I’ve had a tab open in firefox for the majority of my holiday weekend…for two reasons. 1, the influx of visitors Iâ€™ve had has left me staring at my google analytics page a bit more than it should have but more importantly, the contents of that tab were something i needed to take some time to think about. I discovered a small, open source project called Flash Aid. This project aims to use a small, 1px square flash embedded object to detect usability features of a users computer and use them in Ajax applications (such as a screen reader, as many other bloggers have pointed out). I think my internal questioning started because of some of my own preconceived notions of Flash that flash is anything but accessible to begin with. So i turned to a friend/coworker Arthur Dickerson with the question: what does “flash accessibility mean”. From our brief conversation over IM, and a useful link he sent me, it seems that the big feature of the accessibility class for flash is screen reader interaction. While the methods of this class are static, that is, always available without instantiating the class, they seem to be more tedious than complicated to implement. From Macromedia – best Practices for Accessible Flash Design warning..this is a “flash paper” document. Kinda like acrobat, but flash. ironically, my scroll wheel did NOT work which made reading it a chore 🙂 this class seems to feature things like :a “motion alt text”, provide context, control reading order, enabling key access to various components, captioning, and providing control over audio playback.
Ok, fine. Thatâ€™s a fair amount of good stuff to be including. But I guess I still don’t get how this is useful in AJAX application? Since Ajax is simply super dynamic content, but the structure of that content is (supposed to be) XHTML and css (which are, if built correctly, inherently accessible), how can access to this flash class be helpful?
I always applaud people for trying to make things better for ALL users, but can someone explain to me what I’m missing here?
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