WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Adobe Flex, Accessibility, Voice Recognition, Grids, and Screen Readers


From: Steve Green
Date: Apr 30, 2009 10:15AM

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Tim Harshbarger
Sent: 30 April 2009 16:48
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] Adobe Flex, Accessibility, Voice Recognition, Grids,and
Screen Readers


I am looking for specific information regarding the accessibility of Adobe
Flex applications.

Does anyone know anything about the accessibility of Flex applications for
voice recognition (like Nuance NaturallySpeaking"?

How accessible are table grid controls for screen readers within the Flex



We recently tested a Flash-based website with a person who uses
NaturallySpeaking. He is an accredited trainer so he is highly proficient.
My guess is that Flex will behave in a similar manner.

The first problem was that he did not recognise the content as being Flash,
and there is no reason why any user should do so. It looked like text and
images, so he tried to interact with it in the way he would do with text and
images. Of course none of the commands worked.

Next he used the mousegrid commands, and whilst this was successful it was
painfully slow. Because it emulates mouse behaviour it was able to trigger
hover effects, which would not be the case with any of the other means of

I suggested that he use the commands that emulate the tab key, and that was
also partially successful but again it was very slow. The usual issues with
Flash are that you sometimes cannot give focus to some clickable elements
and often the tab order is all over the place. I have no reason to expect
Flex to be any different.

My expectation of Flex is that someone who understands front-end web
technology could probably use it with NaturallySpeaking. However, I suspect
that the majority of ordinary users could not use it at all, or they would
struggle for a while before abandoning it unless the application was
exceptionally compelling.

Steve Green
Test Partners Ltd