animation interaction multimedia

flashlight logo
AIM your flash project





















Design Issues

booksAlthough you can do almost anything with Flash, it's important to consider the needs of the end user. Standards have been developed to promote consistency and accessibility in these kinds of projects. Ask yourself:

  • How will visually impaired users access your Flash project?
  • Are adequate instructions provided for new users?


Because Flash is a graphical interface and most of the text can't be read by screen readers, it's important to consider accessibility in the design. Unlike web pages, there is no way to provide alternative text for images and animations. Standard web navigation doesn't apply. Fortunately, JAWS supports Flash Player 7. People using Internet Explorer and Flash Player 8 can make use of the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) standard.

Use the Accessibility Panel to incorporate text equivalents for graphic elements including buttons, navigation, and animated text. Consider using a long description for the entire movie rather than many smaller descriptions.

As you design materials, be certain that you have consider use by those with special needs. Your materials should meet the requirements of Section 508 (WebAIM Section 508 Checklist).

There are two approaches to accessibility. First, you may build accessibility into your Flash project. Second, you may create an alternative version of your project. For example, examine the Flash and Nonflash versions of Sinking City of Venice and Dirty Bomb: Sources of Radiation from PBS NOVA.



eyeGo to Adobe - Accessibility. Also read about Section 508 Compliance.

Skim Adobe - Best Practices for Accessible Flash Design (PDF document) by Bob Regan. This document helps designers and developers understand and implement accessibility best practices in their web applications. It's not necessary to read the entire document, but use it to become aware of the key issues.

eyeRead Closed-Captioned Video in Flash from Layers. The newer versions of Flash make the process of adding closed-captioning information much easier.

Let's explore a few techniques for accessibility. These were suggested by students in the Flash class:

Properties Panel. You can add accessibility information by clicking on the little person icon in the Properties panel. Then type a brief descriptions in the title field. You can also add button titles. - J. Heaphey


Return to Top


reportTesting and Usability

Usability testing helps developers identify how people use their projects and where they may encounter difficulty in use. Careful testing and revision can significantly reduce development, training and support costs. In addition, it can improve the effectiveness, efficiency, and appeal of web-based materials.


eyeExplore the Adobe Testing/Usability Articles.
Create a list of thinks to consider when testing your project with end users.

Return to Top