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Flash Accessibility

Whilst Adobe has recently added in some accessibility features to Flash, it is still a tool that generally should be avoided on your website if possible.

If Flash is used on your website then visitors using an iPhone or iPad will not be able to view that Flash content through these devices.

A Few Points to Consider

  • Just because things can move, doesn't mean they should move.
  • Too much moving content on a page is distracting. Limiting the number of animations to one is advisable.
  • Flash embedded in a web page does not work on the iPad or iPhone.
  • All University web authors MUST comply with accessibility rules and regulations regarding the content they post on the website. Therefore when considering using Flash on your site you should take into account the following information and ask yourself a few questions.

Current Accessibility Issues Surrounding Flash

  • Information is often embedded into the Flash object which prevents indexing by some search engines.
  • Flash content frequently breaks web usability/accessibility standards
    • When text cannot be zoomed in or resized.
    • If some information or text cannot be highlighted or copied.
  • Flash can restrict your audience
    • 20% of Australians have some sort of disability, therefore it is important that the information within the flash object (if deemed important and not just for aesthetic purposes) can be conveyed in another form, if you must use flash, or use an alternative method that includes all of your target audience.
    • Users of iPads/iPhones cannot view Flash objects embedded in a webpage.
  • Flash can be distracting
    • Whilst Flash objects can be visually appealing, its use and implementation can distract users from a websites core content.
    • It also creates a content barrier for users with cognitive disorders such as dyslexia or ADHD, or anyone who gets distracted easily as they may find it hard to concentrate on the text on the screen.

Other Issues with Flash

  • Flash objects can look too much like advertising and can have the opposite effect intended to a user. Users may interpret it as 'spam' advertising, and be discouraged from looking at it, or the webpage itself where the flash object is located.
  • Some users disable Flash to block any Flash advertisements, using browser plugins such as AdBlocker and FlashBlock.

Questions to Qsk Yourself

  1. Can I achieve the same effect through the use of imagery or javascript?
  2. Do I have an alternative means of conveying the information that is going to be in the flash object to people who cannot view or interact with the flash object by looking at or using a mouse?
  3. Does the use of Flash aid understanding of the information on my site?

Resources and Extra Information


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