25 July 2010
Accessibility refers to the goal of providing content and functionality that is able to be used by people with disabilities. In the United States and around the world, there is a growing set of policies and legislation related to accessibility that developers need to be aware of.
The most well-known standards for accessibility are WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) from the W3C and Section 508 in the United States. WCAG 2.0 is being adopted by many countries around the world, including Germany, Australia, Japan, and many others. Section 508 is US-specific legislation that provides guidelines for making information accessible to people with disabilities. Both WCAG 2.0 and Section 508 offer accessibility criteria that developers need to meet in order to comply with the standard.
Developers using Adobe Flash Professional need to realize that if a SWF file does not communicate all the necessary information to assistive technologies, such as screen readers, the SWF file will not be able to meet the Section 508 or WCAG 2.0 standards. For example, a screen reader gets no data if there is no window, so the SWF needs to communicate with it to meet accessibility requirements. (Opaque and Transparent
wmode settings do not presently allow communication between Flash Player and assistive technologies.)
The process of making an accessible website or application may involve the following, as well as other criteria:
Screen readers read aloud the descriptions of the content for visually impaired users and read text content. Users work with screen readers to navigate menus, toolbars, dialog boxes, and input text fields in forms.
Choose Window > Other Panels > Accessibility to access the Accessibility panel in Flash. Dynamic text, input text fields, buttons, movie clips and Flash applications are predefined as accessible in all Flash documents and are available to screen reader software by default.
For more information, see the following: