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RE: Flash (swf) object and alternatives


From: Andrew Kirkpatrick
Date: Sep 12, 2006 9:10AM

For SWFObject, I have some data at:

> The user of the screen reader will get the Flash if the
> screenreader supports it.


> Keep in mind that "accessible" Flash is only really possible
> since Flash MX.

That's right. Almost. Technically, there are a couple of things going
on. As of Flash player 6 textual information in flash content (even
flash content published pre-MX) is exposed and can be spoken. You are
correct that support in the authoring tool and support within the
scripting language to modify the accessibility object within flash
content started with the release of Flash MX.

Flash MX was released in 2002, almost 5 years ago.

> Also keep in mind that support for those new accessible
> features is *very* spotty so, while it may "appear" to a
> screenreader, it still might be unusable depending on the
> brand & version of the screenreader.

Flash content can be read in:
JAWS 4.50, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0, 8.0 (beta)
Window-Eyes 4.2, 4.5, 5.0, 5.5
HAL/Supernova (not sure of the version numbers off hand)
ZoomText 8.1, 9.0

We do not have a version of the Flash player for Firefox that delivers
accessibility information yet.

> It is important to remember though, that accessibility isn't
> just about blind people. IMO, Flash can be more accessible
> than HTML. Its self-voicing capabilities can eliminate the
> need for a screenreader, and its use of scalable graphics can

I've seen very few self-voicing apps done well (in Flash or otherwise).
There is tremendous value provided by assistive technologies that most
developers are not aware of. That being said, thre are interesting
additional possibilities that Flash is good at providing that can help
provide information beyond what a screen reader provides.


Andrew Kirkpatrick
Corporate Accessibility Engineering Lead
Adobe Systems