WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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RE: Does visual layout matter for screen reader users?


From: Sinead Hogan
Date: Nov 7, 2005 12:29PM

Since I was in the unfortunate position of having to retro-fit accessibility in this case, I persevered without defining the tab order with actionscript. The best solution for me in the end was to make duplicates of the objects on screen, set their alpha to 0 (making them invisible), and place them on screen in positions that would read out sensibly using Flash's default read ordering. Then I hid their duplicate visible objects on screen from screen readers. This was pretty flexible and simple. The only disadvantage I found was that in order to alpha out text, I needed to embed a font, which added to the file size.
Well you can see how successful you think this attempt turned out. I just posted a list of different assessment types to the list. The two relevant to this discussion are:
http://www.officecompetition.com/feedback/MatchListsText.html - where I changed the visible layout when a screen reader is detected, and
http://www.officecompetition.com/feedback/MatchListsImages.html - where I made the invisible duplicates and moved them around.

Grateful for any feedback,

-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> on behalf of Andrew Kirkpatrick
Sent: Tue 25/10/2005 11:17
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: RE: [WebAIM] Does visual layout matter for screen reader users?

Regarding your comment on keyboard users; The default tab order
is turning out to be different from the default read order. The tab
order when a screen reader is not active will remain in the main content
swf, before moving up to the host swf. When a screen reader is active
all elements are read out according to their screen layout regardless of
which swf they're in. So for keyboard use - though not ideal - the
default tab order works well enough.

The reason the screen reader tab order is different is because you
haven't set the tabindex for all objects.

In player 8 there is a change that makes it possible to set the tab
order for a subset of the tabbable objects, so you could just set a tab
order for the main content swf and let the host swf fall into place.

Still hoping my quick fix will do... ?

I have reservations about it. Someone using a screen reader and
magnifier together will notice the difference.


Andrew Kirkpatrick
Principal Accessibility Engineer, Macromedia