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  


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