Accessibility Evaluation for Multimedia Content

Practices supporting Web accessibility are spread out all over the world. However, the accessibility of multimedia content and rich Internet applications has been little discussed. These types of content are using a lot of visual cues and developing new techniques to make their visual interfaces richer. Therefore, it is generally believed that they are not accessible for people with visually disabilities. However, since there is neither objective data nor tools to measure the accessibility of such content, as a first step to tackle these new accessibility issues we focused on the Flash content. A survey was conducted using five metrics based on the problems faced by screen reader users. We developed a survey tool to assess their severity. Our results showed a complete lack of alternative texts from the developers in the sampled pages. Also, more than half of tested pages were hidden to screen reader users. We conclude that most of existing Flash content is not accessible and there is an emerging need to encourage the use of practices that make Flash content accessible.

By: Chieko Asakawa, Takashi Itoh, Hironobu Takagi, and Hisashi Miyashita

Published in: RT0720 in 2007

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