Archive for August, 2006

August 24, 2006

Cool Captioning Examples

I’ve seen a couple of interesting examples of captioning this week.
http://www.planetinneed.com/ – It’s hard to believe at first, but this is a commercial for milk. The captions are hard to read but there is a cool telepromptor-like effect. A funny site, although not a good example of screen reader access.
http://www.vikingkittens.com/ – A feline-based music video with subtitles. I kept watching longer than I wanted to because I realized that I never learned the lyrics to Led Zepplin’s “The Immigrant Song” (because Robert Plant’s singing in this song is nearly unintelligible, at least to me). Accessibility to the rescue of Led Zepplin fans everywhere…

11:02 AM Permalink
August 23, 2006

Another Solution to EOLAS Issue

Jason Garber of sixtwothree.org has a post discussing another way to avoid the “click to activate and use this control” issue. His method uses Javascript to rewrite the DOM with the same object and param elements, and apparently it works.
He has an updated version (less discussion of how it works) at: http://sixtwothree.org/blog/archives/2006/05/20/activateactivex-11.
I need to run another set of tests to see how it works with diffferent screen readers, but the Hangman game in the last post uses it and it seems OK at first blush.

2:17 PM Permalink
August 22, 2006

Two Accessible Flash Games – Which is Better?

Net Systems Solutions created a Hangman-game in Flash, and made it accessible for screen reader and keyboard users. I encouraged them to try to develop a second version of the game, but with some differences in the way accessibility is implemented.
I’d like to hear from users some of their thoughts on these two versions. There is much to be learned about accessible rich internet applications, and this is a quick and unscientific test to see what people’s reactions are to each of these versions. Please give these a try, with a screen reader of your choice or with just the keyboard, and let us know what you think. Response content will be shared for all to see.
Example 1.1: http://www.n-syst.com/hangman1.htm
Example 1.2: http://www.n-syst.com/Hangman2.html

1:22 PM Permalink
August 7, 2006

Moving Screen Reader Focus in Flash

I’ve been asked various forms of the question “how can I make JAWS move the focus for my Flash application?” recently and decided to create a quick post. The answer: sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t.
Test files:
Test file
Source FLA
When a JAWS user reaches the page containing a Flash (or Flex) application the screen reader is in what JAWS calls Virtual PC Cursor mode (Window-Eyes calls it Browse mode). In this mode the user is navigating through the screen reader’s off-screen model of the Flash application. Starting reading at the top of the page (hit ctrl+home to go to the top), the user might arrow down line by line to reach the button labeled “move focus”. The user hits enter or space and visually you can see that the focus has moved, but the virtual focus is not in the same place. Arrowing down again shows that the Virtual PC Cursor focus stayed on the button.
If the user is in Forms mode in JAWS (Browse mode off in Window-Eyes) there is no off-screen model. In this circumstance the screen reader focus is the system focus so moving it happens just as it does in a standard desktop application. For this and other reasons (that I’ll talk about in upcoming posts) we recommend that complex Flash and all Flex applications should be used in Forms mode on. This does present some other problems (reading text that is not focusable is a big one) but there are good solutions to address these concerns, but that is for another post.
It merits mention that make the focus move around within an application may not be the right thing to do for a user who can’t view the screen. However, it may save time and facilitate easy use. Move focus only when you really need to, and test with screen reader users.
In general, if you need to move the focus for a screen reader user, make sure you advise the user that they need to be in forms mode for your application.

10:10 AM Permalink