Skip to Page Content
Guidelines: Accessible
 Distance Education

Guidelines: Accessible Flash Applications

Categories: MUST Should May

The "Must Items" are critical to basic access for people with disabilities.

  1. Clearly identify changes in the natural language of a document's text and any text equivalents. If the language changes anywhere in the Flash presentation, it is necessary to state the name of the new language and the meaning of the text, i.e., (French, "good-bye"). If the language only changes momentarily, say for a word or a couple of words, place the name and definition immediately after the change in language. If the language changes for a sentence or more place the name of the language and the disclaimer BEFORE the text in question. This allows for viewers using screen-readers to adjust their assistive technologies accordingly.

  2. Use the clearest and simplest language appropriate for a site's content. If text appears in the Flash presentation, make sure it is in the most concise and simplest language possible. This guide helps those with cognitive disabilities, those that are of younger age, and those that do not have the primary language of the document as their first language.

  3. Provide a text equivalent for all images. This can be done through providing text captions for images by putting text elements close to their graphics.

  4. Place elements in the order in which they are read. Elements must be placed in the order in which the screen reader reads them.

  5. Provide text equivalents for child objects where required. Child objects are objects contained by other objects and can also be made accessible through the accessibility panel.

  6. Cursor should move from element to element in logical order. When building any sort of form make sure that the tab indexes are set correctly so that when navigating from one element to another by using the tab key the logical and presented order is maintained.

  7. Provide an Auditory Description of Visual Tracks. Until user agents can automatically read aloud the text equivalent of a visual track, provide an auditory description of the important information of the visual track of a multimedia presentation.

  8. Distribute information evenly. When using multiple screens to convey information, divide the information equally on all screens so as not to overload the student with information on one screen while providing hardly any information on another.

  9. Use a high contrast between background colors and text colors. Students with low vision may not be able to read text that does not have a high degree of contrast between text and background. Use light text on dark backgrounds and dark text on light backgrounds.

  10. Keep Images on screen for a longer period of time. Students with cognitive disabilities require time to recognize images on screen and elements must not be flashed across the screen too quickly.

  11. Avoid the use of flashing images in Flash Movies. Flashing images or colored text may cause seizures for students with photosensitive epilepsy, and may be distracting for students with learning disabilities.

  12. Large and well formed Navigation Elements must be used. When a flash movie contains navigational elements they must be placed in a predictable location relative to previous screens or a theme and must be easily clickable with minimal movement of the input device.

  13. Advise students to use Flash Player 6 and higher. Flash player 6 and higher versions have much better support for accessibility and make all text accessible to screen readers. There are many special features added to Flash MX 2004 to support accessibility.

Top of Page