[Flashaid] Ajax and Accessibility etc.
aral at ariaware.com
Fri Mar 2 07:50:21 EST 2007
Hi everyone, Richard, good to make your acquaintance :)
> We'll check out FlashAid 1.0, thanks for the link :-)
> I'd be particularly interested to know more about the "accessibility
> research and testing by Niqui Merret" - what were you looking at, and
> what did you find?
Niqui's research was what prompted us to take Adobe's documentation
with a grain of salt. Her testing basically revealed that the
hasAccessibility property doesn't do much at all apart from tell you
that you're running IE on Windows. She also helped us test on Jaws
and Window Eyes.
This post has more info:
> Specifically, a really obvious question: do you know what
> proportion of
> screenreader users have Flash installed? Is there any danger, do you
> think, that the very people who you want to be able to detect will be
> the ones who will fall through FlashAid's net?
I have no stats on this. Niqui, do you? I have, however, been told
that it's not uncommon for computers to be setup with the necessary
hardware/software for people who require screen readers. If, in fact
Flash is not part of these default installations (not that I have
statistics, either way), then it could be made part of it in the
future if there is a practical gain to be had.
> Right or wrong, the BBC's Standards and Guidelines have a view on
> I think, which is that there *is* a danger of this sort of problem.
> this reason, it says words to the effect that if you're providing an
> accessibility feature (i.e. something to help with improving
> to make sure you provide an alternative version that works acceptably
> without JS or Flash etc.
The main problem I see here is not having an alternative version:
It's knowing when to use this alternative version. Actually, this is
the core problem that FlaidAid solves.
progressive enhancement so that their apps degrade gracefully if
can have a user with a visual impairment who is confronted by an Ajax
site that is completely inaccessible to them. There is an alternative
you can use FlashAid to check if the user has a screen reader active
So, basically, it's an issue of practicality. Is it perfect? No. Is
it better than what we had previously? Yes. Can it help improve the
experience that certain disabled people will have on the web today? Yes.
Beyond that, I believe it becomes a theoretical issue and (completely
as an outsider), it seems to me that there is already quite a lot of
theoretical debate in the accessibility community :)
> Basically, the question is: could it cause as many problems as it
> solves? That's just a genuine question, by the way - I'm playing
> advocate, in a way :-)
Not really since at worst -- if they don't have Flash installed --
they are as worse off as they were. i.e., faced with the
inaccessible Ajax site (if they have JS on) or with the accessible
alternative content (if they have JS off and the site uses
progressive enhancement.) I do appreciate your playing devil's
advocate, by the way, it is very important to debate/scrutinize this
to see if it cannot be improved upon. (The tool itself is hard to
improve upon as it is a one trick pony but perhaps the workflow,
documentation, message, etc., can be.)
All the best,
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