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Web Accessibility Center home page.

  • Web Accessibility Center

Accessible Design with Flash

Macromedia FLASH: Accessible?

Yes, with caveat:

  • User must use Flash Player 6 - (will also make some content created with Flash 4 & 5 more accessible).
  • User must use Windows, IE 5.5+, MSAA (MicroSoft Active Accessibility)
  • User must use screen reader that uses MSAA. Currently, WindowEyes 4.2, Jaws 4.5
  • Author must create media with FlashMX
  • Author must add alternative content and functionality (keyboard access, text alternatives, etc.)
  • Flash must open in separate window (allows user to navigate into and out of the Flash content) (remember to tell user that the content will open in a new window)

-- from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. [Adaptive Technology section: Flash]

Designing Accessible Flash

Accessible Flash Presentation [PPS]: PowerPoint presented by guest speaker, Rick Fellers, during our WAC Workshop on August 18, 2004. Includes links to accessible resources and a guide through the accessible design tutorial from Macromedia.

Accessibility and Macromedia Flash MX 2004 (Macromedia): resources from Macromedia, includes training video and sample sites.

Accessibility and Macromedia Flash Player 7 (Macromedia) : overview of the accessibility features of the latest Flash player. Note: users must be using Flash Player 6 or above to access accessibility features.

Accessible Flash: Parts I and II: online tutorial from Sitepoint, posted May 2, 2003.

Accessible Flash White Paper: created by Bob Regan of Macromedia, this guide reviews the steps to creating accessible Flash documents, including detailed explanations of the application of tab order, child relationships, and captions. For more from Bob Regan, including on-going blog about accessible Flash design, visit Bob's Accessibility web page.

Creating Accessible Flash (WebAIM): detailed guide from

Flash and WCAG 1.0: detailed report walks you through the WCAG guidelines that apply to Flash design. Includes ideas for accessible design that meets the guidelines.

Discussion and Articles:

Making Flash Usable for Users with Disabilities: Jacob Nielsen, Alertbox, October 14 2002.

Flash Access: Unclear on the Concept: Joe Clark, December 2002. A rather scathing review of Macromedia's attempts to make Flash accessible. Includes some useful insight into when, why, and how Flash is not accessible. oe Clark, April 2002. An updated version of his original article, includes a less negative view of Macromedia's recent strides towards accessibility.

Plug-ins and Tools :

Information from product web sites: WAC has not reviewed these products and does not endorse them.

AccRepair for use with Macromedia Flash MX 2004: AccRepair for Flash steps users through several tests that allow them to validate that their Flash presentation is accessible, providing a facility for developers to correct accessibility issues in an interactive manner. The solution provides an interactive interface through which Flash developers can create presentations that will conform to recommended accessibility guidelines. HiSoftware AccRepair® for use with Macromedia Flash MX 2004 will dramatically reduce the time, cost, and complexity associated with building, testing, repairing and deploying accessible flash content.

Hi-Caption SE for Macromedia Flash MX: Hi-Caption SE allows users to interactively quickly create  XML captioning files for use with the the Hi-Caption Flash Extension.

Example Sites:

Zoot Suit Riots from sample site uses accessible Flash design.

Nomensa: a fully accessible Flash game designed by the RNIB Blind Date for the Royal National Institute of the Blind

Books in OSU Libraries (some available online):

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 : hands-on training. Yeung, Rosanna. Indianapolis, IN : Peachpit Press, c2004. Call No. TR897.7.Y48 2004.

Macromedia Flash MX 2004 enhanced ActionScript 2.0 dictionary. Macromedia Inc. with articles by community leaders. Berkeley, Calif. : Macromedia ; London : Pearson Education, 2004. Call No. TR897.7.M3 2004.

Macromedia MX eLearning [electronic resource] : advanced training from the source. Jeffrey Bardzell. Berkeley, Calif. : Macromedia Press, c2003.

Sams teach yourself Macromedia Flash MX in 24 hours [electronic resource]. Phillip Kerman. Indianapolis, IN : Sams, 2002.


OSU Web Accessibility Center (WAC)
1760 Neil Ave 150 Pomerene Hall Columbus, Ohio 43210
Phone: (614) 292-1760 Fax: (614) 292-4190 E-mail:
For questions or problems with this site, including incompatibility with assistive technology, email the WAC Webmaster.



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