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RNIB Look Louder Flash game

From: <Julie.Howell@rnib.org.uk>
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 13:54:19 +0100
Message-ID: <E990ED521862D411B36200508BAE7B2902C67DD8@londonlocal.rnib.org.uk>
To: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org

Hi everyone

Please find below an announcement from RNIB.  All help and feedback
appreciated (please be frank!).

Look Louder – request for help!

Today is RNIB Look Loud Day.  This is an annual fundraising event, when we
ask everyone to dress in their loudest clothing to support RNIB.

But I’m not writing to ask you to do that!

In conjunction with Look Loud Day, RNIB has been working with online
solutions company Bluewave (http://www.bluewave.com) to create an accessible
online game designed in Macromedia Flash.

But isn’t Flash inaccessible?

Well, yes.  But RNIB’s Campaign for Good Web Design would like this to

Macromedia Flash is ‘proprietary’ software.  This means you can only view
web sites and web applications created in Flash if you have the Flash
plug-in installed on your machine.  But there’s a far worse problem for
blind and partially sighted people.

Up until recently, Macromedia made very little effort to ensure that Flash
sites could be read by the screenreading software that blind people rely
upon.  Add to this the fact that most Flash designers appear to be unaware
that blind people use the internet and we have a big problem.

We could campaign for web designers not to use Flash.  But this is one of
the most popular authoring tools on the web, and it is clear that it is very
effective as a communications tool, given the right circumstances.  

One of the Campaign for Good Web Design’s key messages to designers and
software companies has always been ‘we don’t want to hold you back, we want
you to take us with you’.  In this spirit, we decided to work with
Macromedia and Bluewave on a project to test whether the changes Macromedia
have made in their new authoring product, Flash MX, truly do lead to the
creation of Flash sites that are accessible to people who are blind and surf
the web with a screenreader.

The brief RNIB gave Bluewave was to use Flash MX to create an online game
that would be as accessible to blind people as it is to sighted people, and
to log the design process so that we could learn just how accessible Flash
files really are to people with disabilities.

From the outset we have one huge problem.  At this point, files created in
Flash MX are only accessible to version 4.2 of the Windoweyes screenreader.
If you are using any other screenreader, Flash files will still be
inaccessible to you!  This is obviously unacceptable, and we are lobbying
Macromedia to continue to develop their products so they can be read by all
access technologies.

The Look Louder project objectives are:

- to raise awareness of RNIB’s Campaign for Good Web Design
- to encourage web designers to start using the accessibility features in
Macromedia Flash MX
- to encourage Macromedia (and other software companies) to continue to
develop their products so that they are accessible to everyone
- to ask blind and partially sighted people to get involved in lobbying
software companies and web designers
- to raise awareness of RNIB Look Loud Day
- to collect feedback about the game that will inform further development of
Macromedia's products
- to capture and record the design process used by Bluewave (who designed
the game for us) so we can make Macromedia aware of any bugs or problems and
help them improve their products, and so we can use the 'learning' to decide
how to campaign effectively on this issue.

How you can help:

Please play the game as many times as possible.

Please forward the Look Louder web site address to as many people as
possible http://lookloud.bluewave.com

Please send me feedback.  All feedback is welcome.  All feedback is
extremely helpful.
Feedback will be collated and passed to Macromedia in due course.
Email your feedback to julie.howell@rnib.org.uk

Your support is absolutely crucial to the effectiveness of this project.

Finally, we know this isn’t a complete accessibility solution.  We know that
any use of proprietary software on web sites causes both accessibility and
usability issues for users.  We know that pre-existing Flash sites remain
inaccessible, and this extremely unfair to those who find themselves
excluded.  We acknowledge that promoting an application that is only
accessible to one version of one screenreader is woefully inadequate.

But we do hope that this project will make  many more web designers aware of
accessibility and will encourage companies like Macromedia to continue down
the road of accessible, open standards.

Very many thanks for your support.  The project is live all year, and we
want to get as many people to play it as possible.  Please visit
http://lookloud.bluewave.com and enjoy playing the game!

p.s. the game is Macromedia Site of the Week in the UK

Kind regards
Julie Howell
Campaigns Officer (Internet)
Royal National Institute of the Blind
105 Judd Street, London WC1H 9NE
Phone +44 (0)20 7391 2191
Mobile +44 (0)7984-600089
Fax +44 (0)20 7391 2034

2 million people in the UK experience sight loss or blindness.
Poor design prevents many disabled people from getting the most from the
Support RNIB's campaign for better Web design!

Ask me for our campaign film (CD-Rom or VHS video): 'Web sites that work'
Ask me for our campaign report: 'Get the message online'
For news and event announcements join the campaign mailing list:   


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RNIB Registered Charity Number: 226227

Website: http://www.rnib.org.uk 

14th June 2002 is RNIB Look Loud Day - visit http://www.lookloud.org.uk to
find out all about it.
Received on Friday, 14 June 2002 08:52:59 UTC

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