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Re: Flash News Flash: It's Accessible

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 14:14:09 -0400 (EDT)
To: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
cc: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0204241409050.21751-100000@tux.w3.org>
On Wed, 24 Apr 2002, Joe Clark wrote:

  >1. Users must have the latest version of the Flash Player installed.

  Oh, so what. Time marches on. And it's free.

I agree that people need to update their systems every so often - otherwise
we would still be transferring text via ftp, or nntp. But Jakob Nielsen's
point that something eneds to have been around for a couple of years to be
widely deployed is valid - people can't always upgrade the day something new
is released.

The point is that there is significant progress towards making flash
accessible - although to see the results as widespread we will have to wait a

  >2. Users must use a screen reader that supports Microsoft Active
  >Accessibility (MSAA) (Do most versions of JAWS and other popular
  >readers currently IN USE support MSAA?)

  No real choice about that. The access infrastructure on other
  platforms is too skimpy.

Actually the work on GNOME is proceding at about equal tempo with flash - I
hope there will be a flash player using the new technology for that platform
shortly. (And that is an area where the upgrade and deployment time is often
shorter than in Windows).

  >3. Navigating between Flash and non-Flash content, using the
  >keyboard only, is virtually impossible.

  And they may not be able to fix that.

I don't think they can - it is a known problem with Internet explorer in
particular (and other browsers too) that it is bad at handing focus back and
forth. I presume browser vendors will be fixing this.

  >4. Elaborate Flash movies may present information/content in
  >multiple places, simultaneously. Screen Reading software can only
  >describe information/content in one place at any given time.

  Nature of the beast.

Well, not necessarily. There are techniques that can be used and developed
for making it easier, which would then needed to be incorporated by desingers
and their authoring tools.

  >5. Developers need to understand how to use the new accessibility features
  >of Flash properly, and then they must take the time to do so.

  Nature of the beast.

This is the nature of any new technology. As I already pointed out, some work
has been done on this for SVG already, which does very similar things to
flash, and already has a great deal of accessibility support, although tools
for it are only just becoming available.

I look forward to reading your article, Joe.


Received on Wednesday, 24 April 2002 14:14:11 UTC

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