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Text Based Training in FLASH and Conformance with WCAG 2.0 AA


From: Moore,Michael (DARS)
Date: May 19, 2015 9:40AM

I frequently am asked to evaluate training materials that are text based and presented through FLASH. As far as I know FLASH does not support the following conformance requirements.

1.3.1 Info and Relationships
FLASH does not appear to have a method of presenting headings as headings, lists as lists etc. However under the sufficient techniques using consistent formatting of headings, lists and paragraphs is listed as sufficient. This would seem to work with screen magnification or for someone who is sighted but does not use a mouse or even for someone with cognitive impairments but I do not know of a method that can be used with a screen reader to determine the font size or weight within FLASH based text. This also seems to violate 4.1.2 since the role is not present.

1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence
Since the FLASH module lives in a single web page moving to the next group of content by pressing the next button changes the content within the viewport but leaves the users focus at the bottom of the page. The user can navigate back to the top of the page and then skip to the start of the FLASH content but this seems to be cop out to me. During user testing we have observed users with screen reader software expressing considerable frustration with this requirement. We have also noticed that it leads to a significant increase in the time that it takes a screen reader user to complete a training course because of this limitation.

So what do you wise sages think? Can text based FLASH actually conform to the requirements above? For the record I am not picking on FLASH (too much) just thinking that it is an inappropriate technology for presenting structured text content.

Mike Moore
Accessibility Coordinator,
Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
(512) 424-4159 (Office)
(512) 574-0091 (Cell)