Archive for February, 2009

Data Binding and Accessibility

When updating text via data binding in Flex, JAWS (or other screen readers) will not automatically read the change. Imagine a Flex application where every time a visual String was updated, the screen reader read that change. It would be worse than being in a theatre before the curtain rises! However, after data binding has occurred, you can use your screen reader shortcuts to move back and forth through the accessible properties and hear any changes that have been made.

The best way to review what text should be read is to use an accessibility inspector such as Inspect32, or Accessibility Explorer (both available from Microsoft). You can step through the MSAA properties and review the descriptions and names. I find the easiest way to ensure you’re looking at just Flash Player is to use Accessibility Explorer and use the select with mouse tool and click on an instance of Flash Player within a browser.


Accessibility updates in Flex SDK 3.1

If you’re using JAWS, and are experiencing unusual behaviour reading your mx:Text controls, it may be due to an issue in Flex SDK 3.0.0 (or Flex Builder 3.0.0). There were a number of Accessibility updates released in Flex SDK 3.1 (or Flex Builder 3.0.1). Since then Flex 3.2 and Flex Builder 3.0.2 have been released, and official support is offered for those products, try the latest Flex SDK Mileston release available here:

Entering and Exiting Forms mode with JAWS 9

So, this doesn’t seem very obvious. If you want to enter forms mode in JAWS 9, you either need to hit numpad-plus, or for those of you who are numpad-challenged, the other obvious combination is capslock-semicolon.