Friday, 27 July 2007

Voice Activation and Flash

Just a quick one, I just thought I'd post a note for accessible Flash developers regarding Voice activation software. Not everyone has had the chance to test using this software so This may be helpful to a few.

Flash applications are typically tricky terrain for Voice activation users (think Dragon Naturally Speaking (DNS)). The most common voice commands for HTML pages such as "link" and "image" don't work. In HTML these commands will identify the links or forms on the page and put a little number next to them. By speaking this number you can follow the link or activate the form control. Neat.

Flash reveals the controls via MSAA but Dragon does not seem to have a method of displaying them accurately yet. In fact it seems to struggle with matching links with numbers in simple CSS.

For the time being voice activation users can either rely on the mouse grid method of navigation (very slow) or spoken keyboard commands such as "tab" and "enter". this allows the user to methodically move through the Flash controls and as Flash doesn't tend to have so many links etc. this should be fine. The one thing I haven't been able to test with the guys at the Shaw Trust yet is whether DNS is capable of accessing Flash controls that are "below the fold" either because of a browser scrollbar or a Flash scrollbar. Once I get that info I'll pass it on.

Sorry for the lack of detail/illustrations but I just wanted to share this info before I forgot all about it. If you want some clarification feel free to leave a comment or send me a mail.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Real World Accessibility

Following the success of their last event of the same name, Public Sector Forums are running a second event which is designed to highlight practical considerations for providing accessible web sites.

The event will include all the original speakers, so I’ll have the pleasure of once again sharing the platform with:

Bruce Lawson
Anne McMeekin
Patrick Lauke
Dan Champion
Ian Lloyd

Dan Champion has some more details including presentation overviews up on the Champion Internet Solutions website.

The event is organised by Public Sector Forums, but it is open to anyone, public sector or otherwise. All are welcome.

I’ll be tackling the accessibility of PDF, GIS, Flash, and I’ll be providing some guidance on how and when they should be used. Between us we'll be tackling a diverse range of practical accessibility considerations.

You can read more about the event on the Public Sector Forums Website and you can use the booking form to reserve your place at the event. Oh, and make sure you give me a mention when you book because everyone who doesn't will get a sloppy kiss from Bruce Lawson. So don't forget (unless you're into that kind of thing).