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Re: Flash menu accessibility


From: Andrew Kirkpatrick
Date: Apr 25, 2003 10:03AM

A few comments...

> Setting the tabIndex of Flash objects seems to require the use of

This is generally true, although there is a default tab order for objects in flash. If you are creating a simple
navigation bar with buttons one on top of another, the tab order will likely be fine. If you are creating a
navigation bar with subnav items that appear and disappear, then you will almost certainly need to set the
tab order explicitly with actionscript.

The book chapter does indeed cover this topic. I advise that you be very methodical and meticulous when
setting the tab order. unlike HTML's tabindex attribute, you can't skip numbers, and if you leave any item
out of the tab order that will cause the tab order to revert to the default order for screen reader users
(although for keyboard users the tab order will be as you specify, omitting any item without a tabindex)

I found a sample chapter (pdf format) of the Flash Usability
>Guide that mentions pitfalls to avoid when you set tabIndex (mostly on page
>21). Also, since you're combining Flash and HTML on the same page, that
>causes other problems. Screen reader users can get into the Flash portion,
>but can't get out of it.

Just to clarify this point, screen reader users _can_ get in and out of the flash object. The problem about
tabbing out of flash content is one that keyboard users without a screen reader encounter.

The sample chapter mentions how to get around that
>problem (page 22-23), but the workaround only works in IE. (I don't believe
>that should be a huge issue since most of the major screen readers use IE as
>their browser.)

The workaround depends on javascript. Since the issue is for keyboard users and more browsers are
supporting keyboard access, this is a limitation that needs to be addressed, but the workaround is a handy
trick until this problem is addressed.

As a side note, all screen reader users who can access Flash content do so using IE. Flash interacts with
screen readers via MSAA (microsoft active accessibilty), and right now that happens via IE.


Andrew Kirkpatrick
CPB/WGBH National Center for Accessible Media
125 Western Ave.
Boston, MA 02134
Web site: ncam.wgbh.org

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