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Flash Professional 8 Essential Training with Shane Rebenschied teaches new users how to use the drawing tools, swatches, and color panels in Flash 8. The course walks learners through animation processes, and how to integrate type, graphics, audio, and video. Shane teaches you how to use ActionScript for common projects such as creating slide shows, pop-up menus, and scrolling text. The training ends with instruction on how to publish to the Web or CD-ROM.
[Male Voice:] Over the past few years, Macromedia has been making advances and making Flash content accessible to the disabled. Flash 8 has an Accessibility panel that will allow you to assign titles and descriptions to the various items inside your Flash movie. Those titles and descriptions will then be read by screen readers for visually impaired users. The first part of this, which you saw earlier, is being able to assign a title and description to your entire document. You can do that within your document settings which you can easily open up by pressing Control J, or Command J on Macintosh.
In the Document Properties Dialog box you can specify a title and description which will be read by screen readers. So were I creating, for example, a Website about tea I might put the title as Tea Website, and then the description would be, "a website all about tea". And then those items would be read by the screen reader when the Website was first reached. Then I can also add separate titles and descriptions for each of the elements within my site.
I'm going to unlock the buttons and slides layer in this example, the slideshow that you constructed earlier, and I'm going to select the first slide in the slideshow. Then I'm going to choose Window, Other Panels, Accessibility. Notice how, when I have a Bitmap selected, Flash tells me that the current selection, a bitmap graphic cannot have accessibility applied to it. Flash wants to assign accessibility options to symbols on the Stage.
So, when I'm creating content that is to be made accessible, I want to make sure that the graphics that I import onto my Stage are inside of symbols. So with that graphic on the Stage selected, I'm going to press F8, select a movie clip symbol, enter a name of Tea Graphic 1 and then click OK. Now once that has been made into a symbol, in my Accessibility panel I have quite a few options now. They are by default, Make Object Accessible, as well as make Child Objects Accessible, which means any other symbols inside of this symbol would also be made accessible.
Then, when both those options are check marked, I can also apply a name and a description for this graphic that will be read by the screen reader. So I can give this a name of "A Picture of a Tea Cup". Now when the name that you're assigning to a symbol on the Stage is descriptive enough you don't have to enter in a description as well. You can simply leave the name as it is. I would continue doing this throughout my entire document.
Now text inside of your Flash document, unless you specify otherwise, is also automatically read by a screen reader. Also when you're assigning names and descriptions to items that are clickable for example, my next slide button on the Stage, you should also emphasize that it is clickable in the name or the description. So if I click once on my button on the Stage, I'm going to give it a name of "Right Button" and then in the description I'm going to say "click to view the next image".
So when the viewer comes to this Website, if they have a screen reader, it'll read both the name and the description and then because of the description for that button I stated clicking on it will actually activate something. So the purpose is that I'm trying to make a descriptive comment for the item that I have selected. Now beyond making titles and descriptions for the various content that's on your Stage so that a screen reader can actually read through all that content, you also have to make sure that you have Accessibility turned on for the document as a whole.
To do that simply make sure that you don't have anything selected. And then in the Accessibility panel make sure it's set to be on by defaultand make sure that the check boxes are next to Make Movie Accessible, Make Child Objects Accessible, and Auto label. With those three options on the text in your document will be automatically read by a screen reader and the movie will also be accessible as a whole. If you don't want particular text to be read by a screen reader, you can simply select the text, convert it into a symbol, with plain text selected, as you can see in the accessibility panel, it mentions that there are no accessibility options that I can alter for it.
But if I take my text and insert it into a symbol in this case, I'm just going to call this Slide Text 1 and click OK I could then uncheck Make Object Accessible and, in that text within that symbol, will not be read. Again, when I uncheck or check Make Object Accessible, that's per item. Notice, when I click back on the slide that I added that option to earlier, it still is set to make object accessible. So Flash allows you to easily turn accessibility on for some items and off for others, as well as add names and descriptions that are read by screen readers for visually impaired users.
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