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  1. #1
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    Thumbs down Flash Accessibility and Usability issues...

    Whats your biggest gripes with Flash as far as accessibility and usability goes?

    Hoping to compile a list.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard
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    The fact that you need the plugin to view the Flash movie to begin with is my number one gripe!

  3. #3
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Many interactive Flash Animations require mouse interaction and cannot be used effectively via the keyboard.

  4. #4
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Limitations of Flash:
    6. Not possible to open sections in new windows
    i.e. right click - open link in new window
    5. Not possible to resize text
    4. Impossibe to link to individual "pages"
    3. Back button doesn't work
    2. No standard controls - i.e. no standard buttons, textfields or links etc.
    1. Impossible to use for mobile devices, as it's way to CPU intense and lacks players.

    Random things flash "developers" do that annoys me:
    No preloaders
    Opening a new window for the site
    Mystery meat navigation
    Mattias Johansson
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    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    What I hate most is when a designer/developer doesn't place alternate content in between their <object> tags. This is true for not only Flash, but Quicktime, Real media, etc. Throw an image in there at least, otherwise I'm left wondering what the heck is going on when I have Flash turned off. Other than that, I have no major gripes with Flash. I think it's a useful technology, but so many ill-prepared designers overlook the small details needed to make their site usable by those who don't have Flash .

  6. #6
    SitePoint Wizard DougBTX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Johansson
    Random things flash "developers" do that annoys me:
    No preloaders
    You mean flash sites with preloaders annoy you or ones without?

    I like: http://www.joshuadavis.com/

    Later,
    Douglas
    Hello World

  7. #7
    Forensic SEO Consultant Webnauts's Avatar
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    For example Splash screens are definetely not usable!

    Your goal should be deeper consistency among pages, rather than superficial consistency suggested by common splash screens...

    Here are some interesting articles about this topic:

    http://www.apogeehk.com/2013-147.html

    http://wdvl.internet.com/Authoring/Design/Usability/use1_5.html

  8. #8
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    Thanks for your comments all, going to research some solutions to these and hopefully get some published on SP.

    If you've got any other's keep em coming

  9. #9
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    • Slow.
    • Non-intuitive / Non-standard interface and navigation.
    • Eye candy over content
    http://www.statgfx.com

  10. #10
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougBTX
    You mean flash sites with preloaders annoy you or ones without?

    I like: http://www.joshuadavis.com/

    Later,
    Douglas
    No, preloaders are very good. It's hate sites that go just "loading" ... "loading" ... "loading" without giving me any clue whatsover of how much is loaded. If it's a site I just got to, I almost always close it.
    Mattias Johansson
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Johansson
    No, preloaders are very good. It's hate sites that go just "loading" ... "loading" ... "loading" without giving me any clue whatsover of how much is loaded. If it's a site I just got to, I almost always close it.
    Yeah, that's as bad as (well worse than) sites (without flash) that use one big image as a splash page with no true indication of what's behind the splash page.

    I also tend to close the window. You need to give me a reason to wait, or you need to give me a reason to click and wait for yet another page to load before finding out what the true nature of the site is.
    http://www.statgfx.com

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by M. Johansson
    Limitations of Flash:
    6. Not possible to open sections in new windows
    i.e. right click - open link in new window
    5. Not possible to resize text
    4. Impossibe to link to individual "pages"
    3. Back button doesn't work
    2. No standard controls - i.e. no standard buttons, textfields or links etc.
    1. Impossible to use for mobile devices, as it's way to CPU intense and lacks players.

    Random things flash "developers" do that annoys me:
    No preloaders
    Opening a new window for the site
    Mystery meat navigation
    um, many of your gripes have been addressed in recent versions of flash
    6. fixable in as, but I've never had anyone ask for this before
    5. very possible actually, more possible than text set in pixels for an IE user
    4. easily done since flash 4
    3. as for above
    2. totally possible, and components available since mx have made standard controls easily available
    1.my company routinely delivers flash content for pocketpc and palm

    onwards... your later issues deal with poor developers not tools, I've seen them all as frequently in html/dhtml sites

    The fact that you need the plugin to view the Flash movie to begin with is my number one gripe!
    yet you have no problem using a web browser, which is little more than a plugin to view html...
    how about a web browser built with flash?


    It seems to me that at least half the time people don't like flash is that they just don't like flash.
    flash is just another technology, how it was used from '99-2001 made a lot of people wary of it, but that doesn't make it bad.
    There are many accessibility issues with many flash sites, but no more than the percentage of html based sites with no accessibility or usability consideration.

  13. #13
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    Wow.

    Like pissant, it seems to me that a lot of the gripes here aren't about Flash the technology, and the ways it impacts on usability and accessibility. Many people seem to be commenting on Flash developers and their skill (or lack thereof). There are stacks of non-flash sites out there that are slow, have shonky navigation and aren't designed with the end-user in mind, etc.

    [img]images/smilies/smile.gif[/img] just my 2 cents. I'm no designer and have no real problem with Flash -- it just surprises me how objectivity sort of seems to go out the window when Flash is mentioned. People have no hesitation in condemning the technology itself and the designers who (mis)use it in the same breath. Seems to be a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater...
    g

  14. #14
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    pissant: maybe some advanced coders may use those techniques, but that's about it, I never see them working on any flash site I can recall.

    my gripes:

    No mouse scroll wheel
    Can't copy-paste text
    can't open urls in new window (or use "special" features such as save as without saving the whole flash movie).
    No way to directly link to pages
    crappy navigation methods
    Needs a plugin (smaller gripe then the rest, however i still come accross the odd browser where flash isn't installed).
    Doesn't support usablity options, such as remembering autocomplete or being able to press enter to submit a form (unless specifically coded in, and it's 99% of the time not).
    No way to browse on any other device apart from a "popular browser".
    Can't use inbuilt scrolling or navigation techniques as teh movie is always stuck in a window.
    Not compatable with screen readers, can't adjust font size unless specifically coded in.
    No way to print properly (ie a page of text)
    no way to bookmark properly (bookmarks the whole movie)
    no way to turn off animations/sound/directly link to single objects (ie a single image) unless the developer adds that functionality into the movie.
    no standardised "guidelines" (w3c, etc)
    can't save the page for offline viewing easily

    I might think of more later, but there are tons of small things that annoy me, and I don't mind a well designed flash application which is designed to actually do something and not just because the creator wanted to have some bloated animation for the sake of having one.

  15. #15
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pissant
    um, many of your gripes have been addressed in recent versions of flash
    6. fixable in as, but I've never had anyone ask for this before
    5. very possible actually, more possible than text set in pixels for an IE user
    4. easily done since flash 4
    3. as for above
    2. totally possible, and components available since mx have made standard controls easily available
    1.my company routinely delivers flash content for pocketpc and palm.
    6. Surfers want it, I assure you. How can this be done? Not in a standardized way, to my knowledge. I use my third mouse button to open links in a new window, for instance. Other users right-click and click "open in new window". This is incredibly cumbersome to implement in flash, if at all possible.

    5. I was referring to using the size the OS uses. Is that possible?

    4. How? Also, is it possible for the user to cut-n-paste the url in the url field of said?

    3. I know this has been fixed somehow in later flash versions (which are not in wide use yet, but that's a another matter), but I don't know how it's implemented. Is it an event you catch within flash?

    2. Really? Cool. Could you please show me to some examples of this?

    1. Pocket PC has had the possobility for a while, I know. Palm is new for me - that's cool. I don't see how Flash could do well on that tiny processor, though. However, it still lacks support for Symbian-based devices and new cell phones with WAP 2.0 (XHTML) browsers. Flash has much to do before it reaches the same capabilities as XHTML in this area.
    Mattias Johansson
    Short, Swedish, Web Developer

    Buttons and Dog Tags with your custom design:
    FatStatement.com

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by platinum
    pissant: maybe some advanced coders may use those techniques, but that's about it, I never see them working on any flash site I can recall.

    my gripes:

    No mouse scroll wheel
    Can't copy-paste text
    can't open urls in new window (or use "special" features such as save as without saving the whole flash movie).
    No way to directly link to pages
    crappy navigation methods
    Needs a plugin (smaller gripe then the rest, however i still come accross the odd browser where flash isn't installed).
    Doesn't support usablity options, such as remembering autocomplete or being able to press enter to submit a form (unless specifically coded in, and it's 99% of the time not).
    No way to browse on any other device apart from a "popular browser".
    Can't use inbuilt scrolling or navigation techniques as teh movie is always stuck in a window.
    Not compatable with screen readers, can't adjust font size unless specifically coded in.
    No way to print properly (ie a page of text)
    no way to bookmark properly (bookmarks the whole movie)
    no way to turn off animations/sound/directly link to single objects (ie a single image) unless the developer adds that functionality into the movie.
    no standardised "guidelines" (w3c, etc)
    can't save the page for offline viewing easily

    I might think of more later, but there are tons of small things that annoy me, and I don't mind a well designed flash application which is designed to actually do something and not just because the creator wanted to have some bloated animation for the sake of having one.
    oy! so many questions to answer...
    but let me start with this... remember the state of the web through the mid to late nineties? Chaotic would be a generous description, yet after a number of years things settled down and now many developers are making html pages more responsibly. Well flash is at least a couple of years younger than html (and in my opinion only really became a usable tool with flash 4, and more fully with 5), and as such it is perhaps still maturing. Which means maybe we shouldn't just dismiss it wholly.

    Now most of the things platinum mentions above are now doable to some degree in flash from trivial things like bookmarking, linking and printing which is as easily done as clicking a few boxes when you setup the movie.
    Others are a little more complicated like the autocomplete forms, or capturing the right/middle click to open in another window. To do those to I can only think of pretty complicated ways, and that isn't to helpful.
    Other things are being addressed, like screenreader compatability, well partial support is there, but there is still a gap in the middle where both macromedia AND the actual screenreaders have yet to meet their own agreed specs

    Now, will someone please explain to me the gripe people have about the plugin? I don't understand it at all, people have to use a program to view html, what is wrong with using a program to view flash?

    as for M...
    well, numbers again
    6. This could be difficult to implement in flash, particularly because while you may use your middle button to open a new window someone else may use it for opening a tab, and another person for turning on their personalised style sheets, so hmmm...
    5. well since diff browsers use diff methods this could be a pain, I think (but I'm not sure would have to test) that I could do it with gecko browsers, but a text sizing widget in the movie would be a deal easier... although the new flash 7's support of css may make this easier, and you could use a standard js styleswitcher...
    4. & 3. There were ways to do bookmarks and back button stuff all the way back to flash 4, but then it was a complicated coqtail of flash, as and js... now you just select the little 'named anchor' checkbox for each 'page' and voila bookmarkable, and backable
    2.ah geez examples? it is 2am in the morning!?!? can I just send you to the MM site with instructions to look at some of the RIAs? If this thread continues I'll have a gander tomorrow from work
    1.pocket pc is great, although there are restrictions. Only the latest palms and sony's have flash, and yes you do have to be careful what you do on them... but we have made a couple of wee games and a news app which actually tied into a news data feed through the wireless connection

    One of the best uses for flash though in my opinion though is for RPCs, so that you can query the server without having to constantly reload a whole html page...
    anywho, g'night


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