WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Flash Accessibility


From: Rothschild, Joseph T. (CDC/CCHIS/NCHM) (CTR)
Date: Jul 5, 2009 6:50PM

Flash can be made quite accessible, however most developers don't have
the tools to properly test them.

What we've discovered is that many of the flash components that come
shipped with Flash make the flash movie inaccessible by causing flash to
trap focus. The obvious solution of using the Accessibility pane
properties in addition to basic AS accessibility coding solves many of
the issues, but it often comes down to frequent testing using a variety
of screen readers and browsers.

So in short, it's your developers.


.:: Joseph Rothschild ::.
.:: Pixels Misshapen, Not Stirred ::.
.:: 508 Accessibility Specialist / New Media Developer ::.
.:: Contractor with Northrop Grumman ::.
.:: CDC National Center for Health Marketing ::.
.:: Division of eHealth Marketing - New Media Group ::.
.:: Office. 404.498.1140 ::.
.:: Mobile. 858.204.8105 ::.
.:: SL. Fender Soderstrom ::.

-----Original Message-----
[mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of David
Sent: Friday, July 03, 2009 6:56 PM
Subject: [WebAIM] Flash Accessibility


I'm not a Flash developer so I wanted to ask for an opinion of those of
you that are. I often receive Flash tools and movies from vendors that
don't meet these two basic accessibility requirements: usable without a
mouse, and readable by JAWS. Using the Tab key, the focus just jumps
right over the Flash -- I can't Tab to any of the active elements within
the Flash. And when I listen to them with JAWS, none of the text that I
see within the Flash is read out loud. I usually hear something like,
"Flash movie begin.
Flash movie end."

I have seen Flash components made that satisfy both of these
So my question is -- do Flash developers need to do something "extra" to
Flash components to get them to meet these requirements, or are the
vendors I'm dealing with just not coding their Flash correctly?

With HTML, I'm confident in pointing out mistakes that developers make.
Even if the HTML developer doesn't know that my company cares about
accessibility, coding a data table using TDs instead of THs for the
column headers is simply wrong. Sure, they can make the TD column
headers look bold and centered using styles, but it's technically
incorrect. And this is a case that if they did it correctly, even not
knowing anything about accessiblity, it would end up being more
accessible. Also, I wouldn't consider it to be asking for something
"extra" to request that the developer redo it with THs.

Basically, I want to know if the Flash developers I'm working with are
sweeping dirt under the rugs and calling the house clean, or am I
expecting them to do the windows?

David Ashleydale