WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: FlashPaper


From: Michael Moore
Date: Jan 31, 2005 7:59AM

kelly wrote:
> Looking for your thoughts on whether Macromedia's FlashPaper would be
> acceptable to use, from an accessibility standpoint. They claim it is
> accessible. We have done some testing and found FlashPaper docs to be
> readable by Window-Eyes and JAWS, but not by Home Page Reader. It also
> does require the Flash plug-in. It has come up as a question because
> it's included in Contribute 3, which many of our state webmasters here
> are using. We would like to offer them guidelines as to whether or not
> to use this option.

When considering whether to add an additional technology to a web page I
believe that you should consider the following:
1. Is it accessible - can it be accessed with a keyboard, does it
include sound and if so does it provide captions that are accessible.
Does it work well with assistive technologies or does it require that
those users have specialized skills.
2. If it requires a plug in include a link to acquire that plug in and
remember that some users may not be able to install plug ins.
(Corporate/agency policys, antiquated browser, lack of knowledge)
3. Does the new technology bring a real benefit to users.
4. Will the technology require additional bandwidth, if so remember your
dial up users.

Add on technologies can often bring great improvements in terms of
usability for the vast majority of users and they are great for this
purpose, but the functionality or content that they bring must be
available through other means if the technology itself is not directly
accessible. The mantra that we use in our accessible development
training is to use these add ons to enhance usability but don't make the
functionality of your site Dependant upon them.