Posts in Category "Flash"

July 13, 2012

Flash Player Installer Updated

Those of you who use a screen reader on Windows will by now be well aware of issues with the main Flash Player installer that resulted in screen reader users needing to rely on an alternate installer. Users could find buttons marked Q or I, but no other information was read out.

We can with a great deal of relief report that the latest Flash Player installer, 11.3, released on July 11th, restores accessibility support on Windows. Additionally, the Flash Player installer has added support for unassisted updates. Now you can select an option that will silently update your Flash Player version automatically, without encountering another installer dialog.

Not all of the interface is perfect, as we recognize, and we encourage users to report bugs that they find via our site at We are also continuing to press for improvements on Mac OS X, as well as working on other ways to make the installation and configuration processes easier to use. For example, Flash Player is pre-installed in Google Chrome, and the we’re beginning to offer OS-level settings management for the player (see the Flash player settings control panel on Windows. With these updates, we hope installations and use will become easier in the future.

9:48 AM Permalink
October 3, 2011

New Work on Closed Captioning

Supporting accessibility is an important aspect of supporting video, and closed captioning is of particular interest lately with the release of the FCC’s proposed rules for captioning. The FCC’s proposed rules are to fulfill the requirements of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 and are specifically targeted to broadcast video when delivered via the Internet.

A key question around captioning is the best file format for caption data. The W3C’s TTML is a standards which is commonly used, and SMPTE has extended this standard for an additional format, commonly known as SMPTE-TT. In addition to these, the WHAT-WG recently invented a new format, named WebVTT (based on a previous format, SRT). Authors are not surprisingly unsure as to the right format to use. As appealing as a single caption format may be, it currently seems unlikely that a single format will meet the needs of all providers of captions.

Adobe has helped those delivering video via Flash deliver closed captioning for several years. Flash CS3 included support for TTML (then known as DFXP) back in 2007 and has provided similar support for TTML in the Open Source Media Framework (OSMF). Our most current work on captioning addresses other standards for captioning:

  • Support for SMPTE-TT in OSMF. We’ve developed a plugin for OSMF to support SMPTE-TT. This is freely available and licensed under the BSD software license, so even if you aren’t using OSMF it is possible to utilize the source code to support SMPTE-TT in other environments. This plugin supports robust positioning and formatting for closed captions.
  • Participation in a community group for WebVTT at the W3C. WebVTT is still new and needs work to fully support the necessary functionality for captions. The advantage of this work happening at the W3C is that there is a greater opportunity for additional input. As this is a format that browser vendors have expressed interest in implementing, it is important for developers and end users to join the community group and weigh in on strengths and weaknesses of the format to help ensure that the spec provides support which is sufficient for the needs of all concerned. Adobe has joined this group to help ensure that this is true for the WebVTT community spec being drafted.

Our intent is to support what our customers want, and we have some customers who want each of these three formats. As a result we’re engaged with multiple efforts. The bottom line for Adobe is that end users who depend on captions need complete information to provide access to video and audio content and developers and video providers need efficient solutions that fit into their overall video workflow. Whether providing implementations for a developed standard or engaging in a standards development activity, we will work to ensure that both end user and video provider needs are met.

10:49 AM Permalink
March 18, 2011

Flex 4 Accessibility Best Practices

I’m pleased to share a new document: Flex 4 Accessibility Best Practices. This document was developed with the help of the SSB BART Group and provides valuable information to help developers create applications in Flex that meet the needs of users with disabilities and help address compliance targets.

This document will soon find its permanent home on the Adobe Accessibility Best Practices page.

Please feel free to send any comments or questions.

1:11 PM Permalink
March 11, 2011

Adobe at CSUN 2011 Conference

The California State University at Northridge’s Conference on Disability is going on March 16-18, 2011, and Adobe is offering a number of sessions that we hope people will find interesting and informative, as well as offering opportunities to talk directly to Adobe’s accessibility team and product team members.

The event will feature several sessions and events that I want to provide some details for. Here’s our schedule of events:

Wednesday, March 16

Thursday, March 17

Friday, March 18

The following is not an Adobe session, but it is introducing a valuable resource in the form of a course on accessible Flash development, developed jointly by the Department of Veterans Affairs and SSB BART Group.

Adobe will have several people at CSUN and will be attending the TweetUp as well as being available to talk between or after sessions. Please come introduce yourself and ask questions and share your thoughts.

4:25 PM Permalink
November 30, 2010

Quick Thoughts On Canadian Legal Ruling

There was an important ruling today on accessibility from the Canadian Federal Court that is worth a read.

A blind woman filed suit against the government of Canada stating that the government “violated her rights under section 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Part I of the Constitution Act, 1982″. In short the findings of the court were that many web sites for the Canadian government are not meeting the Common Look and Feel standard (CLF). The Court found that the government should update the CLF standard to utilize WCAG 2.0 instead of WCAG 1.0 and that there is sufficient evidence of compliance problems that need to be addressed that the Court found that the applicant was discriminated against due to the need to access information and apply for employment via these websites. The Court is allowing the government 15 months to come into compliance.

There are a couple of points raised in the ruling and in a Globe and Mail online article (Court orders Ottawa to make websites accessible to blind) that I would like to clarify. The points are as follows:

  • From the ruling: “The applicant testified that in June 2007 she attempted to access information on the consumer price index and unemployment rate from the Statistics Canada website. She stated that actual statistics were, however, only available in “pdf” format, which is not accessible to screen reader technology.”
  • From the ruling: [reported by a witness for the applicant] “…for example, “flash” is a technology that cannot be read by many screen readers. If a website uses “flash” technology, the user will not be able to access that content…”
  • From the Globe and Mail article: “Many blind people use screen readers, computer software that translates electronic text into audio. But the readers aren’t foolproof — for one thing, most can’t decipher PDF files, a format often used to publish documents online.”

None of these is accurate. Even in 2007, most screen readers could read PDF and Flash capably. In fact, the screen reader used by the applicant was capable of reading both PDF and Flash. The points above indicate that most screen readers can’t read PDF or Flash, but it is more accurate to say that most can, including JAWS, Window-Eyes, NVDA, and others. Adobe provides a “read out loud” feature in Adobe Reader that provides basic access to PDF documents, but most users who are blind will depend on a more full-featured assistive technology.

This is not to suggest that the applicant didn’t encounter challenges, she clearly did. Authors of HTML web pages, as well as authors of PDF documents and Flash content need to make sure that they follow accessibility standards, and if authors don’t, users suffer.

We have techniques available for complying with WCAG 2.0 when authoring Flash, HTML, and techniques for PDF are in the works (there are training resources available for PDF at Adobe’s accessibility site in the meantime). The information that authors need is available, this ruling will undoubtedly stimulate an increased interest in these sources of information.

Adobe is committed to helping authors comply with accessibility requirements, whether using HTML, PDF, or Flash. Here’s a few links to relevant information:

5:09 AM Permalink
November 11, 2010

Flash Accessibility Talk at MAX 2010

I spoke on Flash accessibility at MAX in Los Angeles, CA at the end of October. The talk, Creating Accessible Flash Content with Flash Professional, is focused for a general audience that is familiar with Flash. I’m providing the slides and a link to the recording of the session here for people who couldn’t attend in person.

Slides: Creating Accessible Flash Content with Flash Professional (MAX 2010)


9:25 PM Permalink
October 15, 2010

Meeting WCAG 2.0 with Flash

Today the W3C published an update to the Techniques for WCAG 2.0 document and the Understanding WCAG 2.0 document. The Techniques document now includes techniques for Flash content and helps define a way for authors to comply with WCAG 2.0.

Like other sufficient techniques, the Flash techniques do not describe the only way to comply with WCAG 2.0 but define a collection of techniques that an author may choose to utilize. The table below provides a listing of the WCAG level A and AA success criteria and the Flash-specific and General techniques that authors can employ to meet the requirements of the success criteria.

As always, please send comments on existing techniques or suggestions for additional ones. This represents the first pass at the techniques for Flash, we’ll be working on adding more in the future.

WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria and Applicable Techniques for Flash
Success Criteria Level Techniques
1.1.1 Non-text Content A
Audio-only and Video-only (Prerecorded) A
1.2.2 Captions (Prerecorded) A
1.2.3 Audio Description or Media Alternative (Prerecorded) A
1.2.4 Captions (Live) AA
1.2.5 Audio Description (Prerecorded) AA
1.3.1 Info and Relationships A
1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence A
1.3.3 Sensory Characteristics A
1.4.1 Use of Color A
1.4.2 Audio Control A
1.4.3 Contrast (Minimum) AA
1.4.4 Resize text AA
1.4.5 Images of text AA
2.1.1 Keyboard A
2.1.2 No Keyboard Trap A
2.2.1 Timing Adjustable A
2.2.2 Pause, Stop, Hide A
2.3.1 Three Flashes or Below Threshold A
2.4.1 Bypass Blocks A
2.4.2 Page Titled A
2.4.3 Focus Order A
2.4.4 Link Purpose (In Context) A
2.4.5 Multiple ways AA
2.4.6 Headings and Labels AA
2.4.7 Focus Visible AA
3.1.1 Language of page A
3.1.2 Language of parts AA
3.2.1 On Focus A
3.2.2 On Input A
3.2.3 Consistent Navigation AA
3.2.4 Consistent Identification AA
3.3.1 Error Identification A
3.3.2 Labels or Instructions A
3.3.3 Error Suggestion AA
3.3.4 Error Prevention (Legal, Financial, Data) AA
4.1.1 Parsing A
  • Not Applicable: Flash is not implemented using markup languages
4.1.2 Name, Role, Value A
2:05 AM Permalink
July 8, 2010

Flash Techniques for WCAG 2.0

Today the W3C posted an updated techniques document for review, including for the first time a collection of techniques for Flash (and Flex) technologies.  The techniques can be viewed at – please take a look and send in comments by August 9 to

I’d also like to acknowledge the hard work of people at The Paciello Group who helped us assemble the techniques.  The techniques come from a wide range of sources and reflect knowledge amassed over several years of working with Flash and Flex, and as such additional credit is due to several others including Jon Avila and others at SSBBart Group, Bob Regan and Matt May at Adobe, Michael Jordan, and others.

Finally, we are also working on a collection of PDF techniques, which we aim to have available in the next round of the techniques document. We look forward to your comments.

8:33 PM Permalink
July 7, 2010

Linux Foundation Delivers New Licensing for IAccessible2

Today the Linux Foundation announced that it was releasing IAccessible2 with new licensing terms.  IA2 is now available with a BSD license.  You can read about this change as well as the additional tools available at  This is an important change as Adobe works to integrate IA2 into a future version of Adobe Acrobat and Reader, as well as the Flash Player and AIR.

4:15 AM Permalink
March 31, 2010

Slides from CSUN 2010 Talks

As promised, we’ve posted the slides from the Adobe talks at CSUN.

Adobe Accessibility Talks at CSUN 2010
Talk Title File types Available
Accessibility Support for Designers in Adobe Creative Suite PDF PPT
Access to PDF: Developments in Support of Assistive Technology with Adobe Acrobat PDF
Accessible eBooks, ePub, DAISY, and Adobe PDF PPTX
Accessible Web Conferencing Update PDF PPTX
Adobe Flex and Adobe AIR for Accessible Rich Internet Applications PDF PPTX
Assistive Technology Access to Adobe Flash and PDF PDF PPT
Understanding the End User Role in PDF Accessibility (with AFB Consulting) PDF PPT
PDF Accessibility – Best Practices for Authoring PDF PPT
Video Accessibility for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Users in Adobe Flash PDF PPTX
10:43 AM Permalink