that either focus or touch on accessibility include:
Podcasts about disability including digital accessibility
There are a LOT of podcasts run by and for and about people with disabilities. Feedspot, for example, lists 1,208 disability podcasts (which it divides into useful categories, well worth browsing). Most of these deal with all aspects of living with a disability: advocacy, education, employment, health, discrimination, independence, support, legalities, equipment, etc, while many focus on just one of these topics or on living with a particular kind of disability.
Digital accessibility does come up occasionally as a topic in many of these podcasts, but I’ll limit myself to listing a dozen or so here where web access and technology are known to have been discussed. I’ve included only podcasts that are current (or at least recent) and that provide transcripts.
Weekly BBC podcast about mental health, wellbeing and disabled people. Life stories and solutions with a friendly touch – for listeners around the world. Presented by Nikki Fox.
Kyle Khachadurian and Emily Ladau keep it real about issues within the disability community. Because they each have different disabilities and mobility levels, they approach everything they talk about from two unique viewpoints, offering listeners a fresh insight into how differences in disability can color experiences and perspectives.
Hosted by Jillian Curwin, dedicated to telling honest and real stories about living in a world that was not necessarily designed for us.
Bob Kafka from KSFR Santa Fe Public Radio interviews people with disability, advocates and activists on all kinds of issues related to disability.
Join Australian NDIS provider DSC in the kind of conversations that come about when passionate people aren’t afraid to speak their minds.
Run by the Leonard Cheshire disability support organization, guest hosts respond to current topics, share stories and open up conversations about disability, from sex education to inclusive sport, to music and mental health.
Zec Richardson is joined by Mik Scarlet & Dan White and a whole host of guests to discuss all aspects of disability and life.
Qudsiya Naqui brings together activists, scholars, artists, athletes and many others to share their wisdom about how we can reimagine policies, practices, and the built environment.
A podcast from the Johns Hopkins University Disability Health Research Center that challenges stereotypes of disability by sharing stories, data, and news.
Adam Pearson, Simon Sansome, Chris Leasmith and Duncan Casburn are putting the world right on a regular basis, discussing everything from disability to the stupidest of questions.
Independent, self-funded series, where Alice Evans and Lucy Wood talk with disabled guests about their personal experiences of disability, chronic illness, and health differences.
A half-hour radio show from 94.1 KPFA providing critical coverage of disability issues and bringing the insight of the grassroots disability movement to the general public.
Hosts Dylan Alcott (2022 Australian of the Year) and Angus O’Loughlin speak to people living with disabilities about their lives and ask them the questions you thought were off-limits.
Expands the conversation on autism and neurodiversity by amplifying the voices of autistic individuals and thought leaders in providing insightful, cutting-edge and practical information about the autistic experience.
As always, please add your favorite podcasts in the comments below. I, for one, am always on the lookout for more perspectives on how we can make the web mnore accessible to people with disabilities, and I welcome your suggestions.