Monday, March 12th, 2007

Flash (In)Accessibility for the Speed Impaired

Category: Flash

Ara Pehlivanian has a few words to say on the accessibility of Flash:

Disabling the Flash context menu is a bad idea! By turning it off (actually setting the menu property’s value to “false“), you’re not only not allowing me to lower the quality of the animation, but you’re also not allowing people with impaired vision to be able to zoom the content for easier reading. So, though it may be cool, or “in” to do it, the next time you’re tempted to turn off the context menu, do us slower computer owners a big favour and don’t.

He must have seen this a few times recently. I like the view-source option that was added. Hopefully more and more will turn it on and share.

Posted by Dion Almaer at 6:10 am

3.4 rating from 25 votes


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You might have a valid point here…. but having said that, you must realise that some options on the menu does screw up the movie.
(Eg: Play, Loop)
From a designer/developer point of view, there is really no reason whatsoever to have a rewind/forward option… thus… no reason to have the menu at all.
controlling the quality of flash movies won’t really reduce down speed that much.. common.
and looking at the big picture… Flash is multimedia, and it’s meant to be big, elegant and chunky. (you won’t watch your DVD movies from a 14″ CRT monitors, would you?… unless you’re on an airplane.)

Comment by Shaun — March 12, 2007

Damn you haul a CRT on an airplane… you are hardcore

Comment by Ed — March 12, 2007

I believe the view source is only on flex apps. It doesn’t make as much sense in regular flash world.

Comment by David — March 12, 2007

Have to agree with Shaun, the author of the article have put too much of personal attitude.
I usually also forbid this menu so the user cant ruin the whole effect.

Comment by ajaxus — March 12, 2007

But he would ruin it only for himself wouldn’t he? Why would you keep a user from ruining “the whole effect” from himself, given that he knows what he is doing. I understand both Ara Pehlivanian and the developers, but i think Ara has a more massive argument in this situation. Although i think for this situation to be resolved Adobe should step in and develop a tool for accessibility, like allowing the user to turn the context menu back on even though the author of the flash movie has it disabled (it should of course be the users choice).

Comment by Gudbergur — March 12, 2007

This is the age-old conflict between designers wanting their design to appear as intended, and users wanting to use the design in ways not intended.

IMHO, the user is king. Designers should swallow their pride and let the user do whatever they want.

Comment by Joeri — March 12, 2007

I don’t know about that Joeri. I’ve rarely seen “letting user doing what they want to do” as a good thing except in the most specialized and complex apps, like dev tools. As a designer, one of the most frustrating briefs I can get will be “do whatever you want, and here’s a blank page for ya!”

Every focus test I’ve seen and my own experience as a consumer/user leads me to believe that the user expects and deserves to be shown a consistent and clear pathway to accomplishing their goals.

I think this “issue” is a bit on the fishy side personally. If accessibility is such a significant goal for Flash/Flex development, surely it shouldn’t be relegated to a context menu most people aren’t even aware of? Surely there’s a whole lot more to accessibility than the limited control achieved by that menu?

Comment by Gary R Boodhoo — March 12, 2007

IMHO, for real Accessability, you should have an option to scale the Text and images, not Zoom in and out.

Comment by Thomas — March 13, 2007

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