Tips & Tutorials — Creating Accessible Content
How do I make Flash accessible?
Adobe's Flash format is among the most widely-used for delivering dynamic, rich-media content via the web. Within the CSU, Flash is commonly used for delivering interactive, multimedia-based curricular materials thorugh a web browser.
While older versions of the Flash authoring environment provided limited support for developing accessible content, Flash CS3, Adobe's latest developer environment, provides significantly improved support for authoring accessible content. In particular, Flash CS3 allows developers to assign text equivalents for Flash elements, control the reading order for elements, provides the status of elements to assistive technology devices, enable full keyboard navigation, and provide captions for video materials.
End-users who wish to utilize these accessiblity features should update their Adobe Flash Player version to version 9.0.115 (released December, 2007) or later. This version is also the first to provide full accessibliity support for Firefox browsers as well as the first to support video encoded in the H.264 format increasingly used by video-oriented web sites.
Tips, Techniques & Tutorials
- Adobe's Flash CS3 Accessibility Site provides numerous resources for Flash developers including best practices, an FAQ, and coding examples. Note, however, that some of the documentation, particularly the white papers, are somewhat out-of-date.
- Adobe's Accessibility Blog is a good source for up-to-date news regarding Flash accessibility.
- Adobe's Developer Documentation includes a great deal of technical information on the Accessibility class built into ActionScript 3.0.
- WebAIM's Creating Accessible Macromedia Flash Content (tutorial)
- NCAM's Rich Media Resource Center Flash Tutorials
NCAM: Rich Media Accessibility page provides tutorials to help developers learn how to create and deliver accessible rich media.
- Gabriel McGovern's Accessible Video Interface presentation from HigherEdWebDev 2007 provides a walkthrough of creating an accessible flash interface and includes all source files.
- Several alternatives to Adobe's built-in FLVPlaybackCaptioning component are available that provide additional flexibility or functionality for displaying captions for Flash Video. These include CC for Flash, the JW FLV Player, and the RIT Media Player.