E-mail List Archives

Re: Flash Content Rendering Transcript


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Dec 28, 2006 12:00PM

On Thu, 28 Dec 2006, Karl Groves wrote:

> I recently stumbled on this page on WebMD -
> http://www.webmd.com/content/pages/27/116732.htm
> As I often do just for giggles, I decided to check the page in Lynx and was
> surprised to have noticed that Lynx displays a transcript of the video. Can
> anyone describe how this is happening?

>From a Lynx perspective, it's simple: the transcript is there as normal
textual question. So we should really ask how they suppress the transcript
and show a video instead on graphic browsers. I didn't scrutinize the code
but I suppose they use CSS to hide the text and JavaScript. So it's
probably not a robust approach. What happens if CSS on and JavaScript is
off? That _could_ be handled using an arrangement where the CSS setting
for suppressing text display is generated in JavaScript code. But, as so
often, the page fails to do things robustly.

For example, on Firefox, if JavaScript is enabled, I see information about
MacroMedia Flash Player that I should install, in order to see some
unspecified video. With JavaScript disabled, I don't see that, I don't see
any video, and I don't see any transcript either.

The transcript is not of very good quality. It contains SHOUTING and it
has no paragraph markup, i.e. it is one fairly long paragraph, making it
inconvenient to read it or to listen to it.

The code is, at least in part, generated by Microsoft Office software. It
seems to have generated nonstandard markup <o:p> </o:p> where a paragraph
break should appear, but web browsers ignore such markup.

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/