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Re: Flash Accessibility


From: Andrew Kirkpatrick
Date: Jul 6, 2009 9:30AM

Some comments within...

There are some Flash technologies, like AIR. that are currently inaccessible on all platforms.

To clarify this comment, AIR is currently inaccessible to assistive technology users on all platforms, but applications built with AIR are not completely inaccessible to all users.

It takes a lot of developer skill and knowledge to improve the accessibility of Flash applications. Most Flash developers do not have this knowledge or skill or the interest and/or time to learn about accessibility.

I might make the same comment related to all but the most simple HTML web pages, and certainly can for HTML applications. There are extra tasks associated with high-quality web application development, and if you look at the web in general there is a lot of knowledge/skill/interest/time lacking with regard to accessibility in all corners.

We need to work with companies creating Flash authoring tools and development environments to make sure people creating Flash objects and applicatons build-in the accessibility by default, so it is easier to create accessible, rather than inaccessible Flash objects and applications.

I'm happy to work toward that goal. One good example to point out is the FLVPlayback media player in the Flash authoring tool - it is accessible by default for keyboard users, screen reader users, screen magnifier users, and other AT users, but yes, it is on windows.

>> 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

You should check out http://blogs.adobe.com/accessibility/2009/06/evaluating_flash_and_flex_cont.html for evaluation pointers and http://blogs.adobe.com/accessibility/2009/04/firefox_focus_and_actual_links_1.html for a method to make focus not skip the flash content in FireFox.

I hope that these short answers help clarify some points. I too would like to see a magic "accessibility button" that would make any application that is made fully accessible with no effort on the part of the developer, and for that matter I'd like it to be fully secure, localized, have a small memory footprint, etc. - we may never reach this without any developer effort, but we should keep trying to get closer, which is what I believe Jon was driving at in his message.