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RE: Flash & AJAX

From: Roger Hudson <rhudson@usability.com.au>
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 2009 07:48:20 +1100
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <E1LKfLC-0006Bc-Fn@maggie.w3.org>

The question of Flash is really interesting. While unquestionably a lot of
the Flash you see on the web is inaccessible - we do have a tendency to
measure accessibility in terms of AT support. There are people I know with
learning and cognitive disabilities for whom even badly made Flash items can
increase their access to and understanding of the content being presented.

I agree that when a HTML alternative, which will do the same thing, is
available it should be used and of course when Flash is used it should
incorporate the accessibility features that are available. However, I think
we need to be careful not to dis the benefits Flash can bring to people with
reading problems or difficulties understanding complex issues.


Roger Hudson
Web Usability
Ph: 02 9568 1535
Mb: 0405 320 014
Email: rhudson@usability.com.au
Web: www.usability.com.au 

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Charles McCathieNevile
Sent: Wednesday, 7 January 2009 2:47 PM
To: Ryan Jean; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Flash & AJAX

On Tue, 06 Jan 2009 06:35:52 +1100, Ryan Jean <ryanj@disnetwork.org> wrote:

> What all is being done so that web applications are more accessible? I  
> know that it's more on the coding than the program developer, but what
> are some tactics that can be used to improve web accessibility in these
> two areas?

Flash: You have to be sure that your users only rely on a couple of  
operating systems that actually support flash accessibility. You need to  
use a bunch of flash features for accessibility (read the manual to find  
them as a start) and you should avoid using flash for things where there  
is a simpler and more accessible solution such as HTML.

"Ajax": You need to know about ARIA and how to use it, as with flash you  
should avoid using things that are more complicated when there are simpler  
ways of doing it (this is not just for accessibility, but for a bunch of  
reasons to do with protability, reliability, etc), and you need to do the  
things that WCAG talks about. (Note that WCAG2 is not that good for people  
with cognitive disabilities in particular, so you need to do some more  
thinking about the content itself, not just how to make it available to  
certain kinds of technology). Think about using real links or controls, so  
you can add accesskeys, rather than guessing what keys the user isn't  
already using and trying to take ove their keyboard with your own  
javascript (which is a big no-no for accessibility).

What is being done is that ARIA is being developed, browsers are  
implementing it (this takes time). There are also various APIs being  
created like drag and drop, that will make it possible for browsers to  
implement these things easily rather than relying on large code libraries  
or on authors writing specialised code. LIkewise, HTML itself is being  
updated to include some common thigns like date pickers as <input  
type="date" /> so you don't need any script at all and the browser can  
make it accessible.

This stuff is some way off being universally supported properly, so you  
need to look at browser compatibility charts too if you are intersted in  
where you can use it.



Charles McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle franšais -- hablo espa˝ol -- jeg lŠrer norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Wednesday, 7 January 2009 20:49:36 UTC

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