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Archive for June, 2008

TIP #4 | Disabled Buttons

Monday, June 30th, 2008

When you are programming buttons dynamically, you might be enabling or disabling buttons that are not in use. For example, a back button can be greyed out and disabled on the first page of a slideshow. If you are leaving these buttons on the stage, and disabling them by button.enabled = false; code, then make sure to also set the button.tabEnabled = false; as well.

Buttons that are disabled, but still tabEnabled, form silent holes in the tab order. You still tab to them, but no yellow focusrect will appear. This might be confusing to users that use the tab key.

To read all the tips, select ‘Flash Accessibility Tips’ on the side bar.

Doc Edwards Kids Site

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

We have just finished a project for Raining Popcorn Media, for the new Doc Edwards Amazing Aquifer Adventure kids site for the Edwards Aquifer Authority. We did the character animations, spot animations and the site and coloring page programming. The site will teach kids about the Edwards Aquifer and the animals that live there.

Stay tuned for the final URL!

TIP #3 | Hidden Text Fields for RollOver Events

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

We have come across several Coming Soon rollover buttons. Sometimes button objects are used that do not actually have an OnRelease event, but just an OnRollOver state. Nothing happens when you click them, just when you roll over them. This is clear to a sighted user, but to a screen reader user it might be confusing when the button reads as a ‘button’, but nothing happens when it is clicked.

TIP: For buttons that only have a rollover state and no release event, consider setting the button to .silent. Then make a hidden text field behind the button that holds the information, alt text or text. The button itself can still have a .tabIndex and can still be rolled over by tabbing. Users cannot tab to a text field, so it will remain hidden. This way the screen reader avoids reading ‘button’, but will just read the message ‘Coming Soon’.

To read all the tips, select ‘Flash Accessibility Tips’ on the side bar.

Spot the new Accessible Cartoon Network Site!

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

We were commissioned by Cartoon Network to make one of their promotional sites accessible! Spot the Block is a website for the FDA that teaches kids how to read the information on Nutrition Labels.

We did a 508 analysis on the site and made a custom 508 checklist for all the pages. Then we programmed the tab order and all the accessible elements for the site. Stay tuned for the URL!

TIP #2 | Tabbing in Publish Preview

Friday, June 20th, 2008

When you have ordered all the elements with .tabIndex, and you want to test out the Reading Order with a screen reader, you will have to publish and open your file in Internet Explorer. This is because the screen reader works with MSAA, that runs inside of the browser. MSAA pulls out the content of your Flash movie, and feeds it to the screen reader. But to test out the Tab Order, by tabbing through the movie, you don’t have to leave Flash.

TIP: You can tab through your Flash movie in Publish Preview mode (CTRL + Enter) by turning off the internal shortcuts in Flash. Press CTRL + Enter. Go to Control > Disable Keyboard Shortcuts in the preview window. Now you can tab through your Flash movie to test the Tab Order.

To read all the tips, select ‘Flash Accessibility Tips’ on the side bar.

TIP #1 | Take Movieclips out of Tab Order

Friday, June 20th, 2008

When making Flash accessible, there are two things to consider: 1) The Reading Order. This is the order in which the screen reader reads the Flash content. 2) The Tab Order. This is the order in which a user would tab through the Flash movie by pressing the Tab key.

In Flash you use the tabIndex code to program both. You give tab Indeces to all elements in Flash, text, movieclips and buttons. When you use the screen reader, it will read all the elements in order. When you tab through the content, it will follow the same order. When tabbing, the yellow focusrect will come up around the items. It will not highlight text. BUT it does highlight movieclips that are just graphics. Because these are not buttons and/or selectable it does not make sense to tab to these.

TIP: Set the tabEnabled properties for graphics with Alt text to false. Example:
image1.tabIndex = 1;
image1.tabEnabled = false;

Finally, we are documenting all the answers to the FAQ on Flash Accessibility! To read all the tips, select ‘Flash Accessibility Tips’ on the side bar.