More Questions than Answers (Rich Internet Application Accessibility)

Ah, the fun part of a research project: when you know just enough to be dangerous…

Trying to figure out the scope for my capstone, I’ve done some reading on WAI-ARIA, which seems to focus on helping making AJAXy-applications accessible via roles and states. However, we really work more with flash and flex at work, and I want to figure out how to push accessibility via those mediums as well. I came across a great resource at niquimerret.com, a girl geek who is passionate about both Flash and Accessibility. Perfect! I read a post she’d made on accessibility “bugs” in flash, and left her a long rambling comment on some of my questions about flash and accessibility. I figured I may as well leave it here as well in the hopes of garnering some additional responses…

One thing I was wondering about, and maybe you can offer some insight: WAI-ARIA mentions using live regions to make AJAX applications accessible. (AJAX live regions allows text to be spoken without giving it focus. This is good in that it means that users can be informed of multiple updates without losing their place within the content.) Is this something that could be coded into the Flash, perhaps at the actionscript level?

My other stumbling point is at which point this would need to be supported… obviously, the flash player would need to understand these roles/states, but is that enough, or would the browser also need to be aware of it? That is.. would flash on FF be “more” accessible than on IE? Or is WAI-ARIA really a browser thing, not a flash thing?

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