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Re: Opinions please - flash site, flash navigation - but accessible alternative

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2002 07:52:44 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200201220752.g0M7qjk14922@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> What are peoples thoughts on this? would you advise agains this - or does it
> not matter - as long as the alternative is accessible?

How are the learning disabled expected to understand such an abstract
distinction as that between a Flash and HTML page?  How are they
expected to cope when the browser requires a plugin download, security
override confirmation, or is a kiosk or set to box that is incapable
of Flash, or locked into a version too old for the page?

If the answer is that this is not the public internet, but a controlled
environment, and you need the heavy animation, I would suggest using
SVG, rather than Flash.

I'm also a little concerned that people confuse word free with easy to
understand.  I suspect that, for children of normal intelligence, 
animation is more about holding attention than understanding, with
some risk that the tool is used for the animation rather than its
real purpose.  Is your animation part of an entertainment, is it
a carrot to trick people into getting at the real content, or is
it there to explain by example.  In the first case, I would argue
that you should use entertainment media accessiblity rules, not
information media rules - i.e. treat it like a pop video.  In the second,
you probably need a top advertising expert to get it right.  The third
should allow you to limit animation to specific areas of the site.

Although one will see lots of pictures in a nursery school they are
generally pictures of concrete objects that are easy to recognize.  Most
web site navigation is about quite abstract concepts, which require
significant language skills, even if the language is graphical.

Whichever way you go, make sure that you maintain tight editorial control
and don't let the site designers control the design.  They are unlikely
to be experts on non-verbal communication, but only on Flash (or may just
want an excuse to go wild with Flash).
Received on Tuesday, 22 January 2002 02:52:49 UTC

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