Is Flash accessible?

Well, short answer, yes.

Long answer, yes if it is designed with accessibility in mind. Flash applications will generally not automatically be accessible. Careful consideration of the users, and the technology that will be used to access your Flash app should shape your design process.

The release of Macromedia Flash MX and CS3 has improved many of the accessibility problems once associated with Flash. Jakob Nielson commented “What was once a barrier has turned into an opportunity for making advanced Internet features available to users with disabilities.” [ ].

One of the key features that Flash now offers is the ability to include textual descriptions of Flash presentations in a similar way alt text is used in HTML.
However, this feature is not apparent to all Flash developers. Today I advised a colleague how they could improve the accessibility of a Flash advertisement to be used on a high profile website. The Flash was beautifully presented with great pictures and rich content but was simply not accessible to all users. The designers had obviously overlooked the accessibility of the advertisement for extraordinary users completely.

Flash is becoming increasingly common on the web. The long Flash intro’s common in the early ‘noughties’ is now a thing of the past, but on the flipside, flash as an advertising and presentational tool to interact and engage with the user is certainly on the increase. With this in mind it is important designers consider those who may still not be able to access ‘poorly designed’ Flash, whether it be a mobile device user or a screen reader user.

I will post some ways in which Flash can be made more accessible in the near future, but until then please see

In addition, if you are unsure why Flash is so popular see this interesting forum article I stumbled across

Also, I recommend you view these Flash sites. These are great demonstrations of what is possible:

But…Are they accessible???

Posted byCharlie M at 14:10 0 comments  

Capital One makes life difficult...

Posted byCharlie M at 13:33 0 comments  

Accessible Blogs?

I thought a good way to begin this Blog is to practice what I preach. Here is an article about creating accessible blogs for blind users:

One of barriers which visually impaired web users always mention is the use of “Word Verification” on websites. The idea is that the letters & numbers can only be read by humans, and not any automated machines or ‘bots’.
This is what I was shown when I signed up to Blogger:

Usually “Word Verification” is not accessible. In this example however, Blogger has included an audio version of the “Word Verification”:

It appears to work well, and will potentially open blogging up to a wider audience.

Is my new blog “accessible” according to an automated checker? No. Here’s a screenshot:

When I get a chance I’ll do a manual accessibility check….

Posted byCharlie M at 12:30 1 comments

This is an interesting site with regular posts and downloadable podcasts.

About the Hosts:

About Dennis
Dennis Lembree is the founder of web development company CheckEngine USA, which specializes in web usability, standards, and accessibility.

About Ross
Ross Johnson runs a web design company (3.7 Designs) that takes a wholistic view on the web and art of constructing pages. They strive to be creative and unique.

Posted byCharlie M at 12:08 0 comments  

Some key questions I hope to address:

Here are some key questions I hope to address. ALL comments / ideas / thoughts gratefully recieved!

- Are the most WCAG compliant websites the most accessible?

- Does achieving WCAG ratings always mean you have created an accessible site?

- Are the most accessible the most usable?

- What are the main barriers to accessibility / usability?

- Are the areas which have poor usability also the areas with poor accessibility?

- Can the sites be used effectively by all parties?

- Do automatic accessibility tools work?

- How accessible / usable are Credit Card sites?

Posted byCharlie M at 20:09 0 comments  

Web Accessibility Rambles....

This is the first post to the all new Web Accessibility Rambles blog. Basically, this is an area I intend to post my thoughts, findings, URLs, resources, etc etc when continuing my research in the vast and ever growing field of Accessibility on the web.

Posted byCharlie M at 19:04 0 comments