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Here are a few tips I’ve cobbled together for producing accessible Flash banner adverts. This is very much written from the perspective of an accessibility person as I’m not a Flash developer as such but I hope it gives some pointers as to what to think about when using banner ads. I’ve also included information about testing, compliance with WCAG, navigating Flash using Jaws and WindowEyes and some additional resources.

If you have any top tips to ad I’d love to hear them so leave a comment.

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CAPTCHA’s and accessibility have been hotly debated in newsgroups, the press and blogs. Many people are feeling marginalised by their use and frustrated at not being able to access the online services they want.

Facebook, for example, has made heavy use of CAPTCHA even once you’re logged in (and is rumored to be reinstating it). Google also uses CAPTCHA although they have looked into providing audio alternatives to the visual CAPTCHA (at the time of writing however two people have reported to me that the audio wasn’t working). These are two of the fastest growing Internet companies on the web today who are setting precedents of how web pages are delivered.

As the saying goes here in the UK when you’re queuing to get into a nightclub “If your name’s not down you’re not coming in”. CAPTCHA’s are the online equivalent of the unfriendly bouncer working the doors.

CAPTCHA: If your name’s not down you’re not coming in is published over on the RNIB Web Access Blog, this article looks at the issues around CAPTCHA and accessibility, who it affects and possible solutions.

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Podcasts are getting ever more popular on the web and for good reason. They’re a portable easy way for many of us to keep up with what’s going on whilst on the move as well as a welcome alternative to wasting trees by printing things off to read on the train. Listening to podcasts from South by Southwest 2007 (SXSW), Web Axe and Equal Access to Software and information have provided a welcome distraction for me whilst wedged in between disgruntled commuters on the way home (and also a lot easier than reading a paper).

For many people it’s also their preferred format when sourcing information. When meeting with Hidden Differences last week, an organisation that represents people with cognitive and reading problems, they talked about how when canvassing a large organisation’s employees recently on their preferred format for internal communications around a third opted for audio. Interesting.

However for some of us listening to podcasts it is not an option. If you’re deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind, do not have a soundcard or speakers you’ll be locked out of content if it is only provided in audio format. Not only that so too will search engines. The guidance therefore, according to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, is to provide a transcript of what’s being said.

Getting a good quality text transcript is not always as easy as it seems though. Just published in the Web Access Centre I look at overcoming the challenge of podcast transcription.

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I’ve just published an article in the RNIB Web Access Centre called Beijing 2008 Part1: accessibility. It gives a snapshot overview of where the Beijing 2008 website is currently at in terms of accessibility and suggests steps for improvement.

This is the first or three articles about the current Beijing 2008 site. Next up in the series I’ll be looking at how the site is doing in terms of internationalisation. This final part will focus on mobile access.

All articles I have published elsewhere are listed on the Articles page.

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