Archive for August, 2005

Flash, web standards, accessibility

Bob Regan and Andrew Kirkpatrick of Macromedia look at the main methods of putting Flash movies on your page.

They conclude

  • Using the default “embed” method is cross-browser and accessible, but breaks validation as the nutters in the W3C never added embed to any of the specs
  • Using the Flash Satay method renders the Flash movie inaccessible to Jaws, which is The World’s Most Popular Screenreader (in exactly the same way that IE is the “World’s most popular browser”). Whether or not this is a failure of Jaws to obey standards or a failure of the Flash Satay method itself is a moot point; it doesn’t work
  • The UFO method works, by “injecting” invalid code into the DOM using JavaScript, and thus is just a method to fool the validator, and which fails if there’s no JavaScript support

I’ve never worked with Flash, so never have to make the choice. But I prefer invalidity to inaccessibility – and if I’m going to have invalid code, I’ll do it using the non-spec <embed> tag rather than sneak it in using a behavioural language to sneak it into my markup.

Who knows – they might even add <embed> to xhtml 3!

Bruce’s Top Tips #1: family days out

three large African wild dogs next to a sign forbidding opening of windowsIf you are planning an hour-long drive to a Safari park, then a two-hour drive through areas full of free-range wolves, lions, tigers or wild dogs, where you cannot stop or even open your windows, and you are planning to take your friend’s ADHD-affected 7 year old, ask his mother first whether he suffers from car sickness.

If he does, further enquire whether that manifests itself as mere queasiness, or repeated in-car projectile vomiting. Should she indicate that the latter is the case, rescind your invitation or rethink the venue of the day out.

Trust me on this.

WordPress accessibility hacks

I really love WordPress (apart from a few minor niggles). It maintains all my links, archives, it’s customisable – it’s a splendid piece of software, and the fact it’s free is fantastic. WordPress conforms to the basic level of accessibility, but most WordPress blogs don’t pass all the WAI/ WCAG Accessibility guidelines, so I decided to hack around with the code to make it more accessible.
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review: “DHTML Utopia” – Stuart Langridge

Don’t be put off by the title: the DHTML here bears no resemblance to the stupid web tricks of the late 90s that allowed animated unicorns to follow your mouse pointer, or silly Powerpoint-like transitions between web pages.

This book is the opening salvo in the latest battle in the Web Standards war – the battle for unobtrusive JavaScripting, or Unobtrusive DOMscripting as many call it, in order to rid it of all the negative connotations that “DHTML” and “JavaScript” bring. Combined with the non-standard XMLHttpRequest object, it’s sometimes referred to as “Ajax”.

Continue reading review: “DHTML Utopia” – Stuart Langridge