Articles - Flash

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The Benefits of an Accessibility-Focused Case Evaluation

A White Paper by Michael Fiore

One of the likely unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that Special Need Trusts (SNT’s) may be impacted due to settlement criteria that can be based on past, present, and future medical needs.

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Universal Access and Web Design: What You Should Know about Flash

Flash logo

Because of the multimedia nature of Flash, it can be used to deliver content through many mediums: graphics, text, video, audio, etc. Its power and flexibility give it potential to present web content in a fully accessible manner.

Flash Accessibility Issues

Despite the ability of Flash to create highly accessible content, there are some major issues you must be aware of regarding Flash and accessibility. Nearly all of the concepts that affect HTML accessibility can also apply to Flash. These include using plenty of contrast, consistent navigation, understandable language, etc. Here are some specific strategies to make Flash accessible to different disability types:

  • Hearing disabilities
    • Provide synchronized captions for any audio that conveys content
  • Photo epilepsy
    • Remove strobing content that flashes between 2 and 55 times per second
  • Motor disabilities
    • Ensure the Flash content is keyboard accessible
    • Do not require fine motor skills
  • Cognitive disabilities
    • Give users control over time sensitive content
    • Provide easy to use controls and navigation schemes
    • Be consistent
    • Use the clearest, simplest language appropriate to the content
  • Low vision
    • Provide plenty of contrast
    • Allow the Flash content to scale to a larger size
  • Blindness
    • Ensure screen reader accessibility or provide an accessible alternative
    • Ensure keyboard accessibility
    • Do not interfere with screen reader audio or keyboard commands
    • Provide textual equivalents for all non-text elements that convey content or provide a function.

Although each of these strategies can increase accessibility, Flash content is rarely designed to include all of these strategies at the same time, thus making it inaccessible in some way. When all accessibility techniques are applied to Flash, it can be universally accessible, perhaps even more so than HTML, because the need for specific assistive technologies (with their accompanying limitations) is removed. However, such an endeavor would be difficult or even impossible with a majority of Flash content.

In short, unless all of the accessibility techniques are applied, Flash may not be accessible.

Adobe/Macromedia has developed a White PAPER. Click here to view this white paper ENTITLED BEST PRACTICES FOR ACCESSIBLE WEB DESIGN. This paper contains source files for audio, text equivalents, keyboard access and tabbing, as well as an Accessibility HTML Template.


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